For Immediate Release

David Tritelli
Vice President for Communications and Public Affairs

AAC&U Announces Appointment of Dr. Kathryne (Kate) McConnell as New Senior Director for Research and Assessment

Aug 6, 2015

Washington, DC—The Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) announced today the appointment of Dr. Kate McConnell as the new Senior Director for Research and Assessment.  McConnell will begin this position on Monday, August 31, after serving in several capacities at Virginia Tech, including most recently as its inaugural Director of Assessment in the Office of the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Academic Affairs.  Prior to her work at Virginia Tech, she served as the Director of Planning and Institutional Research at Stonehill College.  McConnell will work in AAC&U’s Office of Quality, Curriculum, and Assessment overseeing various projects and serving as co-director of AAC&U’s longstanding Institute on General Education and Assessment.

McConnell will provide proactive intellectual and practical leadership for AAC&U’s work on assessment for student liberal learning and research on student success.  McConnell will also work on the growing family of projects that are part of AAC&U’s Valid Assessment of Learning in Undergraduate Education (VALUE) initiative.

“I am very pleased to welcome Kate McConnell as AAC&U’s Senior Director for Research and Assessment,” said AAC&U President Carol Geary Schneider. “Kate has been a leader in advancing meaningful forms of assessment, including using AAC&U’s own VALUE approach to assessment.  She brings to AAC&U a wealth of campus-based experience in helping faculty members from across departments and divisions come together to use assessment as a valuable tool for improving student learning.”

With a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from Virginia Tech and an M.A. in History from Providence College, McConnell brings to her new position at AAC&U extensive experience in assessment and evaluation, including working with college faculty to use assessment findings to improve learning and increase the effectiveness of academic and advising programs, first-year experiences, and general education courses and programs.  She has additional experience working on Virginia Tech’s Quality Enhancement Plan and has experience with the evaluation of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education projects funded by the National Science Foundation, including serving as co-PI for an NSF STEP grant.  She has served as president of the statewide Virginia Assessment Group and has been a leader in Virginia’s LEAP State activities.

“I am incredibly excited to have the opportunity to contribute directly to an organization that has done so much to shape my own professional development, from my earlier work with the VALUE initiative to the LEAP States initiative in Virginia,” said Dr. Kate McConnell.  “AAC&U has played a seminal role in promoting an authentic and ultimately optimistic approach to assessment—an approach that privileges the learning that takes place when faculty and students are allowed to be their most creative selves. Having seen the impact of this approach on campus, I am honored to join AAC&U and to help shape and implement its vision for liberal education.”

About AAC&U

AAC&U is the leading national association concerned with the quality, vitality, and public standing of undergraduate liberal education. Its members are committed to extending the advantages of a liberal education to all students, regardless of academic specialization or intended career. Founded in 1915, AAC&U now comprises more than 1,300 member institutions—including accredited public and private colleges, community colleges, research universities, and comprehensive universities of every type and size.

AAC&U functions as a catalyst and facilitator, forging links among presidents, administrators, and faculty members who are engaged in institutional and curricular planning. Its mission is to reinforce the collective commitment to liberal education and inclusive excellence at both the national and local levels, and to help individual institutions keep the quality of student learning at the core of their work as they evolve to meet new economic and social challenges.

Information about AAC&U membership, programs, and publications can be found at