Cora Marrett has been appointed acting deputy director of the U.S. National Science Foundation, effective 18 January. She replaces Kathie Olsen, who has been reassigned to work in the Office of Information and Resource Management as a senior adviser. As a political appointee, Olsen had submitted her resignation to the outgoing Bush Administration and would have had to leave her post by 20 January. The move keeps her at NSF.
NSF Director Arden Bement announced the job changes today in separate staff memos. He praised Marrett's "willingness to take on such an important leadership role" and said that Olsen would help improve NSF-wide management practices "in areas such as strengthening merit review and interdisciplinary research processes, workforce planning, Program Officer training and development, and succession planning."
Marrett has been head of the education and human resources directorate since February 2007, her second executive management stint at NSF. Trained as a sociologist, she came to NSF from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, where she was a senior vice president for academic affairs. Her appointment takes effect on Sunday.
Olsen has been deputy director since August 2005, coming from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, where she had been associate director and deputy director for science. She joined NSF in 1984 and went to work for NASA in 1997, where she served as chief scientist and later acting associate administrator for biological and physical research.
From Marrett's NSF bio:
Dr. Marrett has served as the Assistant Director for Education and Human Resources (EHR) at NSF since February 2007. During her tenure, she has led NSF's mission to achieve excellence in U.S. science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education at all levels and in both formal and informal settings. Dr. Marrett also served as the first Assistant Director for NSF's Directorate for Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences (SBE) from 1992 - 1996.
Prior to returning to NSF in 2007, Dr. Marrett served as the University of Wisconsin's senior vice president for academic affairs for six years. Before that, Dr. Marrett served as senior vice chancellor for academic affairs and provost at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst for four years.
Dr. Marrett holds a B.A. degree from Virginia Union University, and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from UW-Madison, all in sociology. She received an honorary doctorate from Wake Forest University in 1996, and was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1998 and the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1996.