Mathematics Professor Emerita Receives Profession's Top Distinguished Service Award
Joan Leitzel, professor emerita, mathematics, received the 2014 Dr. Yueh-Gin Gung and Dr. Charles Y. Hu Award for Distinguished Service to Mathematics at the annual joint meeting of the American Mathematical Society (AMS) and the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) in Baltimore, Maryland, on January 16.
Leitzel was cited for “her far-sighted work of creating programs to decrease the need for remediation in colleges and for her leadership on the national level.” The Gung and Hu Award for Distinguished Service to Mathematics is the premier award for service given by the MAA.
Leitzel has served in many top leadership positions at Ohio State and around the country—as senior vice chancellor for academic affairs and provost at the University of Nebraska Lincoln—and president of the University of New Hampshire. She was tapped to lead the restructuring of the arts and sciences at Ohio State from 2008–09.
Leitzel chaired the Mathematical Sciences Education Board of the National Research Council and is past-chair of the Conference Board on the Mathematical Sciences with the Ohio Department of Education to design and launch their statewide Mathematics Initiative. She currently continues to be a member of the Ohio Mathematics and Science Coalition; chairs the Ohio Board of Regents’ Mathematics Steering Committee and the national advisory board for Nebraska Math. She is a member of the national advisory board for the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities’ Mathematics Teacher Education Partnership.
“Dr. Gung and Dr. Hu recognized that mathematics is the ‘most vital field of study’ in the age we are living in. I surely agree and have always been grateful that I chose mathematics,” Leitzel said. “Our field is filled with exceptionally talented, deeply committed individuals, and I have had the great privilege of working alongside many of them.
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“I now realize that although we may have accomplished some notable things in the ‘service’ area earlier in my career, today’s problems are no easier and no less important than the ones we worked on then. So I am grateful for the range of new efforts now underway within the MAA and across the fields of mathematics and mathematics education, and I am excited to continue to be part of several of these.“