Ann F. McKenna is a professor and director of the Polytechnic School in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at Arizona State University (ASU). Prior to joining ASU, 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 bachelor's and master's degrees in mechanical engineering from Drexel University and doctorate from the University of California at Berkeley.
Professor McKenna recently served as a senior associate editor for the Journal of Engineering Education (2012-2015), 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.