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BY DANIELLE LEGARE

Published August 2, 2022

University at Buffalo rolls out new online Doctor of Education program

The University at Buffalo Graduate School of Education has added a new doctoral program to its academic offerings.

The learning and teaching in social contexts EdD program enrolled its first cohort of students in the summer 2022 term. The program blends contemporary theory and practical learning experiences to produce professionals dedicated to addressing emergent and persistent problems of practice in the field of education.

Designed with an actionable, justice-focused framework, the program prepares leaders who collaborate effectively across school, academic and community boundaries to establish and grow intra- and inter-institutional capacity for continuous, evidence-based improvement. Learning how to conduct research that informs practice and redesigns curricula through an equity lens is at the program’s core.

Individuals working in the fields of K-12 and higher education—as well as those employed in nursing or medical education, among other areas—can benefit from the EdD, which is offered part-time and fully online to accommodate working professionals.

“Many students—teachers, or practitioners who work in healthcare or medical education—are looking to solve complex problems of practice in educational settings,” said Tiffany Karalis Noel, GSE director of doctoral studies and clinical assistant professor of learning and instruction. “Practitioners coming from any discipline might say, ‘I want to take a close look at the curriculum we’ve been working with and transform it towards an anti-racist curriculum to ensure the tenets of equity, diversity, justice and inclusion are foregrounded in our program’s learning experiences.’”

Karalis Noel led the efforts to create and launch the program. Reviewing intake surveys and considering the needs of current and prospective students inspired the program’s curriculum and design.

Through those surveys, it became clear that students desired a doctoral program that allowed for flexibility in enrollment status and coursework. “I don’t think that it is always feasible, especially for adult learners who have not only themselves but potentially families to support, to leave that job behind and enroll as a full-time student,” said Karalis Noel. “It’s really important to respect and honor that people have priorities beyond the work that they’re doing in an academic program. Our goal was to create an accessible program for working professionals around the world.”

According to Karalis Noel, several students in the program’s first cohort are interested in enhancing diversity and equity-minded programming in the workplace, as well as analyzing the effects of those efforts.

“Our students come from a wide range of professional backgrounds and are looking at how to improve, cultivate and sustain educational environments that are supportive, welcoming and affirming,” said Karalis Noel.

“Whether you’re an employee looking to improve the working environment for yourself and colleagues, or you’re in a leadership position aiming to support the development and retention of talented staff—many stakeholders can benefit from the knowledge produced through a dissertation in practice.”

The learning and teaching in social contexts doctoral program reflects GSE’s mission of providing rigorous and supportive teaching and learning environments that enable students to achieve academic excellence. GSE strives to offer online doctoral students rich and engaging educational experiences that utilize cutting-edge technology and infrastructure to enhance connection with online and on-campus learners in classroom learning, special engagements and events.

Students interested in this new program should contact GSE’s Office of Graduate Admission at 716-645-2110 or gse-info@buffalo.edu. Information on all of the academic offerings at GSE is available on the school’s website.

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