Mike Janssen, Ph.D.

Mike Janssen, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Mathematics

Dordt University


Dr. Michael K. Janssen is an associate professor of mathematics. He earned an undergraduate degree in mathematics and physics from the University of South Dakota, and a master’s and Ph.D. from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, where he studied commutative algebra and algebraic geometry under the direction of Dr. Brian Harbourne.

Mike has a variety of personal and professional interests. Professionally, he is interested in commutative algebra and algebraic geometry. He has also recently become interested in questions related to tropical algebra and geometry.

However, most of his professional time is spent thinking about teaching and learning. He has taught across the math major and into statistics. He is also a passionate practitioner of inquiry-based learning and alternative assessment practices (about which he has spoken and led workshops at national meetings). He is also interested in employing open educational resources whenever possible. His book, Rings with Inquiry, was born out of a desire for an open, rings-first, inquiry-oriented resource for abstract algebra. A new OER in the works supports an inquiry-oriented approach to a liberal arts math course loosely based on Francis Su’s Mathematics for Human Flourishing, and is available at emmath.org.

Personally, he has recently taken up running (as of the end of 2021, two 5Ks, four half marathons, and one marathon, with two marathons planned for 2022), and enjoys brewing beer, playing board games with his family and friends, and chasing his young children around the yard (or house, as the Iowa winters dictate).

Download my CV.

  • Commutative Algebra
  • Philosophy of mathematics
  • Open educational resources
  • Inquiry-based learning
  • Alternative assessment methods
  • Justice, equity, and inclusion in undergraduate mathematics
  • PhD in Mathematics, 2013

    University of Nebraska-Lincoln

  • MS in Mathematics, 2009

    University of Nebraska-Lincoln

  • BS in Mathematics and Physics, 2007

    University of South Dakota




Dordt University
Associate Professor of Mathematics
Aug 2018 – Present Iowa
Taught courses in mathematics and statistics, served on department/university committees, and conducted research in commutative algebra.
Dordt University
Assistant Professor of Mathematics
Aug 2014 – Jul 2018 Iowa
Taught courses in mathematics and statistics, served on department/university committees, and conducted research in commutative algebra.

Awards and Grants

Explorations in Modern Mathematics, an OER for a liberal arts math course
Grant to developed an OER for a liberal arts math course. See emmath.org for the current version.
Workshop on inquiry-based learning funded by NSF.
NSF Junior Oberwolfach Fellow
Funding to attend Oberwolfach Mini-Workshop 1508a, Ideals of Linear Subspaces, Their Symbolic Powers, and Waring Problems
MAA Project NExT Gold ‘14
Member of the 2014-2015 cohort of the MAA’s premier professional development network for early-career mathematics faculty.

Recent Posts

A new mkjanssen.org
Plans for the future.

Recent Publications

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(2013). Directed Graphs of the Finite Tropical Semiring. In RHUMJ.

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