Five Questions with Faculty: Kristie Asaro-Saddler

ALBANY. N.Y. (Feb.8, 2017) — Kristie Asaro-Saddler is an assistant professor in the Department of Educational and Counseling Psychology, in the School of Education. She has been at UAlbany, teaching master’s and doctoral level students in Special Education and Educational Psychology, since she got her doctorate from the University in 2008.
Kristie Asaro-Saddler

What are you working on now?

My research involves children and young adults who are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Specifically, I research strategies that can help students be successful in their classrooms, including interventions in self-regulation, peer interactions and academic areas such as writing. One of my current projects involves the use of a technology program to teach writing skills to young students with ASD.

What made you decide to pursue your field?

From the time I was young I always knew I wanted to be a teacher. After teaching students with disabilities for several years I decided to pursue higher education so that I could engage in research to help find interventions to better support students such as those with whom I worked. I also wanted to reach potential teachers to help give them the tools to be successful special education teachers, and instill in them the same passion I had as a teacher.

What’s your favorite class to teach?

My favorite class is “Teaching Students with Severe and Multiple Disabilities.” This course focuses on the education of students with disabilities including ASD, severe physical, sensory, and neurological disabilities, and intellectual disabilities such as Down syndrome. I enjoy teaching this course because it is an opportunity to show my students that these individuals, who throughout history have been marginalized and prevented from receiving an appropriate education, can learn and be successful if they are supported, accepted, and given the right opportunities. I love to help my students see the potential in all their students.

What do you see as the challenges confronting those in your field?

The field of education in general is struggling right now. There are teacher shortages nationwide, particularly in the areas of special education, science and math. Fewer people want to enter the field, so it is hard to recruit and train highly qualified teachers. I hope to change misconceptions and to help students see what a valuable and rewarding job being a special education teacher is.

What’s the best thing about working at UAlbany?

The best thing about working at UAlbany is definitely my colleagues. I am fortunate to be surrounded by a group of hard-working individuals who are highly successful scholars and teachers, and who contribute greatly to the field. My dean and his staff are highly supportive and work hard to create an environment in which all faculty, but particularly early career faculty, can excel.

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