Brief biography, Joan Ferrini-Mundy

Updated April 7, 2018

Joan Ferrini-Mundy was appointed the chief operating officer (COO) of the National Science Foundation (NSF) in June 2017. She is responsible for the day-to-day oversight of several operations offices that report to the NSF Office of the Director, chairs several two agency-wide review groups, and participates as a member of the senior leadership team in strategic budget planning and execution. She represents NSF on the President’s Management Council and co-chairs the National Science and Technology Council’s Federal Coordination in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Education Task Force. Ferrini-Mundy served as an ex officio member of President Bush’s National Mathematics Advisory Panel and co-chaired its Instructional Practices Task Group. From 2011 through 2016 Ferrini-Mundy led the NSF Directorate for Education and Human Resources (EHR), overseeing an $850 million budget for competitive grants for the improvement of U.S. STEM education. During her time in EHR Ferrini-Mundy expanded the resources available to build research and evidence as a strategic basis for innovation in STEM education investments. She joined NSF in 2007 as the inaugural director for the Division of Research on Learning in Formal and Informal Settings in EHR, while a faculty member at Michigan State University (MSU) under the Intergovernmental Personnel Act.  

Ferrini-Mundy was a member of the faculty of MSU from 1999 through 2010, where she served as Associate Dean for Science and Mathematics Education in the College of Natural Science, Director of the Division of Science and Mathematics Education, and as a professor of mathematics in the College of Natural Science and a professor of teacher education in the College of Education. At MSU she led several successful initiatives, including the development of a cross-college Ph.D. program in mathematics education and a major NSF-funded partnership project involving nearly 60 school districts in Michigan and Ohio.

After receiving her Ph.D. in mathematics education from the University of New Hampshire (UNH) Department of Mathematics in 1980, Ferrini-Mundy spent two years as a postdoctoral associate there, and one year in the Department of Mathematics at Mount Holyoke College, where she co-founded the SummerMath for Teachers program. She returned to UNH in 1983 as an assistant professor of mathematics, rising to the rank of full professor in 1994.

Ferrini-Mundy is an author or co-author of more than 100 publications and reports and has received numerous awards and recognitions. Among those are the Distinguished Executive Presidential Rank Award for the U.S. Senior Executive Service, election as a Fellow of the American Mathematical Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, selection as a University Distinguished Professor at MSU, the University of New Hampshire (UNH) Excellence in Public Service Award, and the UNH Distinguished Teaching Award. Her research interests include calculus learning, mathematics teacher knowledge, and K-12 STEM education policy.

Ferrini-Mundy began her career as a mathematics teacher at St. Paul’s School in Concord, NH. She will begin serving as the president of the University of Maine and the University of Maine at Machias on July 1, 2018.

Dr. Joan Ferrini-Mundy CV