One additional pressure of particular relevance to the mathematical sciences is the movement toward more multidisciplinarity in research, as emerging fields require mathematics and statistics expertise in order to move forward. At one extreme, this could lead to situations in which more mathematical scientists are members of the departments in which their work is applied, so that mathematics or statistics departments lose critical mass. If the mathematical sciences were to become dispersed in this way, the coherence and unity of the field would be threatened. Forging links to other departments will help in advancing this process. Such links would include cross-listing of courses, collaboration with other departments in planning courses, and having cross-disciplinary postdoctoral students and courtesy appointments. Creating appropriate methods to evaluate those engaged in interdisciplinary research is overdue.
The multitude of existing configurations of mathematical sciences departments at academic institutions often reflect the particular history at each institution rather than what is optimal. In view of the changing academic environment there is an opportunity to reconsider such arrangements and departmental divisions, in order to enhance the cohesiveness of the mathematical sciences and enable intradisciplinary and cross-disciplinary research and educational collaborations.
Recommendation 6-1: Academic departments in mathematics and statistics should begin the process of rethinking and adapting their programs to keep pace with the evolving academic environment, and be sure they have a seat at the table as online content and other innovations in the delivery of mathematical science coursework are created. The professional societies have important roles to play in mobilizing the community in these matters, through mechanisms such as opinion articles, online discussion groups, policy monitoring, and conferences.