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AAC&U Announces Appointment of Kelly Mack as Incoming Executive Director of Project Kaleidoscope

December 13, 2012


Washington, DC - July 10, 2012 - The Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) announced today the appointment of Dr. Kelly Mack as Executive Director of Project Kaleidoscope (PKAL). Mack already is working with AAC&U as a Senior Scholar and will begin her tenure as Executive Director on September 17, 2012.  Dr. Mack has been engaged with AAC&U’s ongoing Institute on Integrative Learning and the Departments.

Dr. Mack currently holds the position of Professor of Biology at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES) and since 2008 has been on loan from that institution serving as a Program Director for the National Science Foundation (NSF) ADVANCE Program, which focuses on the advancement of women in the academic science and engineering disciplines.  In that role, Dr. Mack has been instrumental in leading institutions toward organizational transformation that is gender equitable.

“The board and I are delighted that Kelly has agreed to serve PKAL as its next Executive Director,” said PKAL Advisory Board Chair Alison Morrison-Shetlar, Dean of Elon College, the College of Arts and Sciences at Elon University. “Kelly brings a wealth of experience in STEM education and support of faculty and institutional leadership development. She has an enthusiasm for the mission of Project Kaleidoscope to be one of the leading advocates for building and sustaining strong undergraduate programs in STEM.  She will have the full support of the PKAL/AAC&U community of faculty and institutions as we continue to shape undergraduate STEM learning environments that attract and retain undergraduate students. The advisory board and I look forward to working closely with Kelly as she transitions into her new position.”

As PKAL Executive Director, Dr. Mack will continue the path set by current Executive Director Susan Elrod to fully integrate the work of PKAL and its many networks of science faculty and academic leaders into the heart of AAC&U’s strategic priorities and continuing programs while also developing new initiatives to advance PKAL’s strategic goals to “significantly enhance the capacity of America’s two- and four-year colleges and universities to graduate more highly qualified and liberally educated STEM professionals, including K-16 educators, and to promote a higher level of scientific literacy and reasoning among all colleges graduates, with particular attention to broadening participation of underrepresented groups in STEM.”

“While we will miss outgoing Executive Director Susan Elrod’s leadership as she returns to campus life, we were extremely fortunate to have a perfect successor to Susan already working closely with us to advance our goals for science education reform,” said AAC&U President Carol Geary Schneider.  “Kelly Mack brings to this new position an impressive range of leadership skills as well as a true passion for helping STEM students and faculty members excel.”

While at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Dr. Mack served in many capacities, including as Biology Program Director, where she was responsible for providing leadership and strategic vision for the intellectual, educational, and professional development of biology majors and for the coordination of faculty in providing quality instruction, research, and development activities. She also led several externally funded projects, including that institution’s ADVANCE Program, which focused on issues related to African American women faculty in the STEM disciplines.

In addition to her administrative and research activities, Mack has a long history of leadership for the education of undergraduate students, including those from underrepresented groups.  She served as Director of Research Training at the Howard University Graduate School, focusing on the development of a university-wide undergraduate research program, with a particular focus on increasing the number of undergraduate students pursuing doctoral degrees in STEM fields.  She recently completed a six-year term as a member of the Board of Governors for the National Conferences on Undergraduate Research, and is currently a member of the National Institutes of Health Review Subcommittee for the Training and Workforce Development (TWD) division of the National Institute of General Medical Sciences.

Dr. Mack received her Bachelor of Science degree from the UMES in Biology and her Ph.D. in Physiology from Howard University.  She has extensive training and experience in the area of cancer research with her research efforts focused primarily on the use of novel antitumor agents in human estrogen receptor negative breast tumor cells.

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 1,250 member institutions—including accredited public and private colleges, community colleges, and 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 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

About PKAL

Since its founding in 1989, Project Kaleidoscope (PKAL) has been one of the leading advocates in the United States for building and sustaining strong undergraduate programs in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). With an extensive network of nearly 7,000 faculty members and administrators at over 1,000 colleges, universities and organizations, PKAL has developed far-reaching influence in shaping undergraduate STEM learning environments that attract and retain undergraduate students.

PKAL accomplishes its work by engaging campus faculty and leaders in funded projects, national and regional meetings, community-building activities, leadership development programs, and publications that are focused on advancing what works in STEM education. PKAL is now an ongoing unit within the Association of American Colleges and Universities. For more information on PKAL, see:  

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