Kate S. McCleary is the Associate Director of the Global Engagement Office (GEO) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a friend of WIDA.

Kate S. McCleary
Kate S. McCleary

Dr. McCleary’s career started with managing a secondary gifted program for rural and suburban school districts in southeast Pennsylvania. From there, Kate drew on her experiences as an undergraduate student and Fulbright Research Grant recipient in Spain as she shifted to the field of international education. She first served as a study abroad advisor at Lehigh University, then as the Director of Global Education at Washington College and now is the Associate Director of the GEO in the School of Education at UW-Madison.

In between positions, Kate received her doctorate in Educational Leadership and Policy Administration from the University of Minnesota with a concentration in Comparative International Development Education. During her graduate studies, she served on teams working with USAID and Makerere University in Uganda, Save the Children in Nicaragua, CARE USA, CARE Honduras, and a UNICEF project in Turkmenistan. Her work at that time focused on issues pertaining to critical feminist theory, gender, and youth.

Currently, Kate is a practitioner-scholar who does work on internationalization of higher education, intercultural learning, and evaluation. She joined the Wisconsin Center for Education Research (WCER) as an evaluator with the LEAD Center in 2016, and held a joint appointment between the LEAD Center and the School of Education’s Dean’s Office from 2017-2018 during which time Kate helped to launch the Global Engagement Office. As the day-to-day staff manager of the GEO, she oversees and orchestrates key initiatives pertaining to international students and scholars, study abroad, bringing a global lens to coursework and programming, and international partnerships. 

Kate appreciates the broad scope of her work and the opportunity to collaborate with colleagues like Jon Nordmeyer, Jenny Hill-Wild and Marianna Castro in WIDA. She also has close working relationships with colleagues in the UW-Madison International Division, the International Programs Office, International Academic Programs, International Student Services, International Faculty and Staff Services, IRIS, and faculty, staff, students and scholars from across the School of Education. Kate sees great strength in working with people across units, institutions, and from diverse backgrounds. She is currently collaborating to co-author a piece exploring a pilot project that she instituted last summer, a program that brought together faculty, graduate students, and the Global Engagement Office on a course-level internationalization initiative.

Kate serves on the School of Education’s Global Education and Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committees. She has also served as an Academy Coach and conference reviewer for NAFSA, worked with the Forum on Education Abroad’s standards toolkit project, and volunteers as a tutor with Madison’s Literacy Network.

In her time outside the office, she loves connecting with friends and family, cooking, hiking, treasure hunting at thrift stores, and watching Spanish-language shows on Netflix to help maintain her Spanish. And she is smitten with her new puppy Birdie, a mini-goldendoodle, which she shares with her spouse Gary. She welcomes connecting with other educators and interculturalists. You can reach her via email at mccleary2@wisc.edu.