Dana Olanoff

Dana Olanoff, PhD

  • Chair, Mathematics Department
  • Professor

Affiliated Programs


  • PhD, Mathematics Education (2011)
    Syracuse University (NY)
  • MS, Mathematics (2003)
    Michigan State University (MI)
  • BA, Mathematics and Latin (1999)
    Hobart and William Smith Colleges (NY)

About Me

I primarily teach mathematics courses for prospective teachers, and I also teach calculus courses. My role as a mathematics teacher is to help students make sense of mathematics and develop conceptual understanding. I do this by helping students become actively involved in their learning through solving new and challenging problems rather than passively absorbing information. I earned BS and MS degrees in mathematics from William Smith College and Michigan State University and a PhD in mathematics education from Syracuse University.

Research Interests

I have a variety of research interests that mostly focus on prospective teacher education. The four main foci include mathematical knowledge for teaching teachers (MKTT), the professional development of mathematics teacher educators, prospective teachers' knowledge of fractions, and task development for mathematics content courses for prospective teachers.


  • Olanoff, D., Lo, J., & Tobias, J. (2014). Mathematical content knowledge for teaching elementary mathematics: A focus on fractions. The Mathematics Enthusiast11(2), 267–310.
  • Masingila, J.O., Olanoff, D.E., & Kwaka, D. (2012). Who teaches mathematics content courses for prospective teachers in the United States? Results of a national survey. Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education15(5), 347–358.
  • Tobias, J.M., Olanoff, D., Hillen, A., Welder, R., Feldman, Z., & Thanheiser, E. (2014). Research-based modifications of elementary school tasks for use in teacher preparation. In K. Karp (Ed.), Annual Perspectives in Mathematics Education 2014: Using Research to Improve Instruction. Reston, VA: National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.

Professional Affiliations & Memberships

National Council of Teachers in Mathematics (NCTM), Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators (AMTE), International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education (PME), North American Chapter of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education (PME-NA)


  • Faculty Development and Provost Grants, Widener University, 2014
  • Doctoral Research Prize, Syracuse University, 2011
  • Outstanding TA Award, Syracuse University and Michigan State University, 2010, 2003

In the Media


  • Widener Commends Faculty at 2023 Awards Event

    Widener honored faculty members for their high distinction in areas of civic engagement, institutional leadership, research, as well as innovative and distinguished teaching. Various faculty were awarded at the ceremony, held Thursday, October 19 in Lathem Hall.

    “The professors who were honored at our annual awards ceremony continuously display commitment to teaching, civic engagement, meaningful research, remarkable leadership, and cutting-edge innovation. They are highly valued colleagues and represent core values for which Widener stands," said Provost Andrew Workman. 

    The awards included:

    • The Distinguished University Professor Award honors faculty members of high distinction at the University who also demonstrate the institution is committed to recognizing excellence in teaching, scholarship, and service throughout faculty members’ careers. This year's recipients were College of Health and Human Services Professor, Stephen E. Kauffman as well as College of Arts and Sciences Professor, Alexis A. Nagengast.
    • College of Arts and Sciences Professor Dana Olanoff was awarded with the Lindback Distinguished Teaching Award. This award is given to a faculty member who has exemplified a history of teaching at the highest level of distinction. It is endowed by the Christian R. and Mary F. Lindback Foundation, a Philadelphia-based foundation that provides grants to institutions of higher education for the promotion of excellence in teaching.
    • The Faculty Award for Civic Engagement serves to recognize the outstanding contributions that faculty members have made in accordance with Widener’s civic engagement mission, as well as solidifying Widener students’ understanding of their social responsibilities, and the impact of their disciplinary learning. This year's recipients included faculty from the College of Arts and Sciences: Associate Professor Angela M. Corbo, Professor J. Wesley Leckrone, and Associate Dean of Social Science and Professor James E. Vike.
    • College of Arts and Sciences Associate Professor Michael Toneff was awarded the Outstanding Researcher Award. This award gives recognition to a faculty member who has participated in research and scholarship nationally or internationally, and made a significant contribution through their research, while advancing their profession or discipline as well as the university’s mission and vision.
    • The Fitz Dixon Innovation in Teaching Award highlights an individual who has designed, implemented, and assessed an innovative or experimental teaching and learning project. This award was presented to College of Arts and Sciences Associate Professor Janice Krumm.
    • The Faculty Institutional Leadership Award recognizes a record of leading initiatives that further the university’s vision, mission, and strategic objectives. This year’s award recipients were College of Health and Human Services Associate Professor Marina Barnett, who is also interim assistant provost for civic engagement, and College of Arts and Sciences Associate Professor Bretton Alvare.

      Share link: https://www.widener.edu/news/noteworthy/widener-commends-faculty-2023-awards-event