Professor of Mathematics
At North Park since: 2004
Growing up in a strong Christian home with little money had a profound effect on Rachelle Ankney. She began to understand the systemic causes of poverty, sexism, and racism and became dedicated in the fight for justice—one that has grown and flourished since she started teaching at North Park.
She founded the North Park Justice League, a grassroots student organization that works to improve Chicago neighborhoods. Named a North Park service-learning fellow in 2012, she also collaborates with other faculty to incorporate service learning into their classes by using community engagement to enhance student learning.
For example, in two of her own classes, Just Math and ArcGIS, students have conducted demographic research on income and employment in Cook County, charter schools and low-income neighborhoods in Northwest Indiana, and neighborhood diversity in relation to housing vacancies. The research was requested by regional social justice organizations which will use the data to fight for policy changes to improve our communities.
“I work with my students to understand from a mathematical perspective the systems and structures at work that are continuing injustice, and then I stand with them in working for change,” Dr. Ankney says.
As her research focuses on justice learning in the mathematical sciences, she finds North Park’s core values—Christian, urban, and multicultural—to match her own. “As I have grown and become involved with community organizing as I’ve been at NPU, North Park has grown with me and supported my justice work in the community and with my students,” she says.
- PhD, Mathematics, George Washington University
- BA, Mathematics and Physics, Belmont University