Lee stepping down as dean of UB Graduate School of Education

Release Date: October 10, 2016

Jaekyung Lee

“Jaek’s leadership has made a significant impact on GSE and UB, and established a solid foundation for future success.”
Provost Charles F. Zukoski
University at Buffalo

BUFFALO, N.Y. – Jaekyung Lee is stepping down for family reasons as dean of the University at Buffalo Graduate School of Education (GSE) at the end of the 2016-17 academic year, Provost Charles F. Zukoski announced in a memo to the university community today.

Lee has served as dean of GSE since 2013, after a year as interim dean, and is credited with implementing several academic, research and community-outreach innovations that “leave the school well poised to build on this success for years to come,” Zukoski said.

“An excellent dean, Jaek has led the school through a nationally challenging time for teacher education, while strengthening the school’s programs and partnerships, and advancing UB’s teaching, research and engagement missions,” Zukoski said.

“Jaek’s leadership has made a significant impact on GSE and UB, and established a solid foundation for future success,” he said. “We are grateful to Jaek for his continued commitment and dedication to the Graduate School of Education and our university.”

Lee will return to his full-time faculty role as professor of counseling, school and educational psychology. A search for the next dean of the GSE will begin later this semester, with the goal of identifying new leadership for the school by the end of the spring 2017 semester.

“I am very grateful for the opportunities for leadership that UB has provided me during the past five years,” Lee said. “I take pride in advancing GSE toward UB 2020 goals and appreciate all the support from people across the UB and GSE communities.

“Although it is a challenging time for schools of education, I am confident that GSE will stay strong and impactful with its mission-critical work and innovations. During the rest of this academic year, I will continue to work on ongoing initiatives and give support for a smooth transition.”

As dean, Lee worked with GSE faculty, staff, students and alumni to establish a strategic vision for the school, focused on interdisciplinary research, educational innovation, collaboration with area schools and increasing the school’s global impact. From this vision, Lee more closely aligned the school’s goals with UB’s institutional priorities, launched new academic programs to better prepare students for an increasingly diverse and technological society, and built partnerships with the local K-12 community through community-based research and education programs for teachers and administrators. He built partnerships with other UB schools and encouraged GSE faculty to participate in university-wide research and education initiatives.

Lee recruited 20 new tenure-track faculty members to the GSE and created several grants and awards to enhance faculty productivity in the school’s focus areas. He strengthened the GSE’s administrative team by creating a director of communications and marketing position to enhance the school’s strategic communications and branding efforts.

Under his leadership, the school expanded and enhanced its online programs, resulting in greatly improved national rankings for GSE’s online offerings. Among the innovative programs added, the school launched its first online PhD program in 2015 and UB’s first academic MOOC on Coursera in 2016. These programs provide students from around the world access to GSE’s faculty and academic programs. Building on the SUNY Teach NY initiative, the school is currently developing the UBTeach program to create stronger undergraduate pathways to help students pursue K-12 teaching careers.  

Enrollment in GSE online programs doubled under Lee.

In an effort to create new entry points for students into GSE programs, Lee led the GSE’s launch of undergraduate minors in counseling and information studies, and created courses for the UB Curriculum. To ensure the school is building a diverse and inclusive student body, he created the Dean’s Scholarship for Educational Diversity and Excellence to recruit and retain talented underrepresented minority and international students.

Under Lee, GSE took a lead role in helping local teachers and schools prepare for common core implementation by offering training for educators. To help understand and address other local school issues, Lee created the Superintendent Advisory Board, which provides a forum to discuss school district needs and ways to improve K-12 education. Lee established the Inter-professional Collaboration Award, which recognizes a local school that develops an effective model for improving student outcomes and provides new research partnership opportunities for GSE faculty.

GSE currently is collaborating with UB’s Center for Educational Innovation to launch a new college teaching certificate program for UB PhD students and postdoctoral scholars across the university. Other examples of university-wide collaborations under Lee include GSE faculty participation in all three of UB’s new Communities of Excellence, which bring together faculty from across the academic disciplines to seek answers to challenges confronting global society. GSE also created several new classes for the UB Curriculum, provides support for UB’s Finish in 4 program and collaborated with the Department of Economics on a 3-E research project focused on how investments in learning and training help increase human knowledge and promote economic development.

A fellow of the prestigious American Educational Research Association, Lee is an internationally recognized leader in educational policy and equity, program evaluation, and international and comparative education. He joined GSE in 2002 and served as associate dean for academic affairs before being named interim dean. He has a PhD in education from the University of Chicago.

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