Usiskin began to contribute to mathematics education while completing his doctoral degree at the University of Michigan, where he authored a precalculus text and
Geometry: A Transformation Approach.
The latter included several concepts used in European textbooks and changed the way geometry courses were conducted in U.S. secondary schools.
At the time of this writing, Usiskin is professor of education at the University of Chicago. Since 1987, he has been overall director of the University of Chicago School Mathematics Project, which produced a complete curriculum for grades 7-12.
Early on, Usiskin realized the importance of understanding the approaches to mathematics education used by other countries. He has played a role in all the meetings of the International Congress on Mathematical Education since 1972, is a frequent lecturer at international gatherings, and has helped sponsor meetings.
Generous with his time and energy, Usiskin has served on the boards of many professional groups, including NCTM. As a member of the Mathematical Sciences Education Board, Usiskin helped pave the way for current reform efforts in mathematics education.