Current CV

A firm believer in the value of education, and in particular higher education, I am devoted to lifelong learning and promoting pedagogy and reflexive practice. Previous experience and relentless pursuit of knowledge in a variety of fields has honed my skills as an organizer, communicator, and collaborator. I am fluently bilingual, and comfortable working in both English and French.


Ph.D. Candidate, McGill University, 2015-2018 (ABD)

  • Research areas: assessment and feedback; institutional evaluation and accountability; policy and pedagogy; methodology; peer writing and collaboration
  • Dissertation: autoethnographic study of developing teacher identity in higher education and its implications for assessment practices [method includes interactive interview and narrative] supervisor Dr. Lisa J. Starr

Master of Education, Université de Sherbrooke, Quebec 2012

  • Thesis: Consistent Feedback for a Constructivist Pedagogy: A Study of Feedback on Written Assessments in Cégep English Courses; supervisor Dr. Yvon Geoffroy

Master of Arts, English Literature, Concordia University, Montreal, Quebec 1995-2001

Bachelor of Arts, Honours English Literature, Concordia University, 1991-1994

Diplome d’Etudes Collegiales, Social Sciences, Vanier College, Saint-Laurent, 1991

Publications & Presentations

Doody, S., McDonnell, M., Reid, E. M., & Marshall, S. C. (2017). Doctoral Peer Writing Groups as a Means of Promoting Well-Being. Learning Landscapes,10(2).

Ingerman, J., & McDonnell, M. (2017, March 10). Feminism, Intersectionality, and Allyship. Presented at Lightning Talks, International Women’s Week in Vanier College, Saint-Laurent.

McDonnell, M. (2017). Finding Myself in Methodology. Canadian Journal for New Scholars in Education, 8(2).

McDonnell, M. (2017). Feedback, Trust, and Dialogue Journaling in Post-Secondary Education. McGill Journal of Education [submitted for review].

McDonnell, M. (2017, June 22). Enhancing Feedback through Dialogue Journaling. Presented at STLHE 2017 in Dalhousie University, Halifax.

McDonnell, M. (2017, April 11). Teacher Identity in Higher Education. Presented at Global Conference on Education, Research, and Policy, Washington, DC.

McDonnell, M. (2017, March 25). Finding Myself in Methodology. Presented at Outside the Box: Educating to Change in Concordia University, Montreal.

McDonnell, M. (2016). Critical Approaches to the Study of Higher Education: A Practical Introduction [book review]. Canadian Journal of Higher Education,46(1).

McDonnell, M. (2016, October 15). Pedagogical Flexibility: What I learned about the college classroom from the yoga mat. Presented at Artful Inquiry Symposium in McGill University, Montreal.

McDonnell, M. (2016, August 4). The academic F-word: Why is school the last place we feel free to fail?. Presented at Learn Real Good: Real Experts Inspire Real Improv Scenes in Montreal Improv, Montreal.

McDonnell, M. (2016, March 31). Fitness & The Academy. Poster presented at Education Graduate Students’ Society Conference in McGill University, Montreal.

McDonnell, M. (2012). Consistent Feedback for a Constructivist Pedagogy (Unpublished master’s thesis). Université de Sherbrooke.

McDonnell, M. (2012). Frankenstein vs Feminism: Interdisciplinary approaches to Liberal Arts at Vanier College . Presented at Concordia Liberal Arts College Spring Colloquium in Concordia University, Montreal.

McDonnell, M. (2011). Bridging the Curriculum: increasing the integrative approaches to Liberal Arts at Vanier College (Institutional report). Saint Laurent, QC: Vanier College.

McPherson, H., & McDonnell, M. (2017). Articulation between high school science and Cégep science post-reform: Understanding the gap. College Quarterly, 20(1).

Shuman, L., Shabtay, A., McDonnell, M., El Muhammady, F., & Bourassa, N. (2018). Developing a Researcher Identity: Using Commonplace Books as a Reflective Process. The Qualitative Report. [accepted for publication]


Academic Teaching Experience

McGill University, Montreal, 2016-present

  • Course Lecturer, B.Ed. Faculty of Education
    • Teaching Secondary English 1 (EDES 361)
  • Course Lecturer, MATL Program, Faculty of Education
    • Techniques for Assessment (EDTL 604)

Vanier College, Saint Laurent, 2005-present

  • Teacher, Liberal Arts program and English

Cégep à Distance (Cégep de Rosemont) 2010-11

  • Content Expert, Literary Genres distance learning course

Champlain College, Lennoxville, 2002-2005

  • Teacher, Liberal Arts program and English

Riverside School Board, ACCESS Adult Learning, Brossard, 2002

  • Instructor

Concordia University, Montreal, 1999-2001

  • Course Lecturer, Faculty of Arts, English
    • Literature & Composition (ENGL 212)

Institutional Service

The Canadian Journal of Action Research

Book Review Editor

The Canadian Journal of Action Research is a peer-reviewed online journal for educators in elementary, secondary, and post-secondary, as well as academics and researchers interested in the intersection of research and practice. As book review editor, I solicit new manuscripts from academic publishers, recruit reviewers, and edit reviews for three journal editions annually.


