Research that moves us forward.

Our collective programs, aligned with UNLV and the College of Education’s missions, are State of Nevada-supported programs designed to inspire selected teacher candidates to lead and engage deeply in meaningful practices within K-12 education, while creating a space for innovative educational research.

The Research Program was created to support research projects that examined unique and novel pedagogical approaches and educational engagements that also include at least two undergraduate fellows who would be inducted into the research process. Fellows then have this as additional optional opportunity to gain experience conducting research on education as part of a research team.

Mini-Grant Program

The Nevada Educator Preparation Institute & Collaborative (NV-EPIC) in collaboration with the Nevada Institute on Educator Preparation, Retention, and Research (NIEPRR), Nevada Institute on Teaching & Educator Preparation (NITEP) are excited to announce the awarding of seven (7) mini grants totaling $207,612 for the 2022-2023 academic year.

Proposals were received from partners across Nevada and UNLV faculty with a strong focus on research that engages the meaningful recruitment, preparation, and retention of Nevada educators, with commitments towards the enhancement of pedagogical practices for diverse learners.

2022-23 Funded Projects

Critical Participatory Action Research to Support Community EmbeddedSTEM Education, Phase 2

PI: Katherine Wade-Jaimes, Assistant Professor – Department of Teaching & Learning: UNLV College of Education

Abstract: This project is phase two of a critical participatory action research (CPAR) project designed with community members. The goals of this project are to address the STEM education needs of the local community and to support teachers in developing an understanding of community-based, culturally relevant STEM teaching, potentially impacting teacher identity and retention. Building on a successful initial phase in which a community research collective was developed, this phase focuses on two community-generated goals: development of a workshop for k-12 science teachers and development of a community garden/workshop for community members. Using CPAR and Discourse analysis, this project will explore the following: 1) how participation in CPAR impacts STEM identity of community members; 2) how workshops developed by the research collective impact teachers’ perceptions of students’ and communities’ funds of knowledge and cultural wealth; 3) how workshops developed by the research collective impact community members’ perceptions of STEM education.

Radically Literate Discrit-e analysis: Preservice teachers’ of color lived experiences of racist ableism and preparedness

PI: Dr. Marla Goins, Assistant Professor, UNLV COE Teaching & Learning

CoPIs: Dr. Danielle Mireles, Assistant Professor; Dr. Norma A. Marrun Associate Professor; and Dr. Christine Clark, Professor, UNLV COE Teaching & Learning

Research has examined the intersections between race and disability and racism and ableism in PK-12 and teacher education. The proposed research draws upon Dis/ability Critical Race Theory or DisCrit and racial literacies-informed data analytical frameworks to unpack deficit assumptions and dominant narratives about racism and ableism. Through qualitative individual and focus group interviews with Pre-Service Teachers of Color and members of Families/Communities of Color, the research team, working in partnership with Make the Road Nevada and No Racism in Schools #1865, both community-embedded organizations in Southern Nevada, will center these participants’ lived experiences and surface their counterstories to problematize master narratives about intelligence and ability. By rethinking how teacher education programs prepare Pre-Service Teachers of Color to recognize and respond when they see racism/ableism in their schools, including by partnering with the families and communities of Students of Color, the proposed research will expand and deepen education research in Nevada.

Addressing Teacher Retention and Wellbeing through Trauma-Informed Support

PI: Dr. Kaitlin Clinnin, Assistant Professor UNLV COLA English Dept.

Co-PI: Dr. Chllyis Scott, Associate Professor UNLV COE Teaching & Learning

Teacher retention has become a significant concern in the Clark County School District (CCSD). Although attention has been paid to teacher burnout, traumatic experiences as an underlying cause of burnout have not been fully investigated. This study takes a two-part approach to understand how teachers’ primary, secondary, and collective traumatic experiences are affecting their job satisfaction, performance, and career plans. The first part will examine CCSD teacher exit surveys to determine if symptoms of trauma contribute to teachers’ separation. The second part of the study will involve interviews with current teachers about their experiences with trauma, trauma’s effects on their job performance and career plans, and professional factors that help or hinder their wellbeing. Findings will inform recommendations at the district, school, and individual level to address one potential cause of teacher burnout and separation.

