Professor of Mathematics and Statistics Monica Jackson has been named American University Interim Deputy Provost and Dean of Faculty.
Jackson brings extensive experience to her new position. She has served as Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies in the College of Arts and Sciences for the past two years. She is also the College’s very first Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer. In this role, she worked with faculty fellows to help train departments on best practices in hiring and supporting the College’s increasingly diverse faculty, and in engaging with students (both undergraduate and graduate) on ways to make curricula and classes more inclusive.
Jackson has served as a member of numerous search and tenure committees, and she is also a Principal Investigator for AU's ADVANCE grant, analyzing gender and racial data and working to increase equity in these areas among STEM faculty.
Leading the Way
As Interim Deputy Provost and Dean of Faculty, Jackson will oversee all faculty appointments, tenure and promotion processes, faculty misconduct cases, and new faculty onboarding and retirements. She will also direct the Career Center, the Center for Teaching, Research and Learning (CTRL), AU Abroad, and the International Accelerator programs.
Starr says that Jackson will be an outstanding Interim Deputy Provost. “Monica is an exceptional teacher, scholar, and mentor and has led the way for the College in its work to increase diversity and inclusion among STEM faculty and students. I am delighted that she will be joining me in the Provost’s Office as American University reaffirms and expands its crucial commitment to racial and social justice and equity. This is the cornerstone for achieving institutional and educational excellence, and I cannot think of anyone more qualified to help us in this work.”
Jackson is looking forward to her new position. “I am deeply rooted in AU and have truly enjoyed my time with Peter [Starr] in CAS,” she says. “My new role in the Office of the Provost will allow me to better support many AU offices and to continue my work in faculty development at a much higher level with the goal of having a stronger positive impact on AU.”
Scholar, Mentor, Leader
Jackson first arrived at American University in 2005. She established AU’s first Summer Program in Research and Learning, where undergraduate students and faculty from across the country have the opportunity to conduct scientific research at AU.
She says that mentorship is her way of giving back. “I run REU's, Research Experiences for Undergraduates, at AU,” she explains. “That's how I first got started in doing math research when I was at Clark Atlanta University. I was a sophomore, I was selected for an REU, and that's how I learned that I loved research.”
Jackson already knew that she loved mathematics—she first fell in love with math as a child. In an interview last year with the Mathematically Gifted & Black organization, she said she can still remember doing math races in elementary school to see who could solve simple arithmetic the fastest. “I would play the same game at home with family members,” she says. “I’ve always known I would be a mathematician. There was never anything else I loved doing more than math.”
Now, Jackson’s primary areas of research interest are in spatial statistics and disease surveillance—in other words, she studies data that are correlated. “I develop methods that look for geographic distribution of diseases rates like COVID-19,” she explains.
“I do a lot of tracking different cancers, such as breast cancer or lung cancer rates. And I'm trying to see where the next outbreaks are going to be. Or if there are any clusters in certain areas, to find out if there are some environmental causes for certain cancers. And I also work a lot with developing what we call spatial statistics, or these mathematical models, that can actually find big global trends or outliers.”
Jackson has won numerous awards for her scholarship and service. Those include the Frederick Douglass Distinguished Scholars Faculty Fellow, The Delta Kappa Gamma International Educational Society Most Valuable Member, and the Morton Bender Prize for outstanding research. Prior to coming to AU, Jackson was a postdoctoral researcher at Emory University and an instructor at the University of Maryland.
She has a BS and MS from Clark Atlanta University and a PhD in applied mathematics and scientific computation from the University of Maryland.