McDonel named OURS associate director


Radford University’s Office of Undergraduate Research & Scholarship (OURS) has named Jennifer McDonel, Ph.D., as its new associate director.

In this position, McDonel, an associate professor of music and director of music education at Radford, will help carry out the OURS mission of supporting student-faculty research, scholarship and creative inquiry across campus.

Her duties include providing leadership in organizing the Summer Research Celebration, Winter Creative Arts and Research Days and the Student Engagement Forum; delivering undergraduate research, scholarship, and creative inquiry workshops for student and faculty professional development; admissions and recruitment events in support of OURS programs; and evaluating performance data for the office, including looking at markers of inequality and acting on opportunities to advance inclusivity.

“My life’s passion and mission are to propel students to reach their potential through diverse learning and research opportunities,” McDonel said. “I am honored to have been selected for this role, and I am very excited to serve students in new ways through OURS.”

McDonel has provided multiple opportunities for student research and engagement since joining the faculty in 2014. Several students have been co-researchers with her, including a Highlander Research Rookie and a SURF grant recipient. These students studied music education in Nepal and presented results at national and international music education research conferences with McDonel. Students also have presented professional development sessions with McDonel at the International Conference on Music Learning Theory.

McDonel holds a Bachelor of Music Education degree from The Ohio State University, a Master of Arts in Music Education degree from the Eastman School of Music and a Ph.D. from the University at Buffalo. 

The OURS office supports collaborations between students and faculty in order to create and disseminate new knowledge in the form of undergraduate research, scholarship and creative activities. The support, the OURS mission statement says, “empowers students from diverse backgrounds to have transformative educational experiences that cultivate strong relationships, innovation and the creative and critical thinking needed to address the social, economic and environmental issues confronting our region, nation and world.”

“We are excited to have Jennifer serve in this role; she brings a wealth of experience mentoring students on creative inquiry projects and providing professional development to educators,” said OURS Director Joe Wirgau, Ph.D. “She has consistently mentored student presentations both nationally and internationally and is a true advocate for the transformative impact of undergraduate research.”

To find out more about OURS, visit Whitt Hall 111, check the website at or contact

Jan 21, 2022
Chad Osborne
(540) 831-7761