Provost Dennis Ponton announced last week that Wendy Paterson has been named dean of the School of Education at Buffalo State, effective July 1, 2012. Paterson has served as dean of St. John Fisher College’s Ralph C. Wilson Jr. School of Education since 2009.
Paterson spent 21 years at Buffalo State as a developmental and educational technology specialist, faculty member, and department chair before accepting the deanship at St. John Fisher three years ago. She is a two-time graduate of Buffalo State, with bachelor (1975) and master (1976) of science degrees in education.
“We welcome Dr. Paterson’s return to Buffalo State,” said Ponton, “and we look forward to her leadership as dean of our School of Education and to the university’s engagement with schools and communities in Buffalo and Western New York.”
Buffalo State’s School of Education is home to 1,100 undergraduate students, 700 graduate students, and 60 full-time faculty members in five departments: Adult Education, Career and Technical Education, Elementary Education and Reading, Exceptional Education, and Social and Psychological Foundations of Education. The School of Education also features an award-winning Professional Development Schools Consortium, a cutting-edge Literacy Center, and the Woods-Beals Endowed Chair in Urban and Rural Education.
“I am so pleased to be returning to Buffalo State, my alma mater and the nurturing place where I shaped my professional life,” said Paterson. “It will be a joy for me to work again with the finest faculty in SUNY to chart the course toward a positive, productive future for education.”
Paterson began her teaching career in 1976 as a reading specialist in the Kenmore-Tonawanda public schools and moved to higher education in 1983, as the coordinator of developmental skills and services to students with disabilities at Trocaire College. In 1988, she joined Buffalo State on a multimillion-dollar “Strengthening Institutions” federal Title III grant to promote student retention. Here she developed early programs in computer-assisted instruction for student support and instituted innovative programming for faculty development in teaching excellence.
After earning her Ph.D. in elementary education from the University at Buffalo (UB) in 1997, she became an assistant professor in Buffalo State’s Elementary Education and Reading Department. She was promoted to associate professor in 2001 and to full professor in 2009. Paterson was chair of the Elementary Education and Reading Department for two consecutive terms.
While pursuing her Ph.D., she began research on what would become an internationally acclaimed book on single mothers titled Unbroken Homes: Single-Parent Mothers Tell Their Stories (2003), selected for the Innovations in Feminist Studies series by Haworth Press. Her second book, Diaries of a Forgotten Parent: Divorced Dads on Fathering through and beyond Divorce, released in 2010 by Cambridge Scholars Publishing, focuses on the inequities of divorce and custody from the father’s perspective, complementing her first book, which examines the same inequities through a feminist lens.
Paterson is an internationally recognized scholar with an eclectic list of publications that includes an award-winning article on instructional technology and early literacy published in Reading Research Quarterly; a comprehensive review of reading research presented at the 2006 Oxford Roundtable on Reading in Oxford University’s Forum on Public Policy Online; and a critical analysis of the negative effects of historical promotion and tenure practices on female faculty in the International Journal of Diversity in Organizations, Communities and Nations.
In 1996, SUNY honored Paterson with the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Professional Service. She was also named UB’s 2005 Distinguished Alumna of the Graduate School of Education.
Paterson replaces Paul Theobald, who has served as interim dean of the School of Education at Buffalo State since 2010. He recently accepted a similar position at Buena Vista University in Iowa.
“Gratitude is expressed from the campus community to Paul Theobald, Buffalo State Woods-Beals Endowed Chair in Urban and Rural Education, for serving as School of Education interim dean for the past two years,” said Ponton. “We wish Paul continued success in the dean’s appointment at Buena Vista.”