Janet R. Serie, O.T. Walter Professor of Biology at Macalester College, died peacefully on September 17 at her home in St. Paul at the age of 56. Serie's career of teaching, research, and administration at Macalester began in 1983 and extended over 25 years, during which time she taught thousands of students and inspired many to pursue professional careers in medicine, biology, and other fields.

An outstanding classroom teacher, Serie was also nationally recognized in the area of curriculum development, and as a researcher in the areas of immunology and diabetes.For her achievements in and outside the classroom, Serie was honored with many teaching and educator awards, including the Minnesota College Science Teacher of the Year Award by the Minnesota Academy of Science and the Four-Year College Teaching Award by the National Association of College Biology Teachers. She is remembered as an exceptional mentor in both the research laboratory and the classroom.

Serie was born in Brookings, South Dakota, and attended the College of St. Benedict in St. Joeseph, Minnesota, graduating in 1975. She earned a Ph. D. in anatomy in 1981 from the University of Minnesota. Serie was nationally recognized as a leader and scholar. She served as dean of the Division of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, director of the Women's and Gender Studies Program, chair of the Biology Department, and director of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Program.

In 2002, Serie was appointed the founding director of the Macalester Center for Scholarship and Teaching. In this position, which she held until last summer, Serie helped other faculty improve their teaching and understand how their own scholarship can enhance the teaching of their students.

According to Macalester President Brian Rosenberg, "Jan Serie has, directly or indirectly, touched the life of virtually everyone who has been part of the Macalester community for the past 25 years. No one here has been more important to the life of the college, and she will be enormously missed."

Serie is survived by her longtime partner, Lin Aanonsen, two sisters, two nephews, four nieces, two grandnephews, and two grandnieces.

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Staff - Advisory Committee

The CST began in 2002 following campus-wide discussion about what Macalester faculty members needed for their own professional development. Jan Serie, O.T. Walter Professor of Biology, was selected as the Center’s first director, a position she held for six years. During her tenure as director, Jan built the center into what it is today—a vibrant place for faculty development, collegiality, and teaching/scholarly exchange. Professor Serie imagined the CST as a “one stop faculty development” center that would provide faculty with information, guidance, and tangible assistance in their development as effective scholars, teachers, and advisors.

In September 2008, Jan Serie passed away following a long battle with ovarian cancer. To honor the extraordinary service, direction, and leadership she provided to the College and to the CST in particular, Macalester President Brian Rosenberg renamed the CST the “Jan Serie Center for Scholarship and Teaching.” The Serie Center continues and builds upon her vision through its programming, resources, and faculty celebrations.


The Center for Scholarship and Teaching has been established to encourage, promote and support the pursuit of excellence in scholarship and teaching within Macalester's distinctive urban liberal arts setting by:

Supporting faculty scholarship, the cornerstone of a vibrant and engaged intellectual community

Promoting excellence and innovation in teaching and advising

Seeking ways to integrate scholarship and teaching to deepen and enrich the education of students while promoting a more 'seamless' and satisfying professional life for faculty

Encouraging and facilitating public scholarship and civic learning as a means of making Macalester a truly 'engaged campus'

Sponsoring special projects that encourage the rediscovery, redefinition and reinvigoration of the College's liberal arts mission