Karen Kurotsuchi Inkelas


Karen was appointed as the sixth Principal of Hereford Residential College in August 2018. She is also an Associate Professor in the Higher Education Program in the Curry School of Education; Research Director of Crafting Success for Underrepresented Scientists and Engineers, which seeks to reduce the achievement gap in STEM fields for students from marginalized groups; and she serves as Research Director of Undergraduate Initiatives with the Contemplative Sciences Center, for which she studies the contributions of mindfulness activities toward student success.

Read Karen’s Principal’s Blog here.

Karen earned a B.A. in International and Asian Studies, as well as an M.S.Ed. in Higher Education Administration from Northwestern University, and her PhD from the Center for the Study of Higher & Postsecondary Education at the University of Michigan.

Karen has had a longstanding interest in studying how college environments affect undergraduate students. In particular, her scholarship focuses on the impact of college on undergraduate students, and she is best known for her research on living-learning communities. She is the founding Principal Investigator of the National Study of Living-Learning Programs, and lead author of the book, Living-Learning Programs that Work: A Research-Based Model for Design, Delivery, and Assessment. Her work has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the Teagle Foundation, the Alcoa Foundation, the International Baccalaureate Organization, and the Jefferson Trust. She has been invited to speak as part of a World Bank-funded workshop with Cambodian higher education, a proceeding with the Japanese Ministry of Education, and keynotes at international conferences at the National University of Singapore and Sungkyunkwan University in Seoul, South Korea.

Karen also consults with national architectural firms regarding building designs that facilitate living and learning, and she often speaks on best practices in living-learning communities and residential colleges. She recently keynoted the 2018 ACUHO-I Academic Initiatives Conference, and will open the Residential College Symposium in 2019.

Outside of work, Karen is proud of her Chicago hometown roots, especially her lifelong loyalty to her beloved Chicago Cubs. She also loves to travel, cook, and watch movies with her husband, Dan, their daughter, Sonya, and their dog, Hamachi, and two cats, Rascal and Serena.

+ A message from Karen Kurotsuchi Inkelas

Greetings and welcome to Hereford! We have a one-of-a-kind community here on Grounds, starting with our beautiful surroundings. Nowhere else on Grounds can you find a natural setting like Hereford boasts: we’re nestled in the woods with multiple nature trails and one of the most stunning views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Every day, when I step outside my home at the Vaughan House, I see the vista of Hereford’s Lawn with the mountains rising behind it, and I am reminded of how fortunate I am to live here.

We also have a wonderful community of diverse students, with nearly two-thirds being students of color. We have a large group of international students as well, representing 20 different countries. What’s really unique about Hereford is that among our 200+ students, we are almost evenly comprised of first, second, third, and fourth year students. So, first year students can mix and mingle with returning students, who are enrolled in all 7 UVA undergraduate schools and colleges in over 50 different majors.

Here at Hereford, we offer a rich array of academic and social programs, which include the involvement of our Fellows, who are faculty and leaders from around UVA and the Charlottesville community. We also like to get away from Grounds from time-to-time to explore our surrounds, whether it be a sunrise hike on Humpback Rocks, a mindfulness retreat, or even a week-long study abroad in China over spring break.

Come join us and learn more about what makes Hereford so special. My family, including 2 humans (my husband and daughter), 2 cats, and 1 dog, and I are proud to live side-by-side with our incredible students. Spend one day at Hereford and I’m sure you’ll begin to see why.