Becky Wai-Ling Packard, Ph.D.

Becky Packard looking to the left in her college's library.

Dr. Packard is an expert on mentoring, persistence, and inclusive practices, where she focuses on the experiences of individuals women, first-generation college students, people of color, low-income students, working students, nontraditional-aged students, and community college transfer students. She studies the transition from high school to college or work, to include pathways in science and technology (STEM) fields, community college transfer, and career and technical education, and the ways institutions organize in order to support thriving.

A multi-racial first-generation college graduate, Packard strives to identify success strategies that turn aspirations into realities.

[download  cv Packard cv Jan 15 2021]

She was recognized by the White House with the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government upon early-career scientists and engineers. Her work has been generously supported by the National Science Foundation, through the CAREER program,  GSE, and DUE. As a Google-funded co-PI, she is recently completed a project focused on expanding capacity in computer science through inclusive peer mentoring. She has published many articles with her undergraduates and a book in her area of expertise.

An educational psychologist by training, Packard serves as a learning and organizational consultant for schools, community organizations, nonprofits, colleges, and businesses. She designs mentoring programs, assesses the infrastructure for mentoring, and conducts workshops to improve the effectiveness, intentionality, and inclusiveness of mentoring, including faculty advisors, department chairs, and mentors in formal programs. She is a trained intergroup dialogue facilitator, has participated in active bystander trainings, and frequently participates in other professional development to improve her own practice.

A full professor with two decades of teaching experience involving community-based partnerships, Packard has taught statistics, educational psychology, organizational behavior, policy, and research courses on a variety of topics. Packard has also held key leadership roles in higher education administration. At Mount Holyoke, she served as Associate Dean of Faculty, where her responsibilities included the integration of the Career Development Center into Academic Affairs; improving inclusive search procedures; strengthening mentoring for department chairs and associate professors. As the founding Director of the Teaching and Learning Initiative program, she invested in new faculty mentoring, supported inclusive pedagogical strategies, and contributed to strengthening assessment. She also served as the Director of the Harriet L. and Paul S. Weissman Center for leadership, which promotes leadership through advocacy and public engagement through a compelling speaker series and three core programs (speaking, arguing, and writing; community-based learning; leadership and public service). Most recently, she served as the Senior Advisor for Science Initiatives, where she has provided support and guidance for multiple projects. 

Outside of MHC, Packard has held residencies in multiple institutions. In 2002, Packard was a visiting scholar at UC-Berkeley. In 2016, she completed a Whiting foundation fellowship in Ireland in association with the University of Limerick. In Spring 2018, Packard served as a Chancellor’s Leadership Fellow-in-Residence at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst contributing to a number of strategic equity and inclusion initiatives. During the 2018-2019 school year, she was a Faculty Fellow at the University of Michigan sponsored by the National Center for Institutional Diversity, with support from the Colleges of Engineering and LSA (Literature, Sciences and Arts).

She earned her bachelor’s from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor in 1995 (where she was a participant in the SROP program), and earned her Ph.D. from Michigan State in Educational Psychology in 1999. She has been on the faculty at Mount Holyoke College since 1999. 

Packard is a proud mother of two who loves mystery books, jogging, biking (at a leisurely pace), hiking, pilates, and zumba.