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.