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Presidential Finalist: Dr. Joan Ferrini-Mundy

Ferrini-Mundy is currently the chief operating officer of the National Science Foundation. Her background is in education, and she takes pride in having a “very rich career” that has spanned from K-12 education to higher education.

Her goals for her potential presidency include learning about the campus at both Orono and Machias as well as the faculty. With that, she hopes to understand the challenges and opportunities on the campus and understand what has already been done by current UMaine president, Susan Hunter.

“I believe that a president comes in to build on the good work that people before him/her have done,” Ferrini-Mundy said. “And some areas of high priority for me definitely include the student experience. Keeping a focus on the teaching and learning is important. The second has to do with the relationship between the University and the rest of the state, including with the trustees and the chancellor and with other campuses and making sure that the institution is playing its part. And lastly, the mission of the University is also important. This university is about building new knowledge and making sure that the infrastructure is sound and growing.”

“I admire the accomplishments of President Hunter, both as I have learned and as I have had the chance to meet with her this week. Just such deep commitment to the state, to the university, and to the people of the university. I would aspire to continue that and build from what she has done,” Ferrini-Mundy said.


When looking at previous positions that she has held, Ferrini-Mundy takes great pride and feels “very fortunate” to have had previous experiences in education that include her roles at Michigan State University as well as the University of New Hampshire and through the federal government. “All of that experience involves key activity that I think is fundamental to the work of the president as it involves a focus on education everywhere.”


With President Hunter leaving, it is important for the future president to continue the work that she has built. To do this, Ferrini-Mundy says that through everything she is learning and seeing, “this relationship is a very positive one. While the two institutions [Machias and Orono] are quite different, it is important to understand what those differences are and looking at the strengths that each one has and how they can learn from one another.”


Ferrini-Mundy is also very interested in the Machias campus as it plays a critical role in the region. This provides a setting for an education for those in the area in a way that is “quite nicely tied to the place”, according to Ferrini-Mundy. The emphasis that they [Machias] have there are aligned well with what the region has to offer, what the workforce might need with developing and advancing learning opportunities for those students.”


Another important focus for the students as well as the state of Maine is facilitating economic growth with initiatives to keep graduates in Maine. Ferrini-Mundy recognized that to do this, a skilled workforce is necessary in order to take on leadership and key roles in the industries and activities within that state.


“A pretty fundamental way for the University to influence economic growth is to be producing outstanding graduates who want to stay in the state and want to contribute as leaders in a whole host of sectors. I also understand the importance of partnerships and understanding the needs of the business community in the state, and looking for ways to get together and advance the activity at the University can be supportive of those needs,” Ferrini-Mundy added.

Ferrini-Mundy was excited to be on the UMaine campus. “I’m very grateful for the visit I’m having here, for the time that people have taken for me, and I am very excited about the possibilities for this university,” Ferrini-Mundy said.

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