Dr. Joan Ferrini-Mundy to lead University of Maine and University of Maine at Machias

Joan Ferrini-Mundy
Joan Ferrini-Mundy

Dr. Joan Ferrini-Mundy will be the 21st president of the University of Maine and the president of the University of Maine at Machias, announced University of Maine System Chancellor James H. Page on April 10.

Dr. Ferrini-Mundy, the chief operating officer of the $7.8 billion National Science Foundation and a New Hampshire native, has provided campus-based academic leadership as an associate dean, and served as professor of mathematics at two land grant universities.

UMaine’s incoming president also is a national leader in STEM education research and policy, co-leading the development of a governmentwide strategic plan for science, technology and engineering education across 14 science agencies that has achieved improved coherence and impact in the federal government’s $3 billion STEM education investment.

Dr. Ferrini-Mundy will meet this week with faculty, students, staff, university and state leaders in Orono, Machias and Augusta as part of her introduction visit to Maine. She will begin her term July 1, 2018.

National search for a university and state leader
The national search for a new president focused on finding a leader with the qualifications, national experience and commitment to service, research and scholarship necessary to lead Maine’s largest and leading research university.

The search identified 67 candidates and brought four finalists to Orono and Machias in February. The campus visits and engagement shaped the search committee findings that were presented to Chancellor Page in March.

“Under President Hunter’s leadership over the last four years we have seen how innovation and partnership can leverage UMaine’s 150-year legacy of service for even greater state-focused impact,” said Chancellor Page.

“Dr. Ferrini-Mundy will provide the national expertise, stature and commitment to higher education that will ensure the University of Maine and the University of Maine at Machias are One University leaders in serving Maine students, families, businesses and communities.

Dr. Ferrini-Mundy has been a leader with the National Science Foundation for nearly a decade. Most recently, she has been the chief operating officer of the $7.8 billion agency that last year worked with 2,000 institutions to support the investigation and discovery of 359,000 researchers, teachers and students.

UMaine is the state’s premier research institution, expending an average of $86 million annually the last five years on research and development. UMaine also is responsible for more than three-quarters of university-related spending on discovery.

Prior to her work as a member of the U.S. Government Senior Executive Service at NSF, Dr. Ferrini-Mundy held academic and leadership positions at Michigan State University and the University of New Hampshire.

She earned a Ph.D. in mathematics education from the University of New Hampshire’s College of Engineering. She served as associate dean for science and mathematics education in the College of Natural Science at Michigan State, as well as professor of mathematics and teacher education for 12 years.

Prior to joining Michigan State, Dr. Ferrini-Mundy served as the director of the Masters of Science for Teachers Program and professor of mathematics at UNH for 16 years.

“I am honored to accept the appointment as the 21st President of the University of Maine,” said Dr. Ferrini-Mundy. “Leadership at Maine’s flagship university comes with great opportunity to advance scholarship and discovery and an incredible obligation to deploy university research and talent in service to the state and its students. I am particularly eager to work with our colleagues at the University of Maine at Machias to pursue initiatives that strengthen our service to Maine and build stronger pathways to Maine careers.

“Helping people learn mathematics is my first love, a passion that brings understanding and respect for the faculty who conduct the scholarship, teaching and research so fundamental to the university mission. Based on early conversations and first impressions I have every confidence that the faculty, academic leaders, and I share an appreciation for the institution and traditions of higher education.

“It is also clear that UMaine is served by an accomplished leadership team and a dedicated staff of public servants both in Orono and Machias. Working together and with our System colleagues, and UMaine alumni, advocates and partners across the state we will build on UMaine’s proud legacy of scholarship, research, state leadership and service.”

Dr. Ferrini-Mundy’s husband Rick Mundy will be joining her in Orono. They have three adult children — Joe Mundy, Beth Mundy, and Adri Mundy, who will be frequent visitors.

A brief biography is online.

“Established by a public charter and supported by both legislative appropriations and public investment, the University of Maine System has an obligation to serve the citizens and communities of our great state in ways that meet the needs and challenges of our current and future students,” said James Erwin, chair of the University of Maine System Board of Trustees.

