The National Center for Research on Rural Education (R2Ed), funded in July, 2009 for five years by the U.S. Department of Education's Institute of Education Sciences (IES), is housed in the Nebraska Center for Research on Children, Youth, Families and Schools (CYFS) at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
The long-term goals of the Rural Education Center are to (a) improve in rural settings students' acquisition of reading and science knowledge and skills by identifying effective practices that lead to the systematic provision of evidence-based instruction in rural settings; and (b) establish an infrastructure for conducting and disseminating nationally-relevant, cutting-edge research and leadership related to rural education.
The Center's immediate research objective is to identify and validate elements of a practically-relevant, research-based framework for teacher professional development, including mechanisms of delivery (e.g., technology-based distance delivery), in the rural context. The Center is invested in identifying effective school, teacher, and family supports to help advance the learning of students in rural settings, with a particular focus on reading and science instruction.
The research will contribute to data-based understandings of what works, for whom, and under what conditions in the rural context in the areas of instruction/education, professional development of teachers, and related issues (e.g., family-school relationships; parent involvement; and development of needed skills and competencies for school-based paraprofessionals). In addition, the R2Ed Center will broadly disseminate findings in accessible formats to educators and researchers to promote the conduct and use of high-quality rural education research on a larger scale.
The R2Ed Center is comprised of four core leadership teams: Research Operations, Statistics and Methodology, Rural Education Leadership Institute, and Rural Outreach and Coordination. In unique ways, the Steering Committee and various Advisory Boards (i.e., the State Leadership Advisory Board, the National Leadership Advisory Board, the National Research Advisory Board, and the Blue Ribbon Advisory Board of Nebraska) will provide guidance in the activities of these teams.