LLL Faculty: Kathleen Gradel, Ed.D.





Kathleen Gradel, Ed.D.


Office: TH E276 Phone: (716)673-4681
Email: gradel@fredonia.edu


Prior to joining the Fredonia faculty, Dr. Kathleen Gradel earned tenured Associate Professor status at Buffalo State College, where – with colleagues – she built a Master’s program in early childhood special education and a parallel program in teaching students with severe disabilities. She subsequently served as a faculty member at the University of Maryland (College Park). She has also served as adjunct faculty both at Johns Hopkins University and the University of Virginia (her alma mater).

Immediately before beginning her work at Fredonia, she directed an early childhood/primary program at Baker Victory Services in Buffalo, NY. This work involved transitioning a segregated full-service infant/preschool service delivery program to offering full inclusive site-based services. In addition, the program expanded services primary-aged students with severe behavior challenges.

Dr. Gradel has parallel history working in the non-academic sector. For example, as Program Director of national UCPA, Inc. (United Cerebral Palsy Associations) in Washington, D.C., she led grantwriting initiatives to generate $1 to $3 million in federal and foundation grants annually over a seven-year period. In that role, she also coordinated national technology projects, developed federally-funded technology training curricula, and trained users nationally in preK-adult assistive technology use. As part of this work, she trained local affiliates in grantwriting skills; through this work, she earned the attention of the Mitsubshi Electric America Foundation, which she assisted in their corporate grantmaking initiative. Following her tenure with UCPA, Inc., she worked as a grants specialist for the Skating Association for the Blind and Handicapped (SABAH), where she also aided in kicking off its planned giving initiative.

Dr. Gradel has both managed and evaluated grants that have been awarded to colleagues in higher education, school districts, libraries, non-profits, and states. She also has a long history of working on the pre-award preparation of grant applications. For example, at Fredonia as a new faculty member, she served with Dr. Michael Jabot as the co-investigator for the Collaboration Quality Instructional Outcomes Project, a million-dollar program designed to support data-referenced teaching and leadership, teacher induction, and teacher retention across the Dunkirk, Fredonia, Jamestown, and Southwestern school districts. Subsequently, she and Jabot worked with Dunkirk, to enhance grass-roots science instruction and curriculum development through the multi-million-dollar Young Inquiring Scientists Want to Know Project; by its end, educators from more than 15 regional districts had participated in the project’s voluntary professional development work. Recently, she has worked with 12 Chautauqua County school districts to launch a menu of blended and online AP (Advanced Placement) courses, offered to regional high schoolers via Erie2 BOCES through a grant that she authored for E2CCB. And she has extended her expertise in grantwriting SUNY-wide, by offering SUNY Center for Professional Development (CPD) online instruction to cross-discipline faculty statewide.

Dr. Gradel frequently conducts faculty professional development through Fredonia’s Professional Development Center (PDC). She is a founding PDC Associate, and has since served two terms as an Associate. Through the PDC and campus Office of Online Learning, she co-developed and routinely co-teaches the campus online course offered for novice online instructors, Build Your Online Course (BYOC); notably, in 2015, this course received an Effective Practice Award in the first round of this recognition by the SUNY Center for Online Teaching Excellence (COTE). In addition to conducting professional development sessions as a PDC Associate, she often offers training on technology-supported instruction for colleagues and students within and outside the College of Education. For example, through Project RAISE-UP, she hosted a faculty loaner program and training series on using Smartpens, as well as hands-on seminars on technology-enhanced instruction. She also conducts routine trainings for Project MAST2ER on technology-embedded evidence-based practices, and for the graduate TESOL Program on ePortfolios. She was also instrumental in organizing the highly informative “brown bag” lunch meetings that drew together faculty from the College of Education to foster cross-department interactions. She is currently active as a campus Moodle piloter, and is looking forward to assisting colleagues as we migrate to this new Learning Management System.

Dr. Gradel has been consistently active within the P-12 and disability arena, beyond grant-funded work. For years, she worked with the Chautauqua County Teachers’ Center, conducting popular sessions on effective management strategies, use of technology efficiencies, and state-approved training on autism. During a recent sabbatical and leave period, she served as Director of Curriculum, Instruction, and Technology for the Silver Creek School District. She is a frequent “helper” in the Brocton CSD, where she has a history of working with Mrs. Jodi Huber on multiple innovative technology-based instructional model projects over the past decade. She serves as Co-Chair of the Erie County Developmental Disabilities Association of WNY Committee on Education and on the Board of Directors for The Resource Center, Jamestown, NY, the largest service provider for people with disabilities in the county; as of June ’15, she will serve a three-year term as President of the TRC Board.

