Ann McKenna named 2019 ASEE Fellow for achievements in engineering education

Ann McKenna

Arizona State University professor and The Polytechnic School Director Ann McKenna stands in the Innovation Hub located at the Arizona State University Polytechnic campus. She is one of nine American Society for Engineering Education Fellows named in 2019. Her extensive achievements in advancing engineering education efforts were recognized with this honor.


Arizona State University Professor and Vice Dean of Strategic Advancement Ann McKenna was named one of nine American Society for Engineering Education Fellows in 2019.

This distinction is bestowed by the ASEE board of directors upon active members who demonstrate outstanding contributions to engineering education. To be eligible, nominees must have 10 years of ASEE membership and be among the top 0.1% of the nonprofit organization’s more than 12,000 members.

“Our ability to effectively leverage our faculty’s scholarship in engineering education to drive innovations in pedagogy and prepare the next generation of engineers and technologists has never been greater,” said Kyle Squires, dean of the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at ASU. “This is happening for many reasons and one of the most important is the leaders in this field driving the agenda not only through their ideas and innovations but also their ability to connect ideas to practice. Ann is distinguished in this regard as both leader and scholar, and this honor is well deserved.”

McKenna has been an ASEE member since 1996. In that time, she has earned two ASEE best overall paper awards and received the outstanding paper award from the IEEE/ASEE Frontiers in Education conference. Her work in design education has been recognized in three consecutive years in the Design in Engineering Education Division of ASEE. She has also received the best teaching paper and the best research paper in the Entrepreneurship and Engineering Innovation Division of ASEE.

As director of The Polytechnic School, one of the six Fulton Schools, since 2014, McKenna oversees initiatives to improve how the next generation of engineers is taught through the school’s engineering education systems and design doctoral program among others. She also collaborates with faculty to create opportunities for students to get hands-on education through industry partnerships in programs such as Innovation Showcase.

McKenna’s research focuses on understanding the impact and diffusion of education initiatives, engineering faculty mentorship, the role of adaptive expertise in design and innovation and entrepreneurial thinking in engineering education and research.

She is particularly interested in how to scale and sustain educational innovations to help tell the story of impact. She was a co-investigator and instructor for the first I-Corps for Learning project, which fosters an entrepreneurial mindset in the education community to design and implement novel and effective teaching strategies, technologies and curriculum materials.

McKenna’s interest in fostering engineering education goes well beyond ASU and university students. She is a co-investigator in the Education for US All, or E4USA, a first-of-its-kind pre-college engineering course pilot program to develop the first standardized course in engineering for U.S. high schools. ASU is one of three universities in the $4 million National Science Foundation project to evaluate the proposed curriculum and student and teacher learning. McKenna says ASU will leverage its strengths in online offerings to increase high schoolers’ access to engineering undergraduate courses.

“It is an honor to be selected as a Fellow of ASEE,” McKenna said. “I am grateful for the mentorship I have received by many valued colleagues over the years. Their support and guidance has enabled tremendous opportunity and I hope to pass along the same to others within the Fulton Schools and the broader engineering education community.”

McKenna joins four ASEE Fellows from Arizona State University: Professor Lakshmi Munukutla (2008), Professor Emeritus Mary R. Anderson-Rowland (2001), Professor Emeritus Albert L. McHenry (2001) and George C. Beakley (1984), former ASU associate dean and director of engineering science who died in 1998.

More Science and technology


Graphic illustration of daphnia, a form of zooplankton.

Study challenges traditional views of evolution

In new research, Arizona State University scientists and their colleagues investigated genetic changes occurring in a naturally…

A studio portrait of Kyle Jensen, wearing a white shirt on a dark background lit with orange lighting

Understanding how our perception of AI affects its use

Editor's note: This expert Q&A is part of our “AI is everywhere ... now what?” special project exploring the potential (and…

A magicians hat and wand on a flat maroon background

Demystifying AI in higher education

Editor's note: This expert Q&A is part of our “AI is everywhere ... now what?” special project exploring the potential (and…