Dr. Jesse Senechal named interim director of MERC
Dr. Jesse Senechal

Dr. Jesse Senechal

Dr. Jesse Senechal has been named the interim director of the Metropolitan Educational Research Consortium, the VCU School of Education announced Wednesday.

Senechal, who received his Ph.D. in educational research and evaluation from the School of Education, has served as MERC's associate director since 2012.

“For several years, Dr. Senechal has contributed significantly to MERC activities, research and evaluations, and now he will lead efforts to revise MERC's mission and set the foundation for next steps,” Dr. James McMillan, interim associate dean for academic affairs, said. “I'm confident his leadership will be outstanding, and know that he is ready to work with any and all to enhance MERC's community-engaged research projects.”

A partnership between the VCU School of Education and seven Richmond-area public school systems for more than 20 years, MERC conducts applied research and evaluations. Faculty and doctoral students within the university work closely with local teachers, counselors and administrators to improve teaching and learning by evaluating existing programs, providing professional development opportunities, and through the development and dissemination of practice-driven research.

Senechal’s recent duties for MERC included serving as program chair for the consortium’s annual conference (“Making Research Matter: Rethinking the Form and Function of Educational Research In Our Schools.”) The conference brought together more than 80 educators and administrators from across the state to share ideas on how to make educational research more meaningful to policy and practice.

Senechal takes over the consortium's director role from Dr. James McMillan, who has stepped down to focus on his leadership duties within the School of Education administration.