President Ferrini-Mundy earns national lifetime achievement award in mathematics education

University of Maine President Joan Ferrini-Mundy will be honored with the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics’ (NCTM) Lifetime Achievement Award on Wednesday, Oct. 25 during the organization’s 2023 Annual Meeting and Exposition in Washington D.C. 

Ferrini-Mundy, who has taught secondary and college-level mathematics and researched ways to improve both for nearly five decades, is also participating in the NCTM’s 2023 Research Conference in Washington D.C., delivering an opening plenary talk on Tuesday, Oct. 24, and hosting a Q&A session the following day. 

The NCTM Lifetime Achievement Award honors council members who have demonstrated distinguished leadership, instruction and service to the mathematics education field at the national level for over 25 years, according to the organization

Selected by the NCTM’s Mathematics Education Trust, Ferrini-Mundy, who previously served on the council’s board of directors, is one of two recipients of this year’s lifetime achievement award. The other is Elizabeth “Betty” Phillips, a senior academic specialist at Michigan State University’s Program in Mathematics Education.

“Providing robust and comprehensive instruction in mathematics is essential to helping people from all backgrounds achieve professional and personal success. It also helps foster highly knowledgeable and talented workers capable of growing our modern economy,”  Ferrini-Mundy says. “I’ve seen firsthand how this field has changed lives, and it has motivated me to be the best educator I can be. I’m truly honored to receive this award for a lifetime of work in what I consider one of the most rewarding fields in education”. 

Ferrini-Mundy has served as a secondary school teacher, a professor at multiple universities and as a leader of university colleges, boards and research centers involved in mathematics education. 

She currently chairs the Conference Board of the Mathematical Sciences, and was previously the director of the Mathematical Sciences Education Board at the National Academy of Sciences, co-chair of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development Mathematics Expert Group Programme for International Student Assessment, and member of the Maine Department of Education’s Mathematics Standards Review Committee. She also has published more than 100 articles and mentored 10 doctoral students over the course of her career.

In 1980, Ferrini-Mundy earned her Ph.D. in mathematics education from the University of New Hampshire (UNH). She was named the president of the University of Maine and its regional campus, the University of Maine at Machias, in 2018. Ferrini-Mundy is a national leader in STEM education research and policy, and the former chief operating officer (COO) of the National Science Foundation. 

Under her leadership, UMaine achieved the R1 designation from the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education in 2021. This designation is only awarded to the top 4% of the nation’s doctoral research universities. That same year, the University of Maine System named Ferrini-Mundy vice chancellor for research and innovation. In this role, she’s helping to make UMaine’s research infrastructure more accessible and supportive for faculty and students at all of the System’s universities. 

Her other leadership roles include serving as a member of the President’s Committee on the National Medal of Science, chair of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities’ (APLU) Council of Presidents, executive committee member of the APLU’s Board of Directors, chair of the America East Conference Academic Consortium Board of Presidents and chair of the Maine Innovation Economy Advisory Board. 

Contact: Eric Gordon,