Dr. Gradel is consistently active in multiple statewide technology and learning initiatives, and is a regular presenter at regional, state, national, and international conferences devoted to teaching and learning. She serves on the SUNY Provost’s OpenSUNY Advisory Committee, as well as on the SUNY Network of Excellence on Teaching, Learning, and Assessment. She is one of two Fredonia FACT2 campus representatives, and is an Open SUNY Center for Online Teaching Fellow. She was a co-author of the initial grants to kick off the Tools of Engagement Project (TOEP), funded to the University at Buffalo to provide statewide on-demand training and support to SUNY faculty; she has subsequently served as co-investigator, content builder, and Google+ Community host. During her 2015 sabbatical, she was instrumental in offering a series of statewide online training sessions on using mobile devices and apps in cross-discipline university instruction; in addition to supporting five sessions, she co-taught four on various mobile learning strategies for the FACT2 Mobile Learning Task Group. She is a popular presenter at the annual SUNY Conference on Instruction and Technology (CIT), and is known for her hands-on practical learning sessions. She also co-moderates the Western New York Google Educator Group Google+ Community.

Teaching Interests

At Fredonia, Dr. Gradel currently teaches courses in educational psychology, literacy/technology, and action research. She has consistently been in the forefront of offering online options in these courses. In 2015, she will have the privilege of diversifying her work outside the College of Education, by teaching in the campus’ First Year Pilot, as well as teaching a course focused on digital literacies for the Fredonia Honors Program. In the past, she was the consistent instructor of a block of graduate special education courses – taught in an intensive summer learning experience – that have since become core to the graduate C&I Program. In addition, she has worked with numerous students on their own action research in the graduate research sequence, and with undergraduates in EDU 416. Dr. Gradel has extended her commitment to students, by serving as co-advisor to the Fredonia Chapter of the Kappa Delta Pi International Education Honor Society for more than a decade. In 2011, Dr. Gradel achieved the SUNY Chancellor's Excellence in Teaching Award, a statewide honor that recognizes superior professional achievement throughout the State University of New York system.

Research Interests

Dr. Gradel’s current research interests include (a) mastery of evidence-based instructional skills by pre-service educators; (b) the use of technology-enhanced instruction by higher ed faculty; and (c) strategies to facilitate school success of P-12 students with learning/behavioral needs enrolled in inclusive classrooms by both relevant technology use and cooperative learning strategies.

Published Books and Chapters:

  • Gradel, K., Jabot, M., Magiera, K., & Maheady, L. (2005). Special education teaching strategies. In E. Fletcher-Janzen & C. R. Reynolds (Eds.), Special education almanac. NY: John Wiley & Sons.
  • Maheady, L., Gradel, K., & Magiera, K. (2003). Mainstreaming: Supporting the inclusion of students with disabilities in general education classrooms. In G. Sugai & R. Horner (eds.), The encyclopedia of behavior modification and cognitive behavior therapy, Sage Publications, NY.
  • Gradel, K. (2002). Funding and public policy. In DeRuyter, F., & Olson, D. The clinician’s guide to assistive technology. Chicago, IL: Mosby-YearBook, Inc.
  • Snell, M.E., & Taylor, K. (1987). Instructor’s manual; Systematic instruction of persons with severe handicaps. Columbus, OH: Charles E. Merrill. [*Former legal name]
  • Gradel, K. (1988). The interface between assessment data and interventions with infants and preschoolers who have mild and moderate disabilities. In R. Sheehan & T. Wachs (Eds.), Assessment of developmentally disabled infants. NY: Plenum Publishing Corporation.
  • Gradel, K., Thompson, M.S., & Sheehan, R. (1982). Parental and professional agreement in early childhood assessment. In J.T. Neisworth (Ed.), Issues in assessment in special education. Rockville, MD: Aspen Systems Corporation.
  • Sheehan, R., & Gradel, K. (1982). Intervention models in early childhood special education. In S.G. Garwood (Ed.), Educating young handicapped children. Rockville, MD: Aspen Systems Corporation.

