A dedicated classroom teacher, Professor McKenna has received the University's highest award for teaching: the Kroepsch-Maurice Award for Excellence in Teaching. In addition to courses at the beginning, intermediate and advanced levels of Russian language, Professor McKenna teaches survey courses of 19th-20th century Russian literature, as well as individual-author courses on Gogol, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Chekhow, Nabokov, Pasternak, Bulgakov, and Solzhenitsyn. He has developed a Business Russian course in the Department of German and Russian and has team-taught another course in the School of Business Administration: The Culture of Doing Business in Russia. In addition he teaches the popular course, Mafia and Capitalism: Doing Business in Today's Russia. He has given lectures throughout Russia and the Soviet Union over the past twenty years for the Smithsonian Institution on topics of Russian culture, politics, and literature.
Consistent with his advising and mentoring of Russian majors, Professor McKenna has worked tirelessly in assisting students to locate jobs in Russia upon their graduation from UVM. He recently has been named a consultant for a major U.S. Department of Education (2009-2013) grant to prepare American students of Arabic, Chinese and Russian for studies in these languages at the university level in their target countries. Professor McKenna has also received grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the U.S. Information Agency for his various research specialties. From 1989-2007 he served as Director of UVM's Area and International Studies Program.