A portrait taken of Tiffany Karalis Noel sitting in her home office with her dog Dexter.

(Photo/ Brett Noel)

Office Hours Faculty Profile

Meet me in my (ad-hoc) office with Tiffany Karalis Noel


The shutdowns of the pandemic highlighted how much travel means to Tiffany Karalis Noel, clinical assistant professor and director of doctoral studies, in the department of learning and instruction. As she worked from home, she noticed how objects in her apartment, like the giant wall map of the world, came through on Zoom and fostered conversation with the PhD students she guides through their dissertations.

Even Dexter, her new puppy, helped add levity from his dog bed on her desk. “This is real life,” said Karalis Noel, who also enjoyed glimpses of the cats and children from other people’s screens. “It really provides an opportunity to build rapport with students, and with my colleagues, in ways that are easily prompted by what’s going on in my background.” 

Karalis Noel focuses her research on teacher education, mentoring relationships in higher education and the role of equity and inclusion in school environments. 

A new Doctor of Education, or EdD, program co-created by Karalis Noel won state approval this year. The online, part-time degree in “Learning and Teaching in Social Contexts,” expects to enroll its first class next year designed for working professionals interested in conducting research to solve problems in education.

The program could, for example, support a school district leader interested in implementing and evaluating the educational impact of an antiracist curriculum. “It’s an opportunity to address those problems of practice that you’re observing in your local, educational community,” she said.

As Karalis Noel looks ahead to this fall's return to campus, she plans to take elements of her virtual and home office into her space at Baldy Hall. Instead of the virtual door she kept open for students during the pandemic, she looks forward to leaving her real door open and seeing people in person again. A small new globe she’s marked with pins of places she wants to go – from the Galapagos Islands to Greece – will sit on her desk to foster conversation and help students consider the possibilities of research-related travel. “We’re definitely not going to take it for granted anymore,” she said.

In the photo:

1. Prince’s “Purple Rain” album got a lot of play this past year. The artist is a favorite, in part because of his connection to home – Chicago for Karalis Noel and Minneapolis for her husband. “We both grew up listening to a lot of Prince. It was something that we both really connected over when we met. So, when we are feeling stressed or feeling like we need to do something else other than stare at our laptop screens … something that we do is play our records. Even though it’s just the two of us and our two cats and dog, we’ll dance around the apartment. It’s a really great form of release for us.

2. Karalis Noel bought this world map with her husband, Brett after they were married in 2018. They use it to plan and chronicle their journeys. The COVID-19 restrictions elevated its importance. “We’ve been spending a lot more time standing in front of this map and just saying, ‘OK, so where are we going to go?’” she said.

3. Next to the wedding photo, there is a jigsaw puzzle of Madison, Wisc., home to the University of Wisconsin where they both went to college.

4. Dexter, who they got as a puppy from a Wisconsin friend last fall, has been happiest in his dog-bed perch on the desk. He was a silver lining for Karalis Noel and her husband during the pandemic. They knew they had the time to give him the walks he needed. “It’s just a joy to have that experience of raising a little puppy, which we both always wanted to do and never really felt the time was right,” she said. “He has been a light for both of us during this difficult time.”

Karalis Noel’s Research Areas
  • Access and Equity
  • Bullying
  • Curriculum and Instruction
  • Educator Preparation
  • English Education
  • ESL/ENL/Bilingual
  • Gender, Culture and Equity
  • Higher Education
  • Linguistic, Discourse and Sociocultural Context
  • Literacy
  • Professional/Staff Development
  • Qualitative Research Methods
  • Race, Inequality and Education
  • Social and Emotional Development