Janice Monk came to the United States in 1961 to 'see the world' and simultaneously undertake graduate education. Born in Australia, she completed her honours BA degree at the University of Sydney and worked there for three years as a research assistant and tutor prior to beginning her studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. There she earned her PhD in Geography and served on the faculty for thirteen years.
In 1980, Jan moved to the University of Arizona as Associate Director of the recently founded Southwest Institute for Research on Women (SIROW), of which she was named Executive Director in 1983. She remained in that position until 2004 when she moved part-time to the Department of Geography and Regional Development prior to retiring from the University in 2005. Pursuing SIROW's mission to foster research, education, and community relations in the region, Jan engaged with many interdisciplinary projects related to women's history, arts, literature, health, and their economic situation. Other projects were designed to strengthen education for women in the fields of science and engineering and to introduce international perspectives on women's lives into university teaching. Many articles and books resulted from these collaborative SIROW projects which also engaged with schools and other community organizations.
While employed at SIROW, Jan was able to sustain her original interests in the discipline of geography. She maintained ties with feminist colleagues in the field and collaborated with them to promote research on women and women's professional status nationally and internationally. These efforts also resulted in her gaining a number of personal awards, among them the Australia-International Medal from the Institute of Australian Geographers and Lifetime Achievement Honors from the Association of American Geographers of which she was elected President in 2001-2002. Internationally, Jan has enjoyed numerous international conferences and invitations to serve as a visiting professor in several countries. Through these opportunities she has made many friends and been able to host visitors from abroad at the University of Arizona.