Vice Chancellor, Provost, and Chief Academic Officer Gretchen Ritter has announced the appointment of Kelly Chandler-Olcott as Dean of the Syracuse University School of Education (SOE). She has served as Interim Dean since 2021, during which time she has led and overseen a significant transformation of the School. The appointment, which was approved by the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees, is effective immediately.
“Kelly will provide strong and capable leadership for the School of Education, as evidenced during her time as interim dean,” Provost Ritter says. “Her history with the school, her administrative experience and her deep knowledge of the field of education—from her experience as a teacher to her scholarship as a faculty member to her transformational work as interim dean—make her the clear choice for this position. I look forward to continuing to work with her.”
As Interim Dean, Chandler-Olcott led a Re-design of SOE to ensure the School’s short- and long-term success and align resources with three areas of distinction: pioneering work in inclusion, equity, and social justice; experiential pedagogy; and instructional design and technology-mediated teaching and learning. The collaborative effort, comprising work and input from the school’s faculty, staff, and students and from Provost Ritter and the SOE Board of Visitors, culminated in a proposal presented by Chandler-Olcott to Provost Ritter last spring. Following a period of refinement, the proposal was overwhelmingly passed by the SOE Assembly—made up of faculty, staff, and students—in October.
“Over the past several years, the School of Education has worked bravely and boldly to re-design our structures, actions and messages to align with our areas of distinction, increase our commitment to anti-racism and inclusion, and promote fiscal sustainability,” Chandler-Olcott says. “As a 25-year member of this community, I have never been prouder or more inspired by my colleagues or our students than I am at this moment. I’m grateful to have this opportunity for continued service to a unit that makes such important contributions to the University, the region, and the field of education more broadly.”
Chandler-Olcott’s service to and leadership on behalf of the University extends beyond SOE. Due to her work on the Re-design of the school, she was recruited by Provost Ritter to serve on the Executive Steering Committee driving the University-wide Academic Strategic Planning process and has played an instrumental role in this important, campuswide exercise.
At SOE, she served as Chair of the Department of Reading and Language Arts (2008-2015) and Associate Dean for Research (2015-2018) before becoming Interim Dean in 2021. On behalf of the University, she has been a member (elected and ex officio) of the University Senate, the Teaching Recognition Awards Selection Committee, the Advisory Committee for Academic Integrity Policy Review, the Institutional Review Board, and the Senate Ad Hoc Committee on Shared Competencies.
Chandler-Olcott is a Laura J. and L. Douglas Meredith Professor for Teaching Excellence. A former high school English and social studies teacher, she has taught English methods and content literacy courses to secondary and K-12 education majors since 1998.
With support from the National Science Foundation, the International Reading Association, and the Spencer Foundation, Chandler-Olcott has published seven books and more than 120 book chapters, articles, and editorials. Her scholarly interests cluster in three areas: classroom inquiry by teachers, literacy across the curriculum, and preparing professionals to teach writing in diverse, inclusive classrooms. She identifies primarily as a design researcher, developing, testing, and refining instructional approaches in collaboration with school-based practitioners, University colleagues and students.
Her scholarship has been recognized with the International Literacy Association’s Computers in Reading Research Award (2019) and the Divergent Book Award for Excellence in 21st Century Literacies Research (2021). She served as a member of the Board of Directors for the Literacy Research Association from 2010-2013 and co-edited Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy with her reading and language arts colleague Kathleen A. Hinchman from 2015-2021. She holds an Ed.D. from the University of Maine.