Skip to Content
Ann McKenna

Ann McKenna

School Director and Professor, The Polytechnic School, Ira A. A Fulton Schools of Engineering


The Polytechnic School
Arizona State University, Polytechnic
6049 S. Backus Mall
Mesa, AZ 85212


  • School Director and Professor, The Polytechnic School, Ira A. A Fulton Schools of Engineering


Prior to joining Arizona State University she served as a program director at the National Science Foundation in the Division of Undergraduate Education, and was on the faculty in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Segal Design Institute at Northwestern University. McKenna received her BS and MS degrees in mechanical engineering from Drexel University and her PhD from the University of California-Berkeley.

McKenna is active in her professional community and is currently serving as a Senior Associate Editor for the Journal of Engineering Education, the leading research journal in the field of engineering education. She recently completed a two-year term (2011-2013) as a Director of the Educational Research and Methods (ERM) Division of the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE). She was a member of the Advisory Board for the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) Frontiers of Engineering Education Symposium (2011-2013), as well as a Panel Member for Canada’s Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council’s (NSERC) Chairs in Design Engineering (CDE) program (2011-2014).

McKenna’s research focuses on understanding the cognitive and social processes of design, design teaching and learning, the role of adaptive expertise in design and innovation, the impact and diffusion of education innovations, and teaching approaches of engineering faculty.

She has twice been the recipient of the ASEE best overall paper award (1998 and 2011), as well as the recipient of the outstanding paper award from the IEEE/ASEE Frontiers in Education (FIE) conference (1997). Her work in the area of design education has been nationally recognized by being a best paper finalist for three consecutive years, 2009, 2010, and 2011 in the Design in Engineering Education Division of ASEE (winning the award in 2011). McKenna works across the disciplinary lines of engineering, education and design and has published in diverse disciplinary venues including Science, the Journal of Engineering Education, IEEE Computer, ASME Journal of Mechanical Design, and Teaching in Higher Education.


  • PhD, University of California-Berkeley
  • MS, Mechanical Engineering, Drexel University
  • BS, Mechanical Engineering, Drexel University