College of Education > News and Publications > 2018: 01-03 news > Lee named department head for Educational Psychology, Counseling, and Special Education

Lee named department head for Educational Psychology, Counseling, and Special Education

David Lee has been named head of the Department of Educational Psychology, Counseling, and Special Education (EPCSE) in the College of Education.

David LeeDavid Lee has been named head of the Department of Educational Psychology, Counseling, and Special Education (EPCSE) in the College of Education. His appointment will run through June 30, 2021.

Lee served as acting department head to fill the vacancy created when former Department Head Kathy Bieschke was named interim dean of the Schreyer Honors College in 2016, and then as interim department head when Bieschke became vice provost for faculty affairs in 2017.

"Dr. Lee has impressed his colleagues as being an outstanding academic administrator," said Dean David H. Monk. "He is viewed an individual who combines the highest levels of integrity with deep commitments to the long-term well-being of the department and its future growth. I agree with these assessments and feel very fortunate to have him as a regular member of the College’s administrative leadership team."

As department head, Lee is the chief administrative officer in the department, providing dynamic and creative leadership, exercising academic leadership, administrative authority and budget management over all departmental programs in instruction, research and service, including programs delivered through the World Campus, among other duties.

Lee, who also is professor of education (special education), started his Penn State career as assistant professor of special education at Penn State Great Valley. He became program coordinator of special education at the campus in 2002. In 2004, Lee was named assistant professor of education at University Park. He was promoted to associate professor in 2005, and was professor-in-charge of the special education graduate program from 2005-2008. Also in 2005 he became academic director of the Applied Behavior Analysis Program. He was promoted to professor of education (special education) in 2014.

Lee's research focuses on strategies to help students with emotional/behavioral disorders (EBD), or at risk for EBD, overcome academic performance deficits. The overarching question asked in his research is, “How can we help children/adolescents, who typically do not engage in academic tasks, begin and engage in those tasks for longer periods of time in order to produce more fluent performance?” Students who refuse to engage in academic or social activities are at risk for failure. In order to learn any skill, whether it be reading, math, or playing a musical instrument, one must first make contact with the relevant materials and then remain at high levels of engagement as they practice the skill. Unfortunately, many students with EBD fail to engage in academic activities, which leads to a continuous cycle of frustration, lack of engagement, and ultimately academic failure. His research aim is to break this cycle.

By Annemarie Mountz (January 2018)