University of Maine at Farmington President Kathryn A. Foster – Biography

Dr. Kathryn A. (Kate) Foster became the 14th president of the University of Maine at Farmington (UMF) in 2012. A scholar-educator with thirty years of experience in public higher education and regional policy and practice, President Foster came to UMF from a position as Visiting Fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington D.C., where she was on research leave from the State University of New York at Buffalo, her academic home from 1993 to 2012. President Foster earned her B.A. in geography from the Johns Hopkins University, her M.C.P. (city planning) from the University of California, Berkeley, and her Ph.D. in public and international affairs from Princeton University.

At the State University of New York, President Foster was Director of the University at Buffalo Regional Institute, an award-winning research and policy unit informing regional issues. Prior to assuming the directorship in 2005, she served as Chair of the University at Buffalo Department of Urban and Regional Planning, where as a faculty member she taught graduate, undergraduate, and honors courses. Earlier in her career, Foster was a lecturer at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, served as a regional planner in the U.S. Peace Corps in Swaziland, and, in 2000-2001, as Visiting Fellow at the Taubman Center for State and Local Government at Harvard University.

Foster is the author of The Political Economy of Special-Purpose Government (1997), Regionalism on Purpose (2001), and numerous book chapters, articles, and policy reports. She participated actively on several New York State task forces, including the New York State Commission on Local Government Efficiency and Competitiveness, and was selected by Business First in 2007 as its Woman of Influence in Public Policy. From 2006 until its conclusion in 2013, Foster was Associate Director and Co-PI for the MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Building Resilient Regions.

Under President Foster’s leadership, UMF received a full ten-year accreditation from the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, created a Division of University Advancement, celebrated a yearlong calendar of events for UMF’s 150th anniversary, expanded university governance, energized the university’s Board of Visitors, and renewed attention to campus facilities and processes. President Foster helped develop the University of Maine System’s first allocation model for outcomes-based funding. She works closely with the University of Maine System Chancellor, fellow Presidents, and Trustees to chart strategic directions for the higher education system. At home in Farmington, Maine, Foster serves on the board of the Greater Franklin Development Corporation.