Research in Teacher Education Lab



The Research in Teacher Education (RITE) lab is a cross-departmental and collaborative research program at NIU related to K-12 teacher education. The RITE lab generates new knowledge through rigorous, relevant research across five strands:

  • Describing theoretical mechanisms, processes, or phenomena related to teacher education.
  • Describing relationships among teaching and teacher education constructs, and mediators and moderators of such relationships.
  • Testing theory about the design and impact of teacher education.
  • Estimating the implementation feasibility, and effects, of theoretically-grounded teacher education interventions or strategies.
  • Validating inferences derived from measures related to teaching and teacher education

The RITE lab seeks to initiate a focused, coordinated program of rigorous, relevant research around K-12 teacher education in five strands. Strands 1, 2, and 3 constitute basic research, whereas Strands 4 and 5 represent more applied aims. While all lab projects will address one of the five strands, teacher education is conceived broadly to include teacher education at different developmental stages (e.g., pre-service teacher, induction, in-service), teacher education that is formal and informal, and teacher education for different contexts (e.g., school levels, subjects).

Visit the ResearchGate website.

RITE Lab Team

Our lab team consists of several core team members as well as many affiliates from within the COE and beyond, including faculty, undergraduate and graduate students and K-12 educators. The core team will bring to bear diverse theoretical, methodological or practical expertise with which to direct specific research projects and grant proposals. The core team members bring specific expertise in research methodology, teacher education, reading, special education and assessment.

  • Natalie Andzik (associate professor, SEED) - Her research focuses on training pre-and in-service teachers and practitioners how to implement best practices when supporting the academic and social needs of students with severe disabilities and students who display problem behavior. Natalie was the recipient of the "Excellence in Research and Artistry Award" from the College of Education in 2020. She has published numerous articles in high-ranking special education journals such as Exceptional Children, Teaching Exceptional Children, Augmentative and Alternative Communication, and Behavior Modification. She is currently an external evaluator on a grant funded by the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP).
  • Olha Ketsman (assistant Professor, ETRA ) - Her research focuses on pre-service and in-service teacher education, technology integration, blended and distance education, instructional design. Her research has been published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals such as E-Learning and Digital Media, International Journal of Mobile and Blended Learning, World Journal on Educational Technology, among others. She frequently presents her research at international, national and regional professional conferences and annual meetings.
  • Todd Reeves (associate professor, ETRA) - His research addresses problems related to teacher education and development; educational assessment; and online learning; as well as problems that exist at the points of intersection among these domains. His work has been published in Teaching and Teacher Education, Journal of Education for Teaching, Action in Teacher Education, and The Teacher Educator, and he has served on grant projects funded by the U.S. Department of Education, the National Science Foundation, and the Illinois State Board of Education.


Our lab involves research-practice partnerships with the following K-12 public school districts:

Current/Former Students Engaged

  • Chynar Amanova
  • Marissa Bamberger
  • Anthony Clemons
  • Valerie Hamilton
  • William Holderfield
  • Kara Kennedy
  • Chris Kraner
  • Saurav Mukhophay
  • Akosua Virago Poku
  • Mary Sanderson
  • Wade Scharlau
  • Jeonghwa Oh
  • Morgan Ortoleva

Grants/Contracts Involving RITE Personnel

  • FY24 Evaluation of Grow Your Own Teacher Education (GYO) Initiative, Illinois Board of Higher Education, 2023-24 (T. Reeves, O. Ketsman, and X. Burgin, co-principal investigators)
  • FY22 and FY23 Evaluation of Grow Your Own Teacher Education (GYO) Initiative, Illinois Board of Higher Education, 2022-23 (T. Reeves and O. Ketsman, co-project evaluators)
  • CTE Improvement Project, Illinois State Board of Education, 2021-25 (T. Reeves, Project Evaluator)
  • Barb City STEAM Team, Nita M. Lowey 21st Century Community Learning Centers Program, U.S. Department of Education, 2021-23 (T. Reeves, project evaluator)
  • Crete-Monee School District 201U Mentoring Program Needs Assessment, Crete-Monee School District 201U, 2021 (T. Reeves, principal investigator)
  • Evaluation of Grow Your Own Teacher Education (GYO) Initiative, Illinois Board of Higher Education, 2021 (T. Reeves, co-project evaluator)
  • Funding Support for Scholarly Activity and Curricular Innovation for UFA Faculty, College of Education, Northern Illinois University, 2021 (T. Reeves, principal investigator)
  • Biology Teaching Assistant Project 2.0 (BioTAP 2.0): Advancing Research, Synthesizing Evidence, Research Coordination Network—Undergraduate Biology Education, National Science Foundation, 2015-21 (T. Reeves, member, steering committee)

Get Involved

All interested parties will have access to a reading library comprising important theoretical and methodological resources, and a list of relevant grant funders and programs. Key players and RITE lab affiliates, including students, will jointly and regularly participate in freely available professional development opportunities as well (e.g., Institute of Education Sciences YouTube resources, Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness webinars, readings-based discussions). We are also hosting