President’s Biography

Dr. Joan Ferrini-Mundy

President Joan Ferrini-Mundy

Joan Ferrini-Mundy became president of the University of Maine (UMaine) and its regional campus, the University of Maine at Machias (UMM) in July 2018. In 2021, she was appointed vice chancellor for research and innovation for the University of Maine System (UMS). In this role, she leads a formalized effort to make UMaine’s research infrastructure accessible to and supportive of all universities and faculty in the System.

In July 2020, to ensure foundational inclusive excellence, Ferrini-Mundy appointed a 30-member Council on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion to advise UMaine and UMM campus leadership and operationalize their commitment to the core values of diversity, equity and inclusion.

Ferrini-Mundy chairs the UMS Science Advisory Board, which was established to stay fully abreast of fast-breaking scientific and medical developments in areas relevant for universities and the COVID-19 pandemic. Those areas include vaccine development, diagnostic and serology testing, antiviral treatments, transmission mitigation and contact tracing. The team, which has presented to the Maine Legislature, provides evidence-based information on the pandemic in briefs for UMS Chancellor Dannel Malloy. It also serves as an expert resource to the 2020 Safe Return Planning Committee to discuss science-based approaches to safely welcome students, faculty, staff and the public back to the UMS universities.

Since December 2020, Ferrini-Mundy has chaired the University of Maine System Vaccination Planning and Partnership Task Force. In addition to coordinating and reporting on work across the campuses to plan for and support the distribution of vaccines for COVID-19, the task force expands and facilitates the use of university resources to assist with vaccine distribution, recommends needed changes to UMS immunization requirements, and contributes to student and public awareness about the efficacy and safety of FDA-approved vaccines.

Ferrini-Mundy is UMaine’s 21st president and second female president. Prior to joining the UMaine and UMM communities, she was the chief operating officer of the National Science Foundation (NSF). At NSF, Ferrini-Mundy headed the Directorate for Education and Human Resources for six years before becoming its chief operating officer.

Her distinguished career spans the fields of mathematics education, STEM education and policy, teacher education, and research administration. Ferrini- Mundy has published more than 100 articles and has mentored 10 doctoral students.

After earning her Ph.D. in mathematics education in 1980 from the University of New Hampshire (UNH), Ferrini-Mundy was a postdoctoral associate there, and a visiting assistant professor in the Department of Mathematics at Mount Holyoke College. At Mount Holyoke, Ferrini-Mundy co-founded the SummerMath for Teachers program. She returned to UNH as an assistant professor of mathematics and rose to the rank of full professor.

On leave from UNH, Ferrini-Mundy directed the Mathematical Sciences Education Board at the National Academy of Sciences, and subsequently joined the mathematics and teacher education faculty of Michigan State University (MSU). There, she also served as associate dean for science and mathematics education in the College of Natural Science and director of the Division of Science and Mathematics Education.

Her numerous awards and recognitions include the U.S. Senior Executive Service Presidential Rank Award of Distinguished Executive, MSU’s University Distinguished Professorship, election as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and of the American Mathematical Society, and the Seaman A. Knapp Award in recognition of her leadership and contributions to food and agricultural sciences.

Ferrini-Mundy co-chaired the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development Mathematics Expert Group Programme for International Student Assessment 2021, and is a member of the National Academies Board on Higher Education and the Workforce. She is the chair-elect of the Conference Board of Mathematical Sciences and the Academic Advisory Team with FocusMaine. Ferrini-Mundy serves on the boards of Maine Center Ventures, Maine and Company, and the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development Executive Steering Committee and is an ex officio board member of the University of Maine Foundation. She is the vice chair of RIC and a board member of the Association of Public Land-grant Universities and Co-PI of a $240 million gift from the Harold Alfond Foundation.

President Ferrini-Mundy’s vitae