Selected Published Articles:

  • Moon-Ro, J., Magiera, K., Gradel, K., Simmons, R. (2014). Blog-based support for preservice teachers in an after-school tutoring program. Journal of Educational Technology Systems, 42(1), 69-84.
  • Sullivan, R., Burns, B., Gradel, K., Shi, S., Tysick, C., & VanPutten, C. (2013). Tools of Engagement Project: On-demand discovery learning professional development. Journal of Educational Technology Systems, 41(3), 255-256.
  • McMay, D., Gradel, K., & Scott, C. (2013). Using problem based learning to develop class projects in upper level social science courses: A case study with recommendations. Creative Education, 4(1), 1-9.
  • Gradel, K., & Edson, A.J. (2013). QR codes in higher ed: Fad or functional tool? Journal of Educational Technology Systems. In press.
  • Gradel, K., & Edson, A.J. (2012). Integrating cloud-based strategies and tools in face-to-face training sessions to increase the impact of professional development. Journal of Educational Technology Systems, 40(2), 113-130.
  • Gradel, K., & Edson, A.J. (2011). Cooperative learning: Smart pedagogy and tools for online and hybrid courses. Journal of Educational Technology Systems, 39(2), 193-212.
  • Gradel, K., & Jabot, M. (2011). GoogleDocs: BFF for building tech-smart skills of future educators. ISTE SIGAdmin Newsletter, Summer 2011, 3-4.
  • Gradel, K. (2011). Expanding accessible electronic supports to meet diverse student needs with CAST’s BookBuilder. ISTE SIG Innovative Learning Technologies Innovative Learning Newsletter, Spring 2011, 6-7.
  • Jabot, M., Henry, D., & Gradel, K. (2010). They’ve only learned as much as their students have. The Science Teachers Bulletin, 74(1), 16-19.
  • Gradel, K., & Edson, A.J. (2010). Putting UDL on the higher education agenda. Journal of Educational Technology Systems, 38(2), 77-91.
  • Kozik, P.L., Cooney, B., Vinciguerra, S., Gradel, K., & Black, J. (2009). Promoting inclusion in secondary schools through appreciative inquiry. American Secondary Education, 38(1), 77-91.
  • Neubert, D.A., Danehey, A.J., & Gradel, K. (1992). Case management practices for young adults with developmental disabilities in transition. Career Development for Exceptional Individuals, 15(1), 1-12.
  • Gradel, K. (1991). Translation of a customer service culture into practice in assistive technology and employment services. Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, 1(2) 41-54.
  • Cavaiuolo, D., & Gradel, K. (1990). The effects of distributed feedback and videotape self-monitoring on the productivity of a janitorial trainee with mental retardation. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 11(2).
  • Egel, A., & Gradel, K. (1988). Social integration of autistic children: Evaluation and recommendations (1988). the Behavior Therapist, 11(1), 7-11.
  • Gradel, K., Thompson, M.S., & Sheehan, R. (1981). Parental and professional agreement in early childhood assessment. Topics in Early Childhood Special Education, 1, 31-39.
  • Pomerantz, D., & Gradel, K. (1981). Curricular planning issues in the education of the young severely handicapped. The Forum, 7(2), 10-22.
  • Snell, M.E., Thompson, M.S., & Taylor, K.*(1979). Providing inservice to educators of the severely handicapped: The active response inservice model. Education and Training of the Mentally Retarded, 14, 25-33. [*Former legal name]


Dr. Gradel earned her Special Education Bachelor's, Master's, and Doctoral degrees from the University of Virginia. As an undergraduate, she was certified in Mental Retardation, Birth-21. At the Master's level, she extended her certification to Emotional Disturbance. Her doctorate focused on severe disabilities, with minors in Developmental Psychology and Early Childhood Special Education, and a concentration in evaluation.

Since completing her formal academic work, Dr. Gradel has a consistent pattern of diversifying her skills. For example, in 2011, she completed her online teaching certification through the @One Online Teaching Certification Program, California Community College Chancellor's Office Telecommunication/Technology Infrastructure Program. In 2010, she completed a series of certifications through MoodleRooms, to both conduct and administer Moodle-hosted courses. In 2015, she completed the SUNY Instructional Design Competency Development Program Certificate Program. She is currently pursuing the SUNY Distance Learning Leadership (DLL) Certificate.

Department of Language, Learning & Leadership, College of Education

E262 Thompson Hall
State University of New York at Fredonia
Fredonia, NY 14063
(716) 673-3702
(716) 673-4664 fax