Alison C. Koenka, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Foundations of Education

Alison C. Koenka, Ph.D.


  • Ph.D. in developmental psychology, Duke University
  • B.A. in honors psychology, McGill University

Research interests

Motivational consequences of academic feedback, academic motivation in understudied and underrepresented students, developing methodological guidelines in educational and psychological research

Career highlights

  • Distinguished Junior Faculty Award, Virginia Commonwealth University, School of Education (2020-2021)
  • William T. Grant Foundation Officers’ Research Grant (2020-2021: Principal Investigator; $49,625)
  • American Psychological Association Division 15 Early Career Research Grant (2019)
  • National Study of Learning Mindsets Early Career Fellowship (2018)
  • American Psychological Association Division 15 Paul R. Pintrich Outstanding Dissertation Award (2017)

Recent publications/projects


Dr. Alison C. Koenka’s primary line of research focuses on academic motivation, especially during secondary school and college and in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines. In particular, she explores (a) the motivational consequences of academic feedback and (b) academic motivation in understudied and underrepresented student populations. She adopts a variety of methodological approaches to pursue this research, including school-based experimental methods, secondary data analysis, and meta-analysis. Through an additional line of work, she develops accessible guidelines for applying innovative quantitative methods to psychological and educational research.

Koenka teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in human development, educational psychology, and research methods.

Curriculum Vitae

(804) 828-3738 [main number for Department of Foundations of Education]