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Professor Janet Barnett earns national teaching award

Release Date: August 17, 2016

Cora Zaletel

Executive Director, External Affairs

Colorado State University-Pueblo


Press Release

PUEBLO - Colorado State University-Pueblo Mathematics Professor Janet Heine Barnett has been selected to receive the 2017 Deborah and Franklin Tepper Haimo Award for Distinguished College or University Teaching of Mathematics by the Mathematical Association of America (MAA).

Established in 1991 by the MAA, the Haimo Award annually honors up to three U.S. college level mathematics teachers who have been widely recognized as extraordinarily successful and whose teaching effectiveness has been shown to have had influence beyond their own institution. The largest professional society that focuses on mathematics accessible to undergraduate students, the MAA provides support for learning in the mathematical sciences by encouraging effective curriculum, teaching, and assessment at all levels.

The Haimo Award will be presented to Barnett at the Joint Mathematics Meetings Prize Session in Atlanta on January 5, 2017. In addition to receiving $1000 and a certificate of recognition, Barnett receives an invitation to deliver a presentation at the 2017 Joint Mathematics Meetings in Atlanta. She also will be honored at the MAA President's Reception in Atlanta.

Barnett credited her student and colleague nominators for her award.

"It was their words that caught the attention of the selection committee and made this possible. The list of prior winners makes this very clear " these are people that generate real excitement about mathematics in and out of their classrooms. It's thrilling to know that others think my name belongs on that list."

One of Barnett's nominators, Mathematics Professor Dr. Frank Zizza, said, "During her 26 years as a mathematics professor, Janet has earned a reputation as being very challenging and demanding, yet students routinely fill her classes and give her very strong evaluations. They praise her approachability and helpfulness, saying that she is kind and generous as she works to help the students through the difficult material of her courses."

A native of Pueblo, Barnett joined the mathematics faculty at CSU-Pueblo in 1990. Her scholarly work focuses on the history of mathematics, which she integrates into her teaching through the use of innovative curricular materials based on original source writings by important mathematicians. Her contributions to this field are now having an impact at both the national and international levels, and she is one of its recognized world leaders. A founding member of the seven-university collaboration Transforming Instruction in Undergraduate Mathematics via Primary Historical Sources(TRIUMPHS), Barnett will further develop this teaching approach, training faculty from around the country in its use and studying its effectiveness for student learning over the next five years with significant funding from the National Science Foundation.

Throughout her tenure at CSU-Pueblo, Barnett also has sought to improve the quality of mathematics education in the Pueblo region by recruiting, training, and mentoring K-12 teachers of mathematics. She currently leads the CSU-Pueblo Noyce Scholars Program, a multi-year $1.25 million grant from the National Science Foundation which is providing significant scholarships and academic programs for qualified individuals to earn a teaching credential and commit to teaching in high-need K-12 school districts. As part of its Summer Internship Program for prospective teachers, the Noyce Scholars program also offers a free, two-week Summer Math Academy for students in Pueblo County who will be entering grades 7"10.

Barnett said she is motivated by her students' successes to continually try new things in the classroom, to critically reflect on how well they worked, and to put her ideas in front of others to test their soundness.

"Listening to students' thinking is (at least) as important as telling them what I think. One of the most fascinating parts of teaching for me is the challenge of trying to figure out how others are thinking about mathematics, then finding ways to guide, extend, or re-channel that thinking," she said. "When I'm able to find the right combination of teaching strategies to create a learning environment that motivates students to persist, it's gratifying to see them succeed in making sense of mathematics as a result of their own effort and hard work. Good teachers model what it looks like to learn for their students."

Barnett's teaching efforts have been recognized previously with the Burton W. Jones Award for Distinguished College or University Teaching of Mathematics from the Rocky Mountain Section of the Mathematical Association of America in 2015, the CSU-Pueblo Outstanding Faculty Award in the College of Science and Mathematics in 2002 and 2010, the University-wide Faculty Excellence Award in Teaching at CSU-Pueblo in 2006 and again in 2013. She also received the University-wide Faculty Excellence Award for Scholarship at CSU-Pueblo in 2016.

Barnett earned a bachelor's degree at Colorado State University Fort Collins in 1981 followed by two years as a Peace Corps volunteer, during which she taught mathematics in the Central African Republic. She then completed her doctoral degree at the University of Colorado Boulder before joining the CSU-Pueblo faculty in 1990.

Colorado State University - Pueblo is a regional, comprehensive university emphasizing professional, career-oriented, and applied programs. Displaying excellence in teaching, celebrating diversity, and engaging in service and outreach, CSU-Pueblo is distinguished by access, opportunity, and the overall quality of services provided to its students.

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