“With a working-age population that will shrink by 100,000 over the next 10 years, we look to our flagship university under incoming President Ferrini-Mundy’s leadership and in collaboration with her colleagues at UMaine and across the System, to achieve the innovation and partnerships needed to attract and retain students of all ages and backgrounds to our campuses and into programs with strong connections to Maine careers.

“The Board of Trustees enthusiastically endorsed Dr. Ferrini-Mundy’s appointment because of her passion and success as a scholar, her track record as an innovator, and her highly valued experience and leadership as a senior executive at the nation’s top research agency. On behalf of the Board and the Maine citizens we serve, it is a privilege to welcome Dr. Ferrini-Mundy and her husband, Rick Mundy, to Maine.”

“The Board and Chancellor charged the Presidential Search Committee with leading a national search that encouraged and facilitated involvement by all stakeholders on-campus, within the System, among UMaine’s 107,000 alumni, and across the State of Maine,” said Admiral (Ret.) Gregory G. Johnson, board trustee and chair of the search committee.

“It further charged that the search committee seek a candidate with the leadership skills and experience to continue enhancing UMaine’s educational and research capacity in support of the state’s economic development, workforce improvements, and the future well-being of all Mainers while operating collaboratively within the University of Maine System’s One University framework.

“Our Search Committee, with superb System and campus support accomplished that mission in an extraordinarily collaborative and collegial manner. As we celebrate Dr. Ferrini-Mundy’s appointment I want to express my sincerest personal appreciation to members of the committee for their selfless service and dedication. I also want to thank every member of the larger University community who participated in the search process and campus visits. In sum, it was a profoundly collaborative and collegial process marked by uncommon mutual respect. It was an honor and privilege to have been part of it.”

University stakeholders welcome Dr. Ferrini-Mundy to Maine
“UMaine’s capacity to provide high-quality learning opportunities for students impacts both our state and our nation. Dr. Ferrini-Mundy, as a leader on university campuses and at the National Science Foundation, has catalyzed research on teaching and learning while also advancing educators’ capacities to leverage research findings to improve outcomes for students. I look forward to her vision and leadership in helping us build on the ways we fulfill the teaching and research missions of this flagship institution.
Dr. Natasha Speer, associate professor of mathematics education, Department of Mathematics and Statistics and the Maine Center for Research in STEM Education

“UMaine is providing me with a unique, world-class opportunity to ask and answer questions about a genetic mutation that has caused my dad and brother to battle an unknown type of muscular dystrophy. I am grateful for the opportunity I have at UMaine and know the national expertise and connections our incoming president has in the field of research will help open new doors to discovery for university researchers like me that will benefit Maine.”
Elisabeth Kilroy, third-year Ph.D. candidate and researcher in the UMaine Graduate School of Biomedical Science and Engineering and member of the search committee

“Business leaders across the state understand how important UMaine is in terms of providing the next generation of the state’s workforce. The university graduates more students than any other Maine institution and is achieving record out-of-state enrollment because of the strength and breadth of its academic programs. On behalf of Black Bears everywhere, the UMaine Board of Visitors welcomes Dr. Joan Ferrini-Mundy and her family to Orono.”
—Philip Hamilton, vice chairman of the UMaine Board of Visitors and member of the search committee

“Dr. Ferrini-Mundy understands the unique strengths of the Machias campus, its importance to the region and the state, and our extraordinary undergraduate programs. She also understands the challenges we face in growing enrollment and forming an effective collaboration with the University of Maine. Dr. Ferrini-Mundy’s experience with leading collaboration and guiding major institutional change will be extremely valuable as we move forward. It’s inspiring to know we will have such an engaged, inspiring, and firm leader at the helm.”
Dr. Tora Johnson, associate professor and director of the GIS Service Center and Laboratory at the University of Maine at Machias and search committee member

“As part of Maine’s flagship university, the University of Maine at Machias is growing stronger and continues as an anchor institution for Washington County. Our incoming president has a commitment to collaboration and a record of shared achievement as an educator and an executive leader that we need to continue our advancement as One University. It is a pleasure to welcome Dr. Ferrini-Mundy to UMaine on behalf of the University of Maine at Machias Board of Visitors and our community. We look forward to working together to fulfill the coastal university mission of this critically important Machias campus.”
— Charles Rudelitch, Board of Visitors for both UMaine and the University of Maine at Machias and search committee member

Contact: Dan Demeritt, 207.441.6962