April 22, 2024

The National Association for School-University Partnerships (NASUP) has appointed two leading scholars in the field of school-university partnerships as the inaugural Co-Chairs of its Research Committee.

Dr. Logan Rutten, Assistant Professor at the University of North Dakota, and Dr. Janna Dresden, Clinical Professor Emeritus at the University of Georgia, were jointly appointed to a three-year term of service by NASUP President Dr. Eva Garin.

The NASUP Research Committee is charged with supporting, advocating for, and amplifying research within, and about, Professional Development Schools and similar school-university partnerships—and cultivating an inclusive community of researchers who are committed to, and engaged in, research in this field. The committee will be comprised of a diverse group of P-12- and university-based individuals devoted to collaborative inquiry in this field of study.

Garin described the significance of launching the new Research Committee, a signature accomplishment from her year as NASUP President. She reflected, “As President of the National Association for School-University Partnerships, I believe that having a Research Committee to help investigate best practices, strategic initiatives, and global opportunities for school-university partnerships is an important aspect of our Association’s new focus on school-university partnerships. We are fortunate to have Drs. Rutten and Dresden leading this groundbreaking initiative. They both bring years of experience in the field of school-university partnerships and are leading researchers in this area. They will bring a collaborative, think-tank model to the Association and to the field.”

The Research Committee reffirms NASUP as a leader in the field of partnership research. The Co-Chairs are charged with forging ties to other organizations, including the American Educational Research Association’s School-University Partnership Research Special Interest Group, and with disseminating the recently created National Collaborative Research Agenda for PDSs and Similar School-University Partnerships. 

Co-Chairs Rutten and Dresden were appointed following a national search and interview process. Both scholars are grounded in extensive experience in P-12 classrooms, and they bring a strong commitment to a broad vision of inquiry encompassing practitioner inquiry and a diverse range of additional methodological orientations.

Rutten is a teacher educator whose research examines practitioner inquiry as a form of professional learning for educators across the career span within school-university partnerships such as Professional Development Schools (PDSs). His recent scholarship surrounding school-university partnerships appears in journals such as School-University Partnerships, PDS Partners: Bridging Research to Practice, Journal of Teacher Education, Action in Teacher Education, Teaching and Teacher Education, and The New Educator.

“The charge of NASUP’s inaugural Research Committee underscores our Association’s commitment to rigorous, collaborative inquiry within and about school-university partnerships such as Professional Development Schools as premier contexts for learning and human development,” said Rutten. “The Research Committee will lead research and grant-writing projects, offer trainings in specific research approaches such as practitioner inquiry that are appropriate for partnership work, create spaces for mentoring and collaboration, and provide intellectual stewardship for the field.”

Reflecting her deep commitment to integrating theory and practice, Dresden has alternated between roles in academia and in environments of practice throughout her career in education and participated in research projects in these diverse spaces. Her recent scholarship surrounding school-university partnerships appears in journals such as School-University Partnerships, the Peabody Journal of Education, and in numerous edited volumes.

“This is a watershed moment for our Association,” Dresden commented.  “Collaborative inquiry aimed at the improvement of practice is a foundational principle of NASUP, and the establishment of a Research Committee foregrounds the importance of this work to the members of the Association.”

In the near future, the Co-Chairs will be issuing a call for Research Committee members representing a wide range of methodological orientations to school-university partnership research.

Prospective members from both P-12 schools and institutions of higher education are strongly encouraged to apply. Expressions of preliminary interest may be emailed to both Dr. Rutten and Dr. Dresden.