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Dean Jaekyung Lee

Published October 10, 2016

Dear University Community:

I am writing to share with you that Dean Jaekyung Lee has informed me of his plans to step down as dean of the Graduate School of Education (GSE) at the end of the 2016-17 academic year for family reasons. Jaek will return to his full-time faculty role as professor of counseling, school and educational psychology. I will commence a search for the next GSE dean later this semester and plan to have new leadership determined by the end of Spring 2017.

Jaek was appointed GSE dean in 2013, after serving as interim dean since 2012. 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. He will leave the school well poised to build on this success for years to come.  

In order to align the school’s vision and goals with UB’s institutional priorities, Jaek led GSE faculty, staff, students and alumni in establishing the GSE Pillars of Distinction, a strategic vision for the school focused on interdisciplinary research, educational innovation, collaborations and partnerships with area schools, and global impact. During Jaek’s tenure, GSE recruited 20 new tenure-track faculty members, and created several grants and awards to enhance faculty productivity in GSE’s focus areas. He also strengthened GSE’s communications and branding strategy by creating a communications and marketing director position.

A firm believer in the power of education, counseling and information to transform lives and communities, Jaek launched new academic programs that help prepare students to make an impact in our increasingly diverse and technological society. Under Jaek’s leadership, the school has 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 excellent faculty and programs.

In an effort to create new pathways for students into GSE programs, Jaek led the school in launching new undergraduate minors in counseling and information studies, and in its current effort developing a UBTeach program that builds on Teach NY. To ensure the school is fostering a diverse and inclusive student body, Jaek created the Dean’s Scholarship for Educational Diversity and Excellence to recruit and retain talented underrepresented minority and international students. By building programs that are valued by students and tailored to 21st-century challenges and learning, GSE has grown enrollment in high-need areas and established a foundation for future growth under Jaek’s leadership.

Jaek is committed to building partnerships with other UB schools and he encourages GSE faculty to participate in cross-disciplinary and university-wide initiatives to make innovative and impactful research, education and engagement contributions. Examples of this can be seen in GSE faculty participation in all of the Communities of Excellence and in numerous projects with other schools, such as an E Fund project with UB’s economics department. In support of UB initiatives, GSE created several new classes for the UB Curriculum and offers ESL courses for international students for Finish in 4. Dedicated to promoting exceptional teaching at all levels, GSE is currently collaborating with the Center for Educational Innovation to launch a new college teaching certificate program for PhD students and postdoctoral scholars across the university.

Jaek is also committed to building partnerships in the local education community and increasing the school’s impact through community-based research and education. Under Jaek’s leadership, GSE took a leading role in helping local teachers and schools prepare for common core implementation by offering training for educators. In order to help understand and address other local school issues, Jaek created the Superintendent Advisory Board, which provides a forum to discuss current district needs and opportunities for partnerships. In addition, Jaek established the Inter-professional Collaboration Award, which recognizes a local school that develops an effective model for improving student outcomes and provides GSE faculty with new research opportunities.

A fellow of the prestigious American Educational Research Association, Jaek is an internationally recognized leader in educational policy and equity, program evaluation, and international and comparative education. Jaek 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.

For more information, please see the UB Now story.

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



Charles F. Zukoski
Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs