As of July 1, 2020, Akane Zusho, Ph.D., will become Interim Dean of the Graduate School of Education for Fordham University, which has been named by U.S. News and World Report as one of the top 50 graduate schools of education in the country. Most recently, she was appointed Associate Dean of the GSE on March 16, 2020, just three days after Fordham GSE shifted to online instruction. Prior to this, Zusho served as the school’s Chair of the Division of Psychological and Educational Services, and Professor of School Psychology.
“Akane is deeply talented as an educator, researcher and leader. I am grateful for the insights, wisdom, and innovative spirit she will bring to the Graduate School of Education and Fordham University in the coming year,” stated Dennis C. Jacobs, Ph.D., Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs.
Outgoing Dean Virginia Roach, Ed.D., said upon the confirmation, “I am thrilled that Akane Zusho is stepping into this interim position. She offers a smooth transition for the school from associate dean to interim dean. And, as a visionary leader, she is well-poised to orchestrate the ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the school’s transformation into a more truly anti-racist graduate school of education.”
Considered to be an expert on topics related to student motivation, self-regulated learning, and differentiation of instruction, particularly regarding schooling experiences of students of color, Zusho’s expertise is especially essential for addressing today’s current educational issues of online learning and systemic microagressions and racism.
To date, Zusho has written close to 50 publications. Her work was specifically recognized in 2012, when she received the Richard E. Snow Early Contributions Award from the American Psychological Association (Division 15 – Educational Psychology). In 2018, she co-authored a textbook for teachers with Rhonda Bondie, a former GSE assistant professor now at Harvard University, titled Differentiating Instruction Made Practical: Engaging the Extremes Through Classroom Routines. Additionally, she currently serves on the editorial board of the American Educational Research Journal.
As for her aspirations for the GSE, Zusho stated, “Decades of research on motivation has taught me that we are more motivated when we feel a sense of autonomy, competence, and belonging, when we find our work to be meaningful. I very much look forward to creating ways to promote an environment that fulfills these important psychological needs not only for our students, but also for everyone in the GSE community. At the forefront of this is a steadfast commitment to celebrating and acknowledging the strengths of marginalized students and making changes in our curriculum, practices, and policies to promote equity.”
Born in Japan, Zusho came to the United States when she was 3 ½ years old. She earned her Ph.D. from the Combined Program in Education and Psychology at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. After a brief stint as a visiting assistant professor at Michigan State University, she came to Fordham in 2004 as an assistant professor in Educational Psychology. In 2010, she became affiliated with the GSE’s school psychology program, which she subsequently co-directed from 2013-2016.