homeprev issuesexecpublic affairsstaffasa home

NSF Education and Human Resources to Be Headed by Marrett

Cora B. Marrett, senior vice president for academic affairs at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and long-time ASA member, has been appointed Assistant Director of the National Science Foundation (NSF) Directorate for Education and Human Resources (EHR), making her one of seven directorate heads. She assumes her position February 1, 2007, where she will lead NSF’s mission to achieve excellence in U.S. science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education at all levels.

No stranger to the NSF, Marrett also served as the first Assistant Director of the NSF Directorate for Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences (SBE) in 1992-96. For her leadership in developing new research programs and articulating the scientific projects of the directorate, she received the NSF Distinguished Service Award. In 2005 she added the Erich Bloch Distinguished Service Award from the Quality Education for Minorities Network to her award roster. The award is given annually to an individual who has made singular contributions to the advancement of science and to the participation of groups underrepresented in STEM fields.

“We’re thrilled to have Dr. Marrett join us at NSF again at this critical time in our agency’s mission,” said NSF Director Arden Bement in the NSF announcement. “Leadership in STEM education at NSF is immensely important, and the agency is fortunate to have a professional such as Dr. Marrett leading EHR.”

ASA Executive Officer, Sally Hillsman, enthusiastically welcomed Marrett to her NSF leadership role. “It was a significant ‘coup’ for NSF to bring Cora Marrett to head the EHR Directorate. This is an important time for scientific research to contribute to strengthening American education, and Cora is the right person to accomplish this vital mission.”

In her NSF role, Marrett will continue EHR’s mission to support the development of a diverse and well-prepared workforce of scientists, technicians, engineers, mathematicians and educators and a well-informed citizenry that has access to the ideas and tools of science and engineering. The purpose of these activities is to enhance the quality of life of all citizens and the health, prosperity, welfare and security of the nation.

Marrett’s position at NSF will be in conjunction with the University of Wisconsin’s (UW) Department of Sociology, where she will remain a tenured faculty member. She has served UW in her current position for the last six years. From 1974-97, she was a faculty member in two departments—Sociology and Afro-American Studies—where she advanced from associate professor to full professor and was chair of the sociology department in between (1988-91). During that time she also was affiliated with the Wisconsin Center for Educational Research. In between her faculty and academic affairs positions at UW, she served as the senior vice chancellor for academic affairs and provost at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst for four years.

In addition to her UW and NSF roles, Marrett has served as director of two programs for the United Negro College Fund (1990-92), was a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences (1976-77), an assistant professor at the University of North Carolina (1968- 69), assistant and associate professor of sociology at Western Michigan University (1969-74), and a senior policy fellow at the National Academy of Sciences (1973-74).

In ASA, Marrett has served as a former Vice President (1998), Council member (1997-99), and as a member of the Rose Series Editorial Board (2001-03). She was also elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1998 and the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1996. She is widely published in the field of sociology, and has held many public and professional service positions.