Nicole Ralston | University of Portland

Nicole Ralston

Nicole RalstonAssociate Professor of Education

“I’m an elementary teacher at heart. Part of what brought me to University of Portland was to work with the Multnomah County Partnership for Education Research (MCPER), which is a research-practice partnership (RPP) serving the Multnomah County school districts. Much of my work has revolved around applied research in partnership with the districts.

We have over 10 research projects running this summer, ranging from understanding how to best empower teacher leaders to understanding the impacts of the pandemic on the learning and attitudes of students. MCPER employs three doctoral students as doctoral fellows, so I’m lucky enough to collaborate with them on projects we complete for the districts. And part of MCPER’s mission is to prepare doctoral students for this kind of work, which we do through Dr. Jackie Waggoner’s class ED 603: Research for Evaluation and Action. I love collaborating with her and her students to provide district-driven research that truly serves these nearby communities.

In addition, I’m working on a cross-disciplinary and cross-institution project with Dr. Tim Doughty in the School of Engineering to improve the teaching, learning, and assessment in Schools of Engineering across the nation. Finally, I’m wrapping up a book study I ran with Dr. Rebecca Smith the past six months – we engaged over 50 faculty members in reading Zaretta Hammond’s Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain text (which I highly recommend). We’re excited to see how these faculty members changed their teaching based on their reading.

My scholarship is a constant loop of learning and supporting our students with what I learn, and bringing real examples of research projects into teaching our students how to conduct research themselves to improve outcomes for students and teachers. This cyclical loop keeps my teaching fresh and relevant to the ongoing struggles in K-12 schools.”

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