Ken O’Donnell
Senior Director, Student Engagement

Higher Ed

  • Assessment
  • College graduation rates
  • Curriculum
  • Liberal education
  • Public universities
  • State policy

Ken O’Donnell is the senior director of student engagement and academic initiatives and partnerships in the Office of the Chancellor of the California State University. CSU is the world’s largest public system of four-year universities, enrolling over 400,000 students on 23 campuses around the state. O’Donnell works on statewide curriculum, with a focus on student engagement and success. He oversees offices and projects to strengthen STEM education, community engagement, transfer and articulation, and general education — all toward improving learning and persistence and closing achievement gaps. His department’s work was recognized in the 2013 Association of American Colleges & Universities’ publication “Bringing High Impact Practices to Scale,” which he co-wrote with George Kuh. O’Donnell has addressed numerous conferences and workshops around the country on the intersections between deep learning and student success, the benefits of locating college learning in real-world contexts, and the role of public state systems in educational reform. Previously, O’Donnell was a member of the screenwriting faculty and an assistant dean at the film school at Chapman University.