The University of Massachusetts Amherst
University of Massachusetts Amherst

Search Google Appliance


Jane E. Fountain

Jane Fountain photo

Professional Title: 

Distinguished University Professor of Political Science and Public Policy
Director, National Center for Digital Government

Service Role: 

  • Field Clerk - Public Policy


Thompson 406


Office Hours: 

Fall 2019: Thursdays, 2:30-4 and by appointment


Ph.D., Yale University


Jane E. Fountain is Distinguished University Professor of Political Science and Public Policy and an adjunct distinguished professor by appointment in the College of Information and Computer Sciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She served as Political Science Department Chair from 2015 to 2018 and interim Director of the Center for Public Policy & Administration (now the School of Public Policy) from 2006 to 2007. Professor Fountain is the co-founder and Director of the National Center for Digital Government whose initial support was from the National Science Foundation. In 2013 Fountain was awarded the UMass Amherst Chancellor's Medal, the highest honor bestowed to faculty on the campus. In 2010 she received the Chancellor's Award for Outstanding Accomplishments in Research and Creative Activity. Fountain was named to the list of the 100 Most Influential People in Digital Government in 2018 by apolitical and was named a Federal 100 awardee in 2013. Fountain is an elected Fellow (2012) and member of the Board of Directors and executive council of the National Academy of Public Administration; is a former Chair, Vice Chair and invited member of the World Economic Forum Global Advisory Council on the Future of Government; was a member of American Bar Association blue ribbon commission on the Future of e-Rulemaking and an appointed member of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Governor's Council on Innovation.

Professor Fountain's publications have appeared in journals including Public Administration Review, Behavioral Science & Policy, Governance, Communications of the ACM, Science & Public Policy, and Technology in Society. Among other publications, she is the author of Building the Virtual State: Information Technology and Institutional Change (Brookings Institution Press, 2001), which was awarded an Outstanding Academic Title by Choice and has been translated into Chinese, Portuguese, Japanese and Spanish. Practical publications include Building an Enterprise Government: Creating an ecosystem for cross-agency collaboration (Partnership for Public Service and IBM Center for Business of Government, 2016); Cross-agency Collaboration: A Guide for Managers (IBM Center for Business and Government, 2013) and a coauthor of The Future of Government (World Economic Forum, 2011). Fountain has delivered keynoted addresses and invited lectures in 23 countries. Before joining the faculty at the University of Massachusetts Amherst she served for 16 years on the faculty of the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. A former Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Yale University and Mellon Foundation Fellow, she holds master's degrees from Harvard and Yale Universities and a PhD from Yale University. 

Fountain's current research is focused on institutions and digitalization, specifically on cross-boundary and emergent institutional arrangements. She has worked with and coauthored with graduate students in the areas of institutional development and governance related to technological change in information and communications.


Area of Study: 

  • American politics
  • Comparative politics
  • Public policy and organizations

Curriculum Vitae: 

Download pdf (366.07 KB)


  • Institutional analysis; digital government; organization theory


  • Political Science