Caren Diefenderfer

Caren Diefenderfer

Caren Diefenderfer has been a member of the Hollins faculty for over 30 years. This year she and Professor Joe Leedom with be working with the new honors students in Honors 101 and 102. She previously taught “Games, Puzzles and Logic” in the first year seminar program. She has supervised many senior mathematics projects, including two on “Mathematics and 3D Printing” and “Applications of Abstract Algebra: Symmetry in Spanish Arab Tile Patterns.” She was the Chief Reader for AP Calculus from 2004-2007 and she has been both the Chair of the MAA’s SIGMAA for Quantitative Literacy and the President of the National Numeracy Network. In January 2017 she be one of three people receiving the MAA’s national Haimo Teaching Award.

Areas of Expertise

  • Real Analysis
  • Linear Algebra
  • Abstract Algebra
  • The History of Mathematics
  • Quantitative Literacy

Courses Taught

  • Quantitative Reasoning in Today's World
  • Games, Puzzles and Logic
  • A Transition to Advanced Mathematics
  • Several-Variable Calculus
  • The Mathematics of Gambling
  • Cryptology
  • Senior Seminar 1
  • Senior Seminar 2


  • M.A., Ph.D., University of California-Santa Barbara
  • A. B., Dartmouth College

Publications & Articles

  • “The Joy of Quantitative Reasoning,” by Caren Diefenderfer, Numeracy, 5 (1): Article 1, 2012.
  • “Quantitative Reasoning in the Contemporary World, 3: Assessing Student Learning,” by Stuart Boersma, Caren Diefenderfer; Shannon W. Dingman; and Bernard L. Madison. 2011. Numeracy, 4 (2): Article 8, 2011.
  • The Calculus Collection: A Resource for AP and Beyond, edited by Caren L. Diefenderfer and Roger B. Nelsen, (Mathematical Association of America Classroom Resource Materials, 2010).
  • Case Studies for Quantitative Reasoning: A Casebook of Media Articles, Second Edition, by Bernard L. Madison, Stuart Boersma, Caren L. Diefenderfer and Shannon Dingman, (Pearson Custom Publishing, 2009).
  • “The Quantitative Reasoning Program at Hollins University,” by Caren Diefenderfer, Ruth Doan and Christina Salowey, Current Practices in Quantitative Literacy, edited by R. Gillman (MAA Notes Series #70, 2006).
  • “Special Focus: The Fundamental Theorem of Calculus,” edited by Caren Diefenderfer, 2005-2006 Professional Development Workshop Materials, (The College Board, 2005).
  • “The Quantitative Reasoning Program at Hollins University,” by Caren Diefenderfer, Ruth Doan and Christina Salowey, Peer Review, Vol. 6, No. 4, (AAC&U, 2004).


Recipient of the Herta T. Freitag Faculty Award, Hollins University, 2011
Recipient of the Roberta A. Stewart Service Award, Hollins University, 2011
Recipient of the Distinguished Service Award, Hollins University, 2008
Phi Beta Kappa, Sigma Xi, Omicron Delta Kappa
Suzanne Rose Benedict Prize for excellence in undergraduate mathematics, Smith College

Research Interests

3D Printing
Knot Theory
Women in Science and Mathematics