I write this letter to you as Buffalo continues to reel from the mass shooting, perpetrated by an individual consumed with vile and depraved beliefs. This event took place just days before our 91st commencement—a moment of celebration and reflection. It is a challenge to reconcile both moments.
While GSE has much to be proud of and excited about—our enrollments are growing, our aid to students expanding, our research dollars increasing, and our ranking among the best graduate schools of education improving—we have heavy and broken hearts. We are mindful that the evil perpetrated in Buffalo is part of a much bigger problem confronting our nation.
Prior to this mass shooting, we witnessed several states joining in common purpose to undermine equity and/in education. The anti-CRT efforts, anti-trans efforts, anti-tenure efforts, book banning efforts and “don’t say gay” efforts should be an affront to anyone who believes in the power of democratic and pluralistic public education and the importance of equity and inclusivity within our schools. GSE has and will continue to be a loud and unified voice for equity, inclusivity, civility and justice. We will continue to amplify these values through our teaching, research, outreach and engagement. In this issue, we introduce you to several faculty who embody these principles.
GSE is pleased to welcome to our faculty Dr. LaGarrett King. Dr. King, associate professor of social studies education, is also the founding director of the UB Center for K-12 Black History and Racial Literacy Education. The center, both a research and professional development entity, seeks to investigate and provide solutions for more effective education around Black history and race.
In addition to meeting Dr. King, this issue also introduces you to two other early-career scholars: Dr. Chris Proctor and Dr. Stephen Santa-Ramirez.
Dr. Proctor, assistant professor of learning sciences in the Department of Learning and Instruction, leads GSE’s efforts to infuse computer science education into K-12 curriculum. These efforts are both timely and important.
Dr. Santa-Ramirez, assistant professor of higher education in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy, conducts research that focuses on campus racial climates and first-generation students’ sense of belonging. I’m sure you will find the Q&A with him to be illuminating.
GSE’s commitment to public engagement and interdisciplinarity continues. In February, GSE co-hosted, along with UB’s Law School, a panel on critical race theory, “Clarifying the Conversation.”
In March, GSE partnered with the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences to offer a research networking event. The purpose of this initiative was to help connect researchers in engineering and computer science with researchers in education, counseling and information science with the hope of creating new research teams.
As you read these and the other stories in this edition of LEARN, please keep Buffalo close to your heart and please continue to fight for equity, diversity, justice and inclusion.
A pledge to peaceably share and care for North America’s five Great Lakes
We would like to acknowledge the land on which the University at Buffalo operates, which is the territory of the Seneca Nation, a member of the Haudenosaunee/Six Nations Confederacy. This territory is covered by The Dish with One Spoon Treaty of Peace and Friendship, a pledge to peaceably share and care for the resources around the Great Lakes. It is also covered by the 1794 Treaty of Canandaigua, between the United States Government and the Six Nations Confederacy, which further affirmed Haudenosaunee land rights and sovereignty in the State of New York. Today, this region is still the home to the Haudenosaunee people, and we are grateful for the opportunity to live, work, and share ideas in this territory.