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Image of Chris Hoadley in discussion with a colleague.


Published October 4, 2022

Celebrated learning sciences scholar joins GSE

Christopher Hoadley brings new expertise, leadership to UB

Christopher Hoadley, PhD, an expert in designing collaborative technologies and enhancing computer support for collaborative learning, has joined the University at Buffalo Graduate School of Education.

Effective Sept. 1, Hoadley began his joint appointment as a professor in UB’s Department of Learning and Instruction and Department of Computer Science and Engineering. He is also affiliated with the Department of Information Science.

In collaboration with UB’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, College of Arts and Sciences, and School of Architecture and Planning, Hoadley serves as director of UB’s recently launched learning sciences initiative. 

Focused on integrative learning sciences scholarship, the initiative will assemble a group of prominent faculty in the disciplines of learning sciences, human-computer partnerships, cognitive science and psychology, design, and learning environments.

The interdisciplinary group of researchers will strive to build a community whose knowledge and ideas will lead to improvements in learning and learning environments in K-12 and higher education through the application and development of cutting-edge technologies and pedagogies across the educational lifespan while also considering the vital need to eliminate persistent inequities.

“I believe this is a central intellectual domain to investigate. Understanding learning in contexts, understanding the role technology plays in exacerbating or ameliorating in equities, and understanding what works for whom and in what environment are critical questions worthy of systematic exploration,” said Suzanne Rosenblith, PhD, GSE dean and professor.

“Chris Hoadley is the right person to lead this initiative because of his background in computer science and cognitive psychology and long-standing role doing community-based research. He understands the field and the other disciplines that are a part of this initiative so well.”

Throughout his career, Hoadley has focused on exploring the ways that technology can help improve people’s lives. He has over 45 years of experience designing and building educational technology and over 30 years of experience researching the connections between technology, learning and collaboration. His work focuses on collaborative technologies, computer support for cooperative learning, and design-based research methods—a term he coined in the late 1990s.

“One of the things that excited me most about UB is that there seems to be a very widespread appreciation of the importance of relevance and an openness to being in partnership with the community here in Western New York,” said Hoadley.

The learning sciences initiative is a chance for us to say: ‘If we center this question of how do we support people learning and growing with scholarship, can we build an interdisciplinary movement of scholars who are relevant in a new way?’”

Before joining UB, Hoadley served as an associate professor of educational communications at NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development from 2008-2022. During his tenure at NYU, he founded the Design of Learning, Collaboration, and Experience Lab (dolcelab) to study the interconnections between design, learning, technology and collaboration. He was also the founding program director of the world’s first Games for Learning degree program.

“Hoadley’s research impact is evident from the quantity and quality of his publications, citations, external funding, awards and invited presentations,” said X. Christine Wang, PhD, GSE professor and associate dean for interdisciplinary research.

Hoadley has more than 100 publications, including two edited books, 29 peer-refereed journal articles, 21 book chapters, 39 refereed conference proceedings and 11 invited editorial articles. His work has appeared in top-tier educational journals, including Educational Researcher, Educational Psychologist, International Journal of Computer Supported Collaborative Learning and Educational Technology Research and Development.

He has played a critical role in shaping the learning sciences field by co-founding the International Society of the Learning Sciences. He served as the Society’s inaugural president and helped establish its successful organizational structure and conference organization.

Hoadley holds a PhD in science and math education and an MS in computer science—both from the University of California at Berkeley—and a BS in brain and cognitive sciences from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 

“Here at UB, I think there’s a tremendous opportunity to bring together different disciplines around pressing real-world problems,” said Hoadley. “The only way you’re going to do it is by being in partnership with communities, and—for me—that’s what I hope is the hallmark of our learning sciences program.”

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