Ivonne Chand O’Neal, Ph.D., is Chief Research Officer and Senior Policy Analyst for Creativity Testing Services, a creativity research think tank which provides assessment, research design, and evaluation services for multinational companies both in the United States and abroad, including Lego, Red Bull, and Disney. She is also the founder of MUSE Research, through which she provides strategic research design consultation in the area of arts, culture, civic engagement, and education, and serves as a Co-Investigator and Member of the Research Advisory Board for the Humanities and Human Flourishing Initiative: A Multi-Disciplinary Collaboration for Understanding, Cultivating and Assessing Well-Being with the University of Pennsylvania. Prior to her current position, O’Neal served as the Founding Director of Research and Evaluation for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, where she created the Center’s first national research agenda comprised of over 25 national and international research studies. With an emphasis on creativity, O’Neal directed all research and evaluation efforts, designed research studies to collect, analyze, and report evidence of the impact of arts and culture on American life on local, national, and international scales. Projects included examining the impact of such programs as Changing Education through the Arts, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, National Symphony Orchestra, Washington National Opera, Scottish Ballet, Any Given Child, Ballet with Suzanne Farrell, Theater for Young Audiences, One Mic: Hip Hop Culture Worldwide Festival, and assessing accessibility to the arts for K-12 students living with disabilities.
Trained as a Cognitive Psychologist with emphasis on the creative process, program evaluation, psychometrics, and experimental design, O’Neal has published and presented over 100 research papers, book chapters, and webinars in a wide variety of fields, including creativity, innovation, research design, education, museology, visitor studies, student engagement, human flourishing, and quality of life. Her work on the impact of arts integrated education on student creativity and engagement was highlighted by the National Endowment for the Arts in 2014. In addition, her work in arts research has been featured in the Huffington Post and various news outlets. She currently serves as Co-Chair: Arts, Culture, and Audiences for the American Evaluation Association, a reviewer for the journal, Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity and the Arts, and a member of the Editorial Board for the Creativity Research Journal. She has served as a working group member for the Santa Fe Institute, examining creativity and the brain; the Gallup Institute as an invited guest on UK-US Cultural Engagement, and Opera America on the use of opera to increase civic engagement throughout the United States. Her book, Arts Evaluation and Assessment: Measuring Impact in Schools and Communities will be published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2017.
Her career has combined academic research with extensive practical experience in examining the relationships between creativity, research, society, culture, and education. Prior to her role at the Kennedy Center, she held a joint appointment as Co-Investigator and Research Director at the David Geffen UCLA School of Medicine, where she examined the effects of acute cocaine administration on the creative process, the impact of humor on chronic pain in children, and quality of life in men newly diagnosed with prostate cancer. She also served as a member of the UCLA Tennenbaum Initiative on the Biology of Creativity. She has taught a number of courses on research methods, non-profit organizations, human development, memory and learning, and personality theory. On the practice side, she has served as a Curator for the Museum of Creativity, where she led in the development of exhibitions and programs to advance the use of creativity and innovation in everyday life. In the area of curriculum development, O’Neal currently serves as a consultant for The College Board, Educational Testing Service, National Geographic, and has consulted with the Galef Institute on developing curriculum for K-8 students to incorporate creativity theory into core curriculum. She has served as a federally-appointed expert consultant for programmatic evidence evaluation for the Corporation for National and Community Service, and the National Endowment for the Arts, and currently serves as a grant reviewer for the US Department of Education to examine innovative approaches to literacy, and the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities to fund community and heritage arts programming in Washington, DC. Her expertise has also extended to the entertainment industry where she has worked actively with the Disney Channel, NBC, TNBC, and HipTV to increase creativity, civic engagement, and social emotional learning in children’s programming and corresponding educational materials.