The Michigan Section of the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) has awarded its 2006 Distinguished Service Award posthumously to Dr. Janet Andersen of the Hope College faculty, who died of injuries sustained in an automobile accident on Thursday, Nov. 24.
The award was presented on Friday, May 5, during a banquet held at Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park in conjunction with the section's annual meeting, which took place at Calvin College on Friday-Saturday, May 5-6. Her husband Jim Andersen and father-in-law Marvin Andersen received the award on her behalf.
Andersen was actively involved in the MAA, and at the time of her death was chair of the program committee for the meeting at which her award was presented. She was also serving on the association's Committee on the Undergraduate Program in Mathematics, Coordinating Council on Education, and Committee on Short Courses, and was the Michigan Section's four-year college vice chair. For many years she had also been involved with Project NExT, the association's professional development program for young mathematics faculty. Her service to the association had also included serving on and chairing the Committee on the Teaching of Undergraduate Mathematics, serving on a subcommittee on assessment guidelines and organizing a professional enhancement workshop.
In addition, the MAA was the publisher of her most recent textbook "Understanding Our Quantitative World" (2004), which she co-authored with Todd Swanson of the Hope faculty.
Andersen, who was 47, had taught mathematics at Hope since 1991. She joined the faculty as an assistant professor, and was promoted to associate professor in 1997 and to full professor at the beginning of the 2005-06 school year. She was co-director and then director of general education from 1997 to 2000, was coordinator of GEMS (General Education Mathematics and Science courses) from 1998 to 2002, and chaired the department of mathematics from 2000 to 2004. She had also served on several campus boards and committees.
Since 2002 she had been director of the Pew Midstates Science and Mathematics Consortium. The consortium consists of 11 liberal arts colleges, including Hope, and two research universities, and seeks to promote effective collaboration among faculty at the member institutions; to improve undergraduate science and mathematics education; and to assist with the research efforts of the faculty at the undergraduate colleges and of the undergraduate students at all of the member institutions. Her professional activity had also included making numerous presentations at professional conferences.
She was the co-author of two other textbooks in addition to "Understanding Our Quantitative World": "Precalculus: A Study of Functions and Their Applications" (2000) and "Projects for Precalculus" (1997). She had worked with Hope colleagues to develop courses including "Mathematics in Public Discourse" and a sophomore-level mathematical biology course. Her work was supported by grants from the National Science Foundation, and she had regularly involved Hope students in her research.
In 2004, she received a Hope College Provost's Award for Excellence in Teaching. Her work "Projects for Precalculus" was an award winner in the MAA's "Innovative Programs Using Technology" competition in 1997 and was featured in the book "Exemplary Programs in Introductory College Mathematics."
Andersen completed her bachelor's degree at LeTourneau College in Longview, Texas, in 1979, and completed her Master of Science and doctorate at the University of Minnesota in 1988 and 1991 respectively. Prior to pursuing her graduate studies, she had been a high school mathematics teacher in Hallsville, Texas.