Université de Montreal

Host teacher, microprogramme de formation en enseignement postsecondaire

Working closely with one student teacher each semester, I include the intern in planning, teaching, and assessment activities for one course, in fulfillment of the intern’s program requirements. I provide feedback on the intern’s work, and encourage each intern to become progressively more autonomous in the classroom.


Ministère d’Éducation et Enseignement supérieure

Coordinator, English Exit Exam

As head of the working group, I collaborate with the committee to select texts for the provincial English Exit Exam, prepare the exam, update the marking guide, and supervise the marking sessions. As coordinator, I also act as a liaison between the committee and the MEES administrative team, recruit and hire new markers and exam technicians, liaise with the Anglophone colleges, and supervise the three marking sessions for each academic year.


Vanier College

Project leader, Literacy and Communication Across Disciplines

Our team surveyed the college community to find problem areas related to student literacy and communication skills, then worked with the faculty and administration to create an academic policy on assessment of proficiency in the language of instruction, to support student success.

Faculty consultant, Professional Development Office (PDO)

As part of the inaugural PDO team, I work closely with colleagues from the Faculties of Science and General Studies; Social Science, Commerce, Arts and Letters; and Career and Technical Programs, as well as pedagogical specialists, to identify the pedagogy-related needs of our teachers, and to create a series of workshops, online and on-hand resources, and other support tools.

Project leader, Liberal Arts Program Evaluation

Working with the Institutional Development office at Vanier, I am currently surveying current and former teachers and students, as well as college departments, to evaluate the Liberal Arts program, according to MELS guidelines and CEEEQ recommendations.

Project leader, Liberal Arts Student Success Project

As a teacher in the Liberal Arts program, I became aware that some students were having problems with their courses, not because of the content, but because of the academic skills needed to succeed in the program. I proposed the study, then conducted student and faculty surveys to determine areas of the program that needed attention; as a result of these studies, the program has already made some changes in the curriculum. The project report includes several recommendations to improve student success in the program, and a complementary Standing and Advancement policy has been proposed to protect the integrity of the program.


  • Research Ethics Board
  • Academic Council
  • English Curriculum
  • Ped Day/VCC day
  • Grades Review
  • Valedictorian Selection
  • Web Design

Other campus activities

  • Drafted Standing and Advancement policy for the Liberal Arts program
  • Created “Effective E-mail” handout for The Learning Centre
  • Participated in Academic Review Boards


Champlain College (Lennoxville)

Teachers’ Union

  • Actively participated in local union activities
  • Elected secretary for local union (subsequently accepted teaching position at Vanier College, and was thus unable to fulfill mandate)

English Advantage

  • Proposed and implemented a pilot project to assist students making the transition from francophone secondary school to anglophone Cégep.
  • Worked in conjunction with teachers from Humanities, History and Physical Education to create a multidisciplinary curriculum.
  • Maintained an extra-curricular student support program, including social activities and tutorials, to complement the English Advantage program.


Community involvement

Riverview Elementary School                                                                          Verdun

Chairperson, Governing Board                                                                             2008-2010

  • Spearheaded the successful local efforts to maintain and improve school services during the 2009 Lester B. Pearson School Board’s Major School Change initiative. As well as writing the joint brief for Riverview and its sister school Verdun Elementary, I appeared before the LBPSB Commissioners to defend the brief; ultimately, not only were both Riverview and Verdun Elementary kept open, the board agreed to hire a literacy expert to serve the two schools.
  • Created the school’s Peanut and Nut-controlled School policy, based on parent concerns. Worked with the school to prepare documentation for parents, suggesting nutritional alternatives as well as the dangers of peanuts and other allergens to at-risk children.
  • Implemented several changes to fundraising activities and related activities to better reflect the healthy lifestyle philosophy of the school and its governing board. These changes included prohibiting chocolate sales through the school, although the board encouraged fundraising organizations to investigate the feasibility of organic and/or fair-trade alternatives.


Champlain College

Faculty consultant, Amnesty International

  • Worked with students from both Champlain College and Bishop’s University on various projects, including student and faculty production of The Vagina Monologues for International Women’s Week.

Other professional experience

R/D Tech Aero                                                                              Montreal, Quebec

Contract Manager, Technical and Marketing Communications Manager

Saidye Bronfman Centre for the Arts                                    Montreal, Quebec

Director of Communications and Marketing