New UMaine president named

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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.

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.

Ferrini-Mundy met last 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.

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.

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,  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 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.

James Erwin, chair of the University of Maine System Board of Trustees, issued the following statement after Ferrini-Mundy’s selection:

“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,

“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.”