Caren Diefenderfer Memoriam (3/31/2017)

Hollins Mourns Diefenderfer      Obituary

Caren Diefenderfer was on the faculty at Hollins University for over 30 years.

From Len Vacher:  Caren was one of NNN’s first members, actively participating in the Moose Mountain retreat (June 2004) where the NNN was formed as a membership organization (see Madison and Steen 2008, Numeracy 1(1): article 2).  

Later, she became the third president of the board of directors (2011-2013).  As president of the board, she wrote a Numeracy editorial (Diefenderfer 2012, Numeracy 5(1): article 1), with the only-by-Caren type of title: “The Joy of Quantitative Reasoning.”  Here is what she said in the abstract:

 One of the advantages of focusing on quantitative reasoning is that it spans a wide variety of topics. As incoming president of the National Numeracy Network, I would like to take the opportunity of this editorial to tell my story of intellectual reward from finding common purpose in quantitative reasoning with colleagues from disciplines outside of mathematics. The story starts with an NSF-funded faculty development project (DUE-9952807) to further a QR across-the-curriculum program and the finding from that program that merging authentic context with mathematics brings interaction and collaboration. That joy in learning from and working with colleagues in other disciplines has now expanded to seeking authentic context for all of my mathematics courses and being open to new ways of thinking. (   

Caren was extraordinarily active in and appreciated by the MAA.  She was presented a Haimo Award for Distinguished College or University Teaching of Mathematics by the MAA at its annual meeting this past January 5 [2017].   See p. 13-15 of for information about that, including the citation, biographical note, and response.   Complete citation.


Caren (left) at the 2012 NNN conference at Lehman College


Numeracy-Related Bibliography (Partial):

2014: Past and Future of Quantitative Literacy.  Panelist with Rick Gilman, Dorothy Wallace, Bernie Madison and David Burns.  On the Tenth Anniversary of the Founding of the SIGMAA-QL.

2012: The Music and Mathematics of Change Ringing. 

2012: The Joy of Quantitative Reasoning.   Editorial.   Numeracy Volume 5, Issue 1.

2011:  Caren Diefenderfer elected President (#3) of the National Numeracy Network.

2011: What is Quantitative Literacy?  Video.  Part of the Carnegie Quantway Networked Improvement Community™ and Statway Networked Improvement Community™ Summer Institute
July 25-28, 2011

2011: Using and Revising AACUs Quantitative Literacy VALUE Rubric with Bernie Madison (Abstract).  NNN 2011 Summit at Appalachian State College.

2011: Quantitative Reasoning in the Contemporary World, 3: Assessing Student Learning by Stuart Boersma, Caren Diefenderfer, Shannon Dingman, and Bernard Madison.  Numeracy Volume 4, Issue 2.

2010: Case Studies for Quantitative Reasoning (2nd ed.) by Madison, Boersma, Diefenderfer and Dingman.  Pearson Publishing.

2010: Generating Institutional Buy in (Slides). Project Kalidiscope.

20XX: NSF DUE-0715039: Teaching Quantitative Reasoning with the News  by Boersma, Diefenderfer, Dingman, and Madison.

2006:The quantitative reasoning program at Hollins University.  By Diefenderfer, C., R. Doan, and C. Salowey. Pp. 41–48 in Current Practices in Quantitative Literacy, edited by R. Gillman. Washington, DC: Mathematical Association of America.  TOC.

2006:  An Overview of QL/QR Programs, Events and Publications. Caren Diefenderfer*, Hollins University, Rebecca Hartzler, Seattle Central Community College and Cinnamon Hillyard, University of Washington, Bothell. (1269).  Joint Mathematics Meeting of the MAA.

2005: Quantitative Reasoning in the Arts and Humanities at Hollins University (Slides). MAA PREP Workshop at Macalester University, Minneapolis.

2004: Interdisciplinary Quantitative Reasoning: Innovation and Curriculum Development at Hollins University by Caren Diefenderfer (Mathematics), Ruth Doan (History) and Christina Solowey (Classical Studies).

2000. Herta Taussig Freitag: A Personal Reflection

1985: Married to David Robertson

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