About Us

Learn more about the PEARL Research team and collaborators.

Research Team

  • Jessica Chittum

    Jessica Chittum, PhD

    Director of Assessment and Pedagogical Innovation in the Office of Curricular and Pedagogical Innovation, AAC&U

    Jessica has served as an Associate Editor of the International Journal of ePortfolio (an AAC&U publication) since 2012 and is Project Lead for this open-access ePortfolio research archive, PEARL ( She completed a PhD in Educational Psychology at Virginia Tech as well as a BS in Elementary Education (with an ESOL endorsement) and an MA in Exceptional Student Education from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg. Prior to AAC&U, Jessica was a special education teacher in a self-contained middle grades classroom and a 5th-grade teacher in an inclusive classroom in Florida, was an Assistant Professor of Elementary Education and Middle Grades Education at East Carolina University, and worked as Senior Scholar at Digication. Her research interests involve ePortfolio, the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, and academic motivation (particularly in STEM fields, rural contexts, and higher education). Jessica enjoys spending time with her family (read: chasing her toddler around the house), hiking, yoga, and diving into a good book.

  • Hannah Schneider

    Hannah Schneider

    Program Coordinator, Office of Curricular and Pedagogical Innovation, AAC&U

    After completing her bachelor’s degree in philosophy at Roanoke College, she started working at AAC&U. Hannah had her own ePortfolio all four years of college and is passionate about continuing ePortfolio research. She started her master’s degree in Learning, Design, and Technology at Georgetown University in the fall of 2021. Hannah lives in Washington, DC and enjoys running, bluegrass music, and hiking in the Blue Ridge.

  • Jacquelyn McCarthy Woodyard

    Jacquelyn McCarthy Woodyard, PhD

    Jackie earned her PhD in Curriculum and Instruction: Instructional Design and Technology at Virginia Tech. Her research interests include instructional design, language instruction, autonomous learning, and cultural preferences in relation to choice in the classroom and beliefs regarding education. Her dissertation research was titled “Autonomy Supportive Instruction as it relates to Students’ Motivational Beliefs on an ePortfolio Project: The Moderating Role of Culturally Based Learning Preferences.” Jackie also holds a BS in Human Development-Early Childhood Education, a BA in Spanish, and an MAEd in Curriculum and Instruction with endorsements in PreK-12 Spanish and ESOL education. Before returning to Virginia Tech to pursue a doctoral degree, Jackie taught middle and high-school Spanish and ESOL in Virginia public schools for 5 years. Jackie enjoys spending time with her husband, children, and their Weimaraners.


  • Kate Drezek McConnell

    Vice President for Curricular and Pedagogical Innovation and Executive Director of VALUE
  • C. Edward Watson

    Associate Vice President for Curricular and Pedagogical Innovation and Executive Director for Open Educational Resources and Digital Innovation
  • Lauren Bryant

    Assistant Director of Assessment and Evaluation in the Office of Academic Decision Support at Virginia Tech