Transitioning New Teachers

PI: Dr. Brenda Pearson, Director of Strategic Initiatives, Clark County Educator Association

Abstract: Teacher turnover and attrition matters. Although modest turnover and attrition might positively impact schools if the departing teachers are ineffective, patterns of chronic turnover are instructionally, financially, and organizationally detrimental. This discontinuity destabilizes professional communities and negatively impacts student outcomes. Commonly, schools who experience patterns of chronic turnover and attrition employ a disproportionately large amount of novice teachers and lack the social capital created within collegial relationships. Curbing the turnover and attrition of educators begins by ensuring that systems are in place to support pre-service educators as they enter the profession. Increasing the number of educators who are serving in our economically disadvantaged and ethnically diverse communities requires an intentional and sustained approach to building high-retention and supportive pathways into teaching and strategies to support induction This project proposes to perform a needs assessment to better understand the experience of first year educators who serve in economically disadvantaged and ethnically diverse schools.

Linking Latino Leaders of Nevada

PI: Dr. LeAnne Salazar Montoya, Assistant Professor, UNLV COE Educational Psychology, Leadership, and Higher Education

Abstract: The primary mission of this grant is to create a network of Latinx leaders providing support, resources, and professional development to accelerate the retention, recruitment, and ascension of Latinx leaders in Clark County. This project has potential to impact the restructuring of policies and practices related to recruitment, retention and professional development over time and to provide a stronger foundation for a more diverse workforce. Linking Latinx Leaders herein referred to as the “L3” Professional Development Pilot Project aims to support Latinx educators and administrators by providing them a safe space to network, learn, and prepare for next level leadership. With support of Latino Network of Clark County, UNLV is proposing the L3-Linking Latino Leaders pilot project with the intent of continuing the project’s mission beyond the grant funding to target active educators and support their retention and long term professional goals.

Building Teacher Leadership Capacity in Nevada Schools

PI: Jacob Skousen, Assistant Professor, UNLV COE Educational Psychology, Leadership, and Higher Education

CoPI: Peter Wiens Associate Professor, UNLV COE Department of Teaching & Learning

Abstract: While schools are highly complex organizations and leadership has been found to be an important factor to increase student achievement, the principal alone is unable to successfully lead schools to better outcomes. Instead, a shared leadership approach, in which teacher leaders engage in and collaborate in school leadership, have been found to positively influence pedagogy and student achievement. This proposal seeks funding to explore how a developed graduate certificate in teacher leadership has impacted teachers who participated in the funded certificate program. Specifically, this proposed study seeks to understand how engaging in the teacher leadership training program may shape how teachers and principals understand and practice teacher leadership. Through mixed methods, we propose to collect and analyze quantitative and qualitative data that will help broaden the collective understanding of teacher leadership and how a university-based graduate program can influence practitioner understanding of teacher leadership.

Should I stay or should I go?: Exploring teacher retention in Southern Nevada

PI: PI: Mr. Grant Hanevold, Chief Education Officer – The Public Education Foundation

Abstract: The Clark County School District’s (CCSD) chronic teacher shortage has become a crisis. What are the contributing factors which cause certified educators to leave teaching within 1-3 years of starting their careers? Nearly 1,000 of an approximate 18,000 licensed staffers have left the school district since August 2021. Considering Nevada is ranked 48 th in the nation in education; losing teachers at this rate annually only compounds this deficit in quality education. What are the factors in their decision to leave their careers in the first three years? What impact does diversity, working conditions, leadership, and compensation play as a factor of leaving? Can a mentoring program for new teachers assist in keeping them in their teaching careers? Are the various teacher preparation programs making a difference in retention? This research project will ask these critical questions to various groups of educators.

Research initiatives are made possible thanks to generous funding from the Nevada Department of Education to support the Nevada Institute on Educator Preparation (NITEP), the Nevada Institute on Educator Preparation, Retention, & Research (NIEPRR), and the Nevada Educator Preparation Institute & Collective (NV-EPIC).

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