Principal Investigator andDepartment: Jayne Downey, Education

Co-PI Name(s) and Department(s):

  • Ann Ewbank, Education
  • Jennie Luebeck, Mathematical Sciences
  • Sarah Schmitt-Wilson, Education
  • Tena Versland, Education
  • Nigel Waterton, Education
  • Megan Wickstrom, Mathematical Sciences

 Funding Organization: Montana State University Vice President for Research, Economic Development and Graduate Education (VPREDGE)

 Funder Program Name: Research Expansion Funds

 Project Summary:

For the past 3 years CRRE faculty fellows have been engaged in an intensive effort to address the rural teacher shortage through 1) building a national and global rural research network and infrastructure (e.g., hosting an international rural research symposium at MSU in August 2018 with attendees from 6 countries and 18 states), 2) developing 4 rural-specific programs for Montana (Rural Student Teaching; Rural Practicum; Rural Field Experience; Rural Professional Learning) and 3) seeking grant funding in support of rural education research via proposals to NSF, USDOE, and IES.  Anecdotal evidence and evaluation data from our rural-focused programs suggest that these initiatives have profound impacts on pre-service and in-service teachers as well as other stakeholders (e.g., school administrators, rural community members, MSU faculty). VPREDGE funding will allow our team to formally investigate these claims and contribute to the empirical literature on best practices for rural teacher preparation, recruitment, retention, and professional growth. 

MSU Research Expansion funding for this proposal builds on previous support provided by the  College of EHHD ($36,000) and increases the CRRE’s research capacity by allowing us to:  1) Design and conduct a set of discovery research activities to systematically and empirically investigate anecdotal claims of impact and effectiveness resulting from 4 rural-specific programs; 2) Collect and analyze new data from additional offerings of the Rural Student Teaching, Practicum, and Field Experience programs with an embedded research design that includes data gathered from all stakeholder groups before, during, and after the experiences; 3) Form an interdisciplinary team at MSU to design and pilot further research to address pressing needs of rural teachers, schools, and communities; 4) Leverage results from previous work and new data for procurement of long-term research funding from federal and nonprofit sources (e.g, USDOE, NSF, Spencer Foundation, USDA) and 5) Elevate the status of MSU and the CRRE as national and international leaders for interdisciplinary research at the intersection of rural issues, teacher preparation and support, STEM education, and MSU outreach.