Dean Lane Welcomes Largest SOE Class of Students in a Decade

UAlbany students walking on campus wearing masks

Welcome to UAlbany’s Fall 2020 semester! This semester will be different from what we are accustomed, but one thing is certain, we will do inspiring work together and continue cultivating a strong, diverse, and inclusive academic community.

This fall the School of Education welcomes its largest class of graduate students in at least a decade. In addition, our Human Development (HD) major and undergraduate minors continue to grow. In only its 5th year, the HD major is the fastest growing and already the 15th largest on campus. In addition, we have launched the Great Dane Teacher Pathway this fall and are excited to welcome our first set of undergraduate “future teachers” into this program.

Many of our programs and courses will be delivered in flexible formats—something the School has been doing well for decades. I am proud that the School of Education has been rated as one of the top 10 providers of online graduate education programs in the country for four straight years.  We are also holding in person classes in strict adherence to all campus guidelines to keep students and faculty safe. There are certainly a few extra things for us to keep in mind this year – wear a mask, keep a 6ft distance, wash hands often.  I know first-hand as I’m teaching a “small” first year seminar in one of our largest classrooms in the lecture center – think 18 students in a room fitting 120 students.

But whether teaching and learning face-to-face, online, or a combination of formats, we will approach our work the same way, preparing well for courses and making sure that our students have a great learning experience.

Our students and staff are also working hard to ensure that our out-of-classroom offerings remain robust. From the Human Development Club to our many graduate student organizations, students have proven that we can stay engaged with each other online outside of the classroom.  Last spring, the Educational Psychology students shifted their annual poster session to a very successful online format.  Over the summer, the Educational Policy & Leadership students kicked off their e-brown bag series, bringing speakers near and far to our academic community.  And, our undergraduate Human Development Club is converting to a full virtual experience – from philanthropic events to social gatherings.

We have many other online activities on tap including our annual School of Education Day, our weekly Community Conversations about how educators and mental health practitioners are responding to COVID-19, and interactive sessions with nationally acclaimed book authors. It is going to be an exciting semester!

We also start this year with a heightened awareness of issues related to equity and inclusion and the need to fight structural racism. These efforts have been at the core of our enterprise for the last couple of years as we have worked to make the School a more inclusive environment for all members of our community. As New York’s oldest and leading public teachers’ college, we have much to share with each other as we listen, learn, and take action to bring about positive change and aim to diversify the fields of education and mental health. Be on the lookout for upcoming initiatives and opportunities to be part of this important work.

It will take all of us in partnership – faculty, staff and students – to provide support to one another and ensure a successful semester.  I look forward to our conversations and collaborations around important issues driving our world today and to exciting discoveries made through our coursework, connections, and research.

If you haven’t already, I’d encourage you to connect with the School of Education on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram so you can stay informed about all that is happening.

Let’s keep each other safe and well.  Here’s to a great year moving forward together!

With best regards,

Jason E. Lane, Ph.D.
Professor & Dean
School of Education  
University at Albany