GSE news brief artwork.
An AI robot working with children in the Early Childhood Research center.

Robot dogs have visited the GSE Early Childhood Research Center (ECRC) throughout November, allowing the preschoolers to learn basic concepts about robotics. Introducing these advanced technologies at the ECRC will inform the work of X. Christine Wang—ECRC director, GSE associate dean for interdisciplinary research, and professor of learning and instruction—as she serves as a co-principal investigator for UB’s National AI Institute for Exceptional Education. The Buffalo News recently featured a front-page story about the five-year project funded with $20 million from the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Education.

Published December 7, 2023


2023 Unwrapped: GSE takes center stage through media, research and events

Throughout 2023, the University at Buffalo Graduate School of Education was recognized as a premier source of expertise and innovation, leading the conversation on critical issues in education.

Amidst the ongoing national discourse on issues in the field, such as AI, bullying, school safety, student debt, teacher retention, inclusive curricula, book bans, resource disparities, and misinformation, faculty members from GSE’s four departments actively shared their expertise, ideas and initiatives with countless prominent news outlets. These insightful contributions continue to underscore the pivotal role GSE plays in effecting positive change within the broader educational landscape.

Stories in TIME, Education Week, CNN, Yahoo News, The Washington Post, and The Buffalo News, among others, have reached and informed individuals around the world.

Working with the media and contributing to the community

With so many challenging issues in the educational landscape, the collaboration between GSE’s faculty and the media amplifies the school’s steadfast commitment to purposefully engaging with both local and global communities. GSE is dedicated to cultivating and nurturing partnerships that facilitate the reciprocal flow of ideas, fostering collaborative solutions to real problems and shaping policies for the public good.

“I place a high value on translating research to practice. There are very few people who have access to and read the articles that academics publish in peer-reviewed journals, so we need to find other ways to get empirically-based information into the hands of people who can use it to improve policies, programs, systems and relationships. Sharing knowledge and insight from research with the media is one of the best ways to reach a broader audience and, hopefully, offer a balanced and measured perspective to critical issues that may otherwise be sensationalized or misinformed due to their highly emotional content,” said Amanda Nickerson, professor of counseling, school and educational psychology and director of the Alberti Center for Bullying Abuse Prevention.

“There is always the fear that what I say will not come out right or will be taken out of context or misconstrued, but I have found most journalists and reporters are committed to conveying accurate information to inform the public about important topics,” Nickerson added. “I do not crave the media spotlight or attention, especially since, most of the time, when I am being interviewed, it is about something tragic that has happened (e.g., violence, bullying and other crisis situations). But, I have also come to realize that if I don’t use my voice, then someone else will, and that other person may not have the expertise that comes from devoting a career to studying these issues.”

Featured faculty experts in the news

The Department of Counseling, School and Educational Psychology

Amanda Nickerson.

The Associated Press quoted Amanda Nickerson, professor of counseling, school and educational psychology and director of the Alberti Center for Bullying Abuse Prevention, in a report, “Shooting Fallout: Metal Detectors In Elementary Schools?” following the shooting in which a 6-year-old student shot a first-grade teacher. Hundreds of news outlets worldwide republished the article, including The Washington Post, The Independent, U.S. News & World ReportToronto StarThe Seattle Times and Daily Mail.

Nickerson was featured in another story in The Washington Post about teachers across the nation reporting to their unions and principals what they describe as a list of accruing traumas from their classrooms.

Myles Faith.

In addition, CNN quoted Myles Faith, professor of counseling, school and educational psychology, in an article about the recently updated obesity treatment guidelines for children and teens.


The Department of Educational Leadership and Policy

Nathan Daun-Barnett.

Newsweek quoted Nathan Daun-Barnett, chair and associate professor of educational leadership and policy, in an article titled “Can Student Loan Borrowers Use Bankruptcy to Get Rid of Debt?”

Stephen Santa-Ramirez.

Meanwhile, Stephen Santa-Ramirez, assistant professor of higher education, was a guest speaker on KCBS Radio: On-Demand, discussing what it means for recipients of DACA after a federal judge ruled the “Dreamers” program illegal.

Paris Wicker.

The Chronicle of Higher Education also featured a column—co-written by Paris Wicker, assistant professor of educational leadership and policy—on how faculty members can maintain friendships while competing for the same academic openings.


The Department of Information Science

Africa Hands.

Library Journal reported on whether library and information science degrees adequately prepare students for real-world challenges. Africa Hands, assistant professor of information science, said many programs have courses on diversity, equity, and inclusion; work with multicultural populations; serve and do outreach into different communities; and offer specialized courses about targeting materials to different populations.

Heidi Julien.

Furthermore, Insider quoted Heidi Julien, professor of information science, in a story about how quickly conspiracies spread on social media platforms such as TikTok. Misinformation “spreads through the algorithms that push out to people,” Julien said.

Julien was also interviewed on Trending Now TV News about vaccine misinformation spread by Elon Musk and Joe Rogan.


The Department of Learning and Instruction

Christine Wang.

A front-page story in The Buffalo News reported on UB’s National AI Institute for Exceptional Education, a five-year project funded with $20 million from the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Education. The story discussed how the institute is harnessing artificial intelligence to help young children with special needs. The story mentions research led by X. Christine Wang, director of GSE’s Fisher-Price Early Childhood Research Center, that aims to find the best ways to introduce robots to young children in early education. The story notes that UB hopes to be at the forefront of harnessing AI to help schools better serve young children with learning challenges.

LaGarrett King.

Additionally, The Washington PostEducation WeekThe Seattle Times and The New York Times all quoted LaGarrett King, associate professor and director of the Center for K-12 Black History and Racial Literacy Education, in stories discussing Florida’s Gov. Ron DeSantis’ new standards for teaching students about Black history.

King was also interviewed for stories in Niagara Frontier Publications and The Buffalo News about the Center for K-12 Black History and Racial Literacy Education’s annual Teaching Black History Conference. This year, the event’s theme was “The Sounds of Blackness: Hip Hop Turns 50.” Moreover, King appeared on WBFO’s What’s Next? to discuss GSE’s Black History Nerds Saturday School professional development series.

Dawnavyn James.

Dawnavyn James, GSE PhD student and author of the book, “Beyond February: Teaching Black History Any Day, Every Day, and All Year Long, K–3,” also appeared on the program.