A legacy of learning

Jan Norrander retired this fall after decades of service as a faculty member in Genetics, Cell Biology and Development.
March 25, 2024

Jan Norrander’s ties to the College of Biological Sciences (CBS) go back 50 years. Starting as an undergraduate studying biochemistry in 1974, Norrander graduated in 1978 and then went on to get her Ph.D. in the same subject from the University in 1984. After a brief stint as a research scientist at AmGen in California, she came back to the University of Minnesota in 1985 as a postdoctoral associate, eventually joining the University faculty until her recent retirement last year.

Over the course of her career, Norrander was particularly known for her acumen as an educator. She served as director for a human histology course for first-year medical students for 16 years, and instructed the class an additional six years prior to serving as director. She also reconfigured or created three undergraduate biology courses during her tenure, including undergraduate histology, online cell biology and a cell biology lab. 

Her colleagues recognized her outstanding efforts in the classroom, nominating her for the 2018 Stanley Dagley-Samuel Kirkwood Undergraduate Education Award. She won the award that year, given by CBS as an acknowledgement of exceptional faculty contributions to undergraduate education. Norrander retired in October 2023. — Lance Janssen