In Memoriam: Erna Beth Yackel, 1939-2022

Erna Yackel. professor emerita of mathematics education at Purdue University Northwest in Hammond, Indiana, and the wife of chancellor emeritus James Yackel, died on September 1 at her home in Dyer, Indiana. She was 83 years old.

A native of Portland, Oregon, Dr. Yackel spent much of her early life in rural Canada. At the age of 18, she earned a bachelor’s degree at Dickinson State University in North Dakota. She earned a master’s degree in mathematics at the University of Minnesota. After marrying a fellow graduate student, the couple settled in West Lafayette, Indiana, where she raised three children and taught statistics at Purdue. During this period, she earned a Ph.D. in mathematics education.

Dr. Yackel joined the faculty at Purdue University Northwest in 1984. She introduced the mathematics education community to the groundbreaking terms “social norms” and “sociomathematical norms,” leading to hundreds of professional publications. This particular work remains one of the most robust theories in the field, having been cited more than 3,000 times.

Dr. Yackel retired from teaching in 2004 but continued to conduct research and publish papers, right up to the time of her death.

Filed Under: In Memoriam


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