UMass Amherst Department of Political Science

Jane Fountain

Distinguished University Professor of Political Science and Public Policy

Director, National Center for Digital Government; Director, Science, Technology & Society Initiative
Thompson 406
Office Hours: Spring 2015: by appointment
Email: fountain
Phone: (413) 545-1007

Jane E. Fountain is Distinguished University Professor of Political Science and Public Policy and adjunct professor of Computer Science at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.  Previously, she served for 16 years on the faculty of the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.  Professor Fountain is the founder and Director of the National Center for Digital Government  and the Science, Technology and Society Initiative. Among many other publications, Fountain is the author of Building the Virtual State: Information Technology and Institutional Change (Brookings Institution Press, 2001), which was awarded an Outstanding Academic Title in 2002 by Choice and has been translated into Chinese, Portuguese, Japanese and Spanish.  Her articles have been published in scholarly journals including Governance, the National Civic Review, Technology in Society , Science and Public Policy, and The Communications of the Association for Computing Machinery.  Fountain is a former Chair and Vice Chair, and currently an appointed member, of the World Economic Forum Global Advisory Council on the Future of Government; a Fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration; and a 2014 recipient of the Federal 100 award, honoring the top 100 contributors in Federal information technology.  She served as an appointee to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Governor's Council on Innovation.

Fountain led the nanoscience and society research group on campus;  was principal investigator of the International Dimensions of Ethics in Science and Engineering project (IDEESE) and a co-principal investigator of the Commonwealth Alliance for Information Technology Education (CAITE).  She has served on several advisory bodies and worked with organizations including the Social Science Research Council, the National Science Foundation, the Internet Policy Institute, and the European Commission. She has lectured, given keynote addresses and worked with governments and research institutions including the World Bank, Knowledge Management Asia Pacific, the Policy Studies Association of Japan, the International Semantic Web Conference, and institutions in countries including Japan, Portugal, the Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Nicaragua, Chile, Sweden, Turkey, Estonia, Slovenia and Hungary.


My research interests include institutional and organization theories; institutional change and government reform; digital government; public policy and management; and science, technology and public policy.

Ph.D., Yale University

Courses Taught:
Organization and Institutional Theory; Public Management; Technology, Power and Governance

Current Projects:
National Center for Digital Government, Director Science, Technology and Society Initiative, Director World Economic Forum, Global Agenda Council on the Future of Government, member (former Chair and Vice Chair)

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