Martha McKenna

University Professor, Professor Emerita

Martha McKenna

Martha Barry McKenna is University Professor and Professor Emerita. She has been director of Lesley University's Creativity Commons, where she provided creative leadership in the arts and innovation in teaching and learning across the university. She has also been director of the Graduate School of Education's Center for Advanced Professional Studies (CAPS).

Previously, she held the post of Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs, Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Social Sciences, Dean of the Division of Liberal Studies and Adult Learning, and Director of the Adult Baccalaureate Program. She began her career as a high school teacher of music and the arts.

A Fulbright Scholar Specialist, Martha served as a Visiting Scholar at the American University of Paris. She sits on various boards and committees of organizations that include the Arts Education Partnership, Boston Public Schools Arts Expansion Initiative, Arts/Learning, VSA of Massachusetts, the Worcester Art Museum and Cambridge Community Foundation. In fall of 2018, she was appointed by the Cambridge Mayor's Office to the Mayor's Arts Task Force


BA, Music History and Theory, Emmanuel College
Music History and Voice, Royal Academy of Music, London
American and European Art History, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
MA, Vocal Music Education, Ed.M., Administration and Supervision of Music and the Arts;
Ed.D., Music, the Arts, and Humanities, Teachers College Columbia University, New York.

Selected Publications

  • Preparing Educators for Arts Integration: Placing Creativity at the Center of Learning (with Gene Diaz). New York: Teachers College Press, 2017.
  • "Narrative Inquiry as an Approach for Aesthetic Experience: Life Stories in Perceiving and Responding to Works of Art." In Journal of Aesthetic Education, Winter Edition (2015) pp.87-104.
  • The Footbook: Steps to Developing Numbersense in Young Children with Art Bardige, et al. Cambridge: Lesley University, 2015.
  • "Teaching and Learning in Museums: Partnerships of Museum and School Educators." In Museum Education in the Perspective of Cultural Education. Proceedings of the Yeongwol International Museum Forum, Korea, 2013 (7-24).        
  • “Adult Learning Theory in Practice” in A Century of Innovation: Lesley University Michele Forinash & Cynthia Brown, eds. Maryland: Publish America, 2011.
  • “Creative Process as Pedagogy” in Proceedings of the International Association for Education through Art 33rd World Congress, Budapest: Hungarian Art Teachers’ Association, June 2011.
  • “Ever My Teacher” in Dear Maxine: Letters from the Unfinished Conversation, Robert Lake, ed. NYC: Teachers College Press, 2010 (102-104)
  • “Book Review: From Periphery to Center: Art Museum Education in the 21st Century by Pat Villeneuve (Ed.)” in Visitor Studies, Vol 11, No. 2 (2008) pp. 227-230.
  • Working Partnerships: Report of the Task Force on Higher Education. The Arts Education Partnership, Washington, D.C., 2007.
  • “Bridging the Arts in Education Gap: Collaboration and the Role of Partnerships in Arts in Education” in Arts and Learning Review, Winter 2007, Vol 2, Issue 1, p.1-2.
  • Make Way For Ducklings for Orchestra and Narrator: Curriculum Guide (with Siobhan Dennis, et al). Boston: Boston Landmarks Orchestra, 2006.
  • “The Traditions and Cultures of the Southwest: Teaching and Leaning in Sante Fe, New Mexico” (with Sharlene Cochrane) in The Journal of Pedagogy, Pluralism and Practice. Cambridge, Lesley University, Issue 10, Fall 2005.
  • Teaching for Aesthetic Experience: The Art of Learning (with Gene Diaz). New York: Peter Lang Publishing, 2004.

Selected Presentations

  • "STEM + Art = STEAM." Panel Presentation at the Cambridge City STEM Forum, Cambridge, April 2016.
  • "Creativity Commonwealth." Panel Presentation at the American Association of Colleges & Universities Annual Conference, Washington, DC, January 2016.
  • "Sidewalk Math." Presented at Massachusetts STEM Summit, Worcester, MA November 2015.
  • "Sidewalk Math: Developing Numbersense in Young Children." Presented at the National Association of the Education of the Young Child National Conference, Orlando, Florida, November 2015.
  • "The Creativity Commons: Applying the creative process across the university." Presentation at The Creativity Forum, Lesley University, March 2015.
  • "Americans in Paris: Two women and two worlds." Paper presented at the Narrative Matters Conference at the American University of Paris, June 2014.
  • "STEAM in the Community At-large and the Creative Workplace." Panel presentation at the symposium, A Big Conversation About STEAM, at MIT's LIST Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, May 6, 2014.
  • "Americans in Paris: Mary Cassatt and Faith Ringgold." Lecture at the Worcester Art Museum, Worcester, MA, January 5, 2014.
  • "Teaching and Learning in Museums: Partnerships of Museum and School Educators." Keynote presentation at the Yeongwol International Museum Forum, October 21, 2013 in South Korea.
  • "Creative Process as Pedagogy." Keynote presentation for the Korean Society for Culture and Arts Education Studies, October 19th, 2013 in Seoul, Korea.
  • “The Role of the Arts in the Balanced School Program.” Panel Presentation at the Arts/Learning Symposium Igniting Innovation…Creative Leadership & High-Impact Practices, Lesley University, May 2013.
  • “Communities of Practice in Arts Integration.” National Forum of the Arts Education Partnership in Washington, DC, April 2013.
  • “Kennedy to Kent State: Images of a Generation.” Opening Keynote at the Symposium on Photography, Media, and Society: the Sixties and Beyond, Worcester Art Museum, October 2012.
  • “Creativity through the Integration of the Arts and Sciences.” Panel Presentation at the Massachusetts Cultural Council Forum, October 2012.
  • “Narrative Inquiry as an Approach to Aesthetic Experience: Life Stories in Perceiving and Responding to Works of Art.” Paper presented at the Narrative Matters Conference at the American University of Paris, June 2012.
  • “Cambridge Creativity Commons: A Community Partnership for the Benefit of the City’s Children” Presentation for the Boston Center for the Arts, April 2012.

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