Janni Pedersen, PhD
College of Liberal Arts
Dr. Janni Pedersen, the Chair of Ashford University’s Cultural Anthropology program, joined Ashford in 2012 to teach courses in cultural anthropology and work closely with the associate online faculty. She earned her doctoral degree from Iowa State University, where she taught courses in both biological and cultural anthropology as well as in philosophy. Her research interests focused on primatology as it relates to human evolution. While in Iowa, she conducted research with language-trained bonobos (a form of chimpanzee) at the Great Ape Trust of Iowa. She has published research on using analytical methods, normally reserved for human-human conversations, to bonobo-human conversations, and has studied the differences between bonobos that are language-trained and those that are not. Dr. Pedersen was excited to join Ashford because “the goal to provide access to high-quality instruction for all groups in society is something I believe in.” She advises her students to see their education as beneficial not only for professional and employment purpose, but as interesting and important in itself, and to ask questions. “Asking questions is a sign that learning is taking place, and that the student is reflecting on the material.” Originally from Denmark, Dr. Pederson worked at an Internet marketing agency in Brussels, Belgium before moving to the US to work on her doctoral degree. She recently moved to La Mesa, CA, with her husband and their furry family: two cats and two dogs. In her free time, Dr. Pedersen enjoys gardening, winemaking, and reading novels.