Ken O'Donnell, California State University, Dominguez Hills
Ken O’Donnell is the Associate Vice President of Success Program Integration and Assessment at California State University, Dominguez Hills.
The CSU is the world’s largest public system of four-year universities, enrolling over 400,000 students on 23 campuses around the state. Situated between the open-enrollment community colleges and the selective UC system of research universities, the CSU is the state’s engine of economic growth and upward mobility, making high-quality education affordable and accessible. Many of its students are underrepresented minorities, economically disadvantaged, or the first in their families to attend college. 60% of each graduating class transfers in from somewhere else.
The Dominguez Hills campus is the system’s most diverse, and in recent years has seen dramatic gains in four- and six-year graduation rates, equitably matched across socioeconomic and ethnic groups. In this context Ken works on undergraduate curriculum and student success programming, with a focus on student engagement and success. Ken earlier work at the system level was recognized in the 2013 AAC&U publication Bringing High Impact Practices to Scale, which he co-wrote with George Kuh. Since then the CSU has continued to lead national efforts to define, track, and assess the impact of engaging educational strategies like learning communities, service learning, peer mentoring, supplemental instruction, and undergraduate research, bringing them to more of the students who most stand to benefit.
Ken 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.
For ten years before coming to the CSU Ken was a member of the screenwriting faculty and an assistant dean at the film school at Chapman University. He and his wife Cyndi live in Southern California.