Political Scientist Jane Fountain Appointed Distinguished Professor

Jane Fountain
Monday, February 3, 2014

University of Massachusetts President Robert L. Caret has appointed Professor Jane Fountain (political science and public policy), director of the National Center for Digital Government, a Distinguished Professor, following approval from the Board of Trustees.

In his letter supporting Fountain’s nomination, UMass Amherst Chancellor Kumble R. Subbaswamy wrote, “Dr. Fountain has done more than almost anyone to advance the study of digital government. Indeed, Dr. Fountain literally wrote the book that defined this field. Building the Virtual State: Information Technology and Institutional Change is universally acknowledged as by far the best publication on its topic….We agree wholeheartedly with the unanimous recommendations to promote Dr. Fountain to the rank of Distinguished Professor, and we proudly nominate our colleague for this singular and much deserved distinction.”

Since joining the UMass Amherst faculty in 2005, Fountain’s research has focused on institutional perspectives on technology and governance, public organizations and bureaucratic change, women and computing, and the intersection of science, technology and society.

Fountain has received numerous awards and recognitions during her tenure at UMass Amherst, including election to the National Academy of Public Administration and selection as an Inaugural Senior Fellow of the Information and Politics Section of the American Political Science Association. She has also received two of the highest campus honors, including the Chancellor’s Medal in 2012 and the Chancellor’s Award for Outstanding Accomplishments in Research and Creative Activity in 2010.

In addition to Building the Virtual State, which has been translated into Chinese, Portuguese, Japanese and, soon, Spanish, Fountain is credited with three co-edited volumes, nine peer-reviewed journal articles, and numerous book chapters, shorter works, and working papers. Fountain is a highly sought after speaker for conferences across the nation and internationally. She has also served as primary investigator or co-primary investigator on $6.25 million in grants since joining UMass Amherst.

The impact of Fountain’s ideas spreads far beyond academic texts and grants. She has served on the Governor’s Innovation Council of Advisors for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and on the American Bar Association’s Blue Ribbon Panel on e-Rulemaking. She has also been a council member, co-chair, and chair on the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on the Future of Government, duty that placed her before governmental and corporate leaders in places such as Davos, Istanbul and Vienna.

Previously Fountain was affiliated with Harvard University as instructor (1989-91), assistant professor (1991-96), and associate professor (1996-2005). She has also been a Radcliffe Fellow (1999-2001), visiting associate professor at MIT (2004), and director of the National Center for Digital Government at Harvard (2002-05), which moved with her to UMass Amherst.

Fountain has earned degrees in several disciplines, including a B.Music from the Boston Conservatory of Music, an Ed.M. in administration, planning, and social policy from Harvard University, and four degrees from Yale University: an M.A. in organizational behavior, an M.A in political science, an M.Phil. in political science and organizational behavior, and a Ph.D. in political science and organizational behavior.