Home » NKU professor to serve as program director for National Science Foundation

NKU professor to serve as program director for National Science Foundation

Term runs through July 27, 2015

HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. (July 31, 2014) — Northern Kentucky University professor of mathematics education TJ Murphy began a term as a program director for the National Science Foundation this week in a first-of-its-kind appointment for NKU.

Murphy is working in the Division of Undergraduate Education in the Directorate for Education and Human Resources at the National Science Foundation in Arlington, Va. Her term will run through July 27, 2015.

TJ Murphy
TJ Murphy

She is still settling in and finding out what her job will be.

“I’m looking forward to finding out,” Murphy said. “My impression is that I will also be a contact point for people who have questions about funding, either current or potential. I will be involved in making the final decisions about which grants get awarded, with considerable input from the expert reviewers. It also appears that sometimes the rotators are involved in conversations about future directions for the division and/or directorate.”

She said she hopes to contribute in whatever ways she can while she’s in Virginia. “I’m looking forward to being involved in conversations and programs that are intended to have national impact,” Murphy said. “I also wanted to pave a path for others at NKU to be involved with NSF. We have such amazing faculty at NKU and I know that they would also be great as rotators at NSF. I’m hoping that over the next decade, a number of faculty from NKU will consider pursuing appointments like this and I will have first-hand experience to share.”

Murphy will return with a better understanding of the NSF grant processes and hopes to be able to help others here pursue funding for their ideas.

“One of the goals of the rotator programs is to have a cadre of people who can go back to their home institutions and be a resource for their colleagues, to help take some of the mystery out of the NSF grant proposal process,” Murphy said. “Sometimes people have really great ideas, but don’t know enough about the processes at the funding agencies to be able to package the ideas in the most compelling ways. I learned a lot as a reviewer for NSF all these years and I’m looking forward to developing a deeper understanding and, hopefully, being a stronger resource for people who want to pursue funding for their ideas.”

Murphy’s appointment and her eye toward the future are matched by her departments and by NKU.

“In short,” she said, “I think that what this appointment says about the Department of Mathematics & Statistics, the Kentucky Center for Mathematics, and NKU in general is that, even in challenging times, people look to the promise the future offers, support each other as much as possible in watching for and pursuing opportunities, and look forward to the learning and growth that can occur as a result.”