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Text and Academic Authors Association
The award is named after TAA Founder Mike Keedy.
Text and Academic Author Association
ADVISER: Mike Keedy (math), Purdue University (TAA founder and president 1985-1991)
Text and Academic Authors Association
Mike Keedy 1987-1992
Mike Keedy 1987-1990 Mike Keedy Mike Keedy, Past President Council Members: Karen Arms, Mike Keedy, Roberta Null, Daniel Boone, Bill Masterton and Richard Spangler Advisors: Mike Keedy, Bill Masterton , Michael Sullivan Advisors: Mike Keedy, Bill Masterton Advisors: Mike Keedy, John Vivian Advisors: L. Kathy Heilenman, Mike Keedy, Bill Masterton , Ronald Pynn, Gerald Stone , John Vivian Mike Keedy, Executive Director
Text and Academic Authors Association
Originally established as the Textbook Authors Association, TAA was formed in the spring of 1987 by then Purdue University Professor of Mathematics Mike Keedy.
Keedy served as the organization's Executive Director and President and operated the organization from his home in Orange Springs, Florida. In late 1987, TAA headquarters staff consisted of Mike Keedy as Executive Director; Norma Hood and Karen Strauss as Keedy's assistants; and computer operator Bill Allen. TAA's primary communication vehicle was The TAA Report, a quarterly print newsletter edited by Mike Keedy. TAA was governed by three Senior Members, founding partners who shaped the direction of TAA while the organization got on its feet and established its goals. These senior members delegated authority to a TAA Council elected by the membership, although the senior members retained final responsibility for all actions governing TAA. In these early years, membership growth was a primary focus of the organization, as stated by then Executive Director Mike Keedy, in his conference keynote speech at the 1988 TAA Convention at the Clarion Hotel in St. Louis, May 27-29: "Having a large number of members gives us clout and of course helps us provide necessary operating revenue. Membership would continue to be a major concern of the association's leadership in the coming years. In his 1988 Convention keynote, Keedy also encouraged text authors to think of themselves as professionals. Council members included Paul A. Anderson, Howard Anton, Phil Cheifetz, Patrick Cihon, Mike Keedy, Bill Masterton, Gene Nichols and Richard Ziegler. In 1991, when Mike Keedy decided to sell his horse farm in Orange Springs, Florida where TAA was headquartered, TAA purchased a mobile home on Norma Hood's property with Keedy's help. In 1992, Mike Keedy stepped down as Executive Director, having met his goal of establishing the organization and seeing it grow and mature. The TAA Council convinced him to remain as a consultant. Norma Hood, who had managed the TAA office, was appointed acting Executive Director, but for financial reasons, a search for an Executive Director to replace Keedy was never launched. Later in 1992, Mike Keedy announced his retirement as a consultant to TAA, and the TAA Council asked Norma Hood to stay on as acting Executive Director and to refer issues that formerly went to Mike Keedy to the association's officers and Council members. Later in 1992, Mike Keedy announced his retirement as a consultant to TAA, and the TAA Council asked Norma Hood to stay on as acting Executive Director and to refer issues that formerly went to Mike Keedy to the association's officers and Council members. In June 1993, TAA created, in recognition of Mike Keedy's contributions to TAA, the M.L. (Mike) Keedy Award, awarded to a TAA member each year at the TAA Convention who has made the most significant contribution in the past year on behalf of authors. The first was awarded to Mike Keedy. That same year, the TAA Council presented Keedy with a lifetime honorary membership in TAA. TAA membership swelled in April 2002 to more than 1,000 thanks in large part to Tara Gray's workshops, the first time membership has gone past 1,000 since the 1980s when TAA's membership, under the direction of founder Mike Keedy, pushed past 1,100.
