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June 30, 2010

Jo Ann Staples Retires

Director of Teaching Jo Ann Staples retired in May 2010 after 35 years as a member of the Department of Mathematics faculty.

Staples received her bachelor of arts in mathematics and physics from Western Kentucky University in 1969 and a Ph.D. in mathematics from Vanderbilt in 1975. She joined the Vanderbilt faculty as a lecturer in 1975 and became a senior lecturer in 1997. In 2000 she was appointed director of teaching of mathematics.

Staples’ primary focus at Vanderbilt was on teaching and administration. She taught a wide variety of courses ranging from calculus and differential equations to abstract algebra.

Under her guidance, the teaching program for the graduate students evolved to include more training, more mentoring, and more flexible options in the classroom. The basic calculus courses were restructured to provide additional support for students and more consistency in teaching practices. She also coordinated the development of courses with additional applications for engineering students in linear algebra, differential equations, and statistics.

Throughout her tenure Staples served on numerous groups and committees, including the University Library Committee and the Faculty Associates Group in the Pilot Project for the Residential College System, and she was a faculty co-facilitator for Vanderbilt Visions.

Staples is an active supporter of the Friends of the Vanderbilt Library, the Sierra Club, and the Audubon Society. She collects rare books and first editions, with a focus on eighteenth and nineteenth century British women writers. She is the regional co-coordinator of the Middle Tennessee Chapter of the Jane Austen Society of North America and a member of the Nashville English Country Dancers.