TAA * Text and Academic Authors Association
Equating textbook writing to piloting Mike Keedy: Stopped counting after 50 titles Math author Mike Keedy, who loves flying his own plane, says that the way his remedial math textbooks approach the teaching of math is similar to the way he used to teach people to fly. "If I am teaching you to fly, I will break down the art into fundamentals. For example, early in the game I will teach you to make a turn," said Keedy. "This editor had it in mind that he wanted to use something in the margins," Keedy said. "They had just published a calculus book having a rule down the page creating an outer margin in which there were graphs and an occasional comment or illustration, plus a lot of blank space. He wanted us to use that format." One day in Boston, at lunch with this particular editor, Keedy was arguing against using the margins, saying that there was a lot of wasted space. He said to the editor, "If you insist on using margins like that let's at least make it count for something, perhaps something pedagogical. Before lunch was over, he said, they had a format. "That was surely creativity at my most rapid pace," he said. "This was a very successful way of going about things," Keedy said. "It took laziness or stupidity not to succeed because the student's hand was guided all the way. Things weren't confused by extraneous material. The development focused on one skill at a time, a skill that when mastered, would lead to the next skill, and so on until they could all be put together at the end. Very much like teaching someone to fly." Keedy went on to write or co-author some 50 titles, many of which have been recognized as innovative if not ground-breaking. The series was "smashingly successful", said Keedy, with the seventh and eighth grade books each selling more than a million copies, not counting sales in California, where the state printed its own books under license from the publisher. "Back in 1964, when the books were adopted in Florida, all seventh and eighth grade students in the state used the books," Keedy said. An elementary school series, Exploring Elementary Mathematics, written along the same lines as the junior high series, "explained things," said Keedy: "Students were given answers to why things were as they were and were encouraged to explore and discover things on their own. This approach was different from the traditional method -- which, unfortunately is close to the method being used today -- in which students learn a bunch of rules and try to follow them, said Keedy, but don't know why it all works. This was the first book to do that, said Keedy, and now they all do. Keedy and Bittinger met in the 1960s while Keedy was teaching at Purdue University and Bittinger was a student working on his doctorate. Keedy and Bittinger met in the 1960s while Keedy was teaching at Purdue University and Bittinger was a student working on his doctorate. One day Bittinger came to Keedy's office and asked him how to get started on a writing career in math textbooks. Keedy offered some advice, then suggested that Bittinger try to make something out of a manuscript that had been worked on by some former students. "I would not be at the point where I am now without Mike Keedy," Bittinger said. Keedy said he has always enjoyed writing. He self-published his first book, which was a laboratory manual, while teaching physics at North Dakota State University. He calls writing his doctoral thesis, which was on relation algebra, "creative fun." He got started writing textbooks soon after teaching a summer course at a New York State University in 1957. One of his students there went on to become an editor for Henry Holt Co., and coaxed Keedy to help write a high school book on algebra and trigonometry. He did, and that became his first math text: Contemporary Algebra and Trigonometry, published in 1961. A good textbook, said Keedy, should be readable, have accurate and well-organized subject matter, have sensible pedagogical features and be attractive. Being attractive doesn't mean that a book must have color, he said, many older black-and-white books were very attractive and effective. Authors, he said, should keep their writing simple. Keedy said authors should see the job of writing a text as an engineering project: "The product is supposed to take the learner from a certain state of knowledge and skill to a higher state of knowledge and skill. The biggest thrill as a writer, says Keedy, is to see what you've been working on so long finally between covers: "To actually see it exist -- that's the big moment. Keedy will tell you, sadly, that he made the weather forecast for that final flight and was one of the last persons to see Exupery alive. Finding meteorology interesting, Keedy decided, after the war to try industrial meteorology. Toward that end, he earned a bachelor's degree in meteorology from the University of Chicago. To complete his dream of a degree in industrial engineering, he also attended the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago a year later. "Before too long, the idea of being a meteorologist began to lose its appeal," Keedy said. "I didn't relish the idea of working nights and weekends off and on all my life. I remembered how I enjoyed my teaching in the service and decided to make teaching my career." Keedy taught high school math and science in Mountain Home, Idaho, from 1947 to 1949. It was there, near Mountain Home Air Force Base, that Keedy, who had always loved airplanes, finally learned to fly. Keedy went back to Nebraska, his home state, where he earned his master's degree at the University of Nebraska in 1950. He decided that it was time to move up to college teaching, but soon realized that to teach at the college level, one needed a doctorate. He earned his Ph.D. in mathematics and physics from the University of Nebraska in 1957. After teaching at Nebraska State Teachers College, North Dakota State University, the University of Nebraska and the University of Maryland, he joined the math department at Purdue University in 1961. It was while he was at Purdue that Keedy wrote most of his textbooks. All of the royalties earned from sales of his texts sold at that institution were donated to the university to endow scholarships. Asked about his early life, Keedy said that as a child of 4, growing up on a Nebraska farm, he thought when that he would grow up to be a farmer like his dad. But then at about age 10 he found that farming held little charm. About that time he elected to become a sailor. "I believe it was a cowboy a year or so earlier," Keedy wrote in an autobiographical essay in November 1979. After years of considering and toying with careers in engineering, meteorology, physics and math, Keedy said he finally knew what he wanted to do when he grew up: Be a mathematician and teach math. Keedy retired from Purdue University in 1987. That year he donated money to help establish a special math computer laboratory for graduate students at Purdue, now called the Keedy Lab. The laboratory and the scholarships that he has endowed, said Keedy, are the two things he is most proud of: "They give me a small piece of immortality. I think most people would like to have a chunk of that. He is also proud of the title of professor emeritus Of mathematics that Purdue bestowed upon him. Throughout his teaching career, Keedy had delved into his other love: flying. He owned several airplanes. One of them was a Piper Comanche 400, a fast airplane with a long range. He used it to travel to author conferences, conventions and for recreation. He also bought an antique biplane and then another to be restored. Since the restoration was done in Florida, he decided to spend one semester of each year there. He did that for five years before retiring to Orange Springs, Florida, where he bought a horse farm, built an airstrip and hangar and developed a live-in aviation community. That done, he was restless, and began to think about starting an organization for textbook authors. There was no such organization in existence in 1987, said Keedy, and there were a number of authors who realized that they were "individuals swimming alone. Keedy was elected President and also served as executive director. He flew his plane around the country to recruit members. At one time, he had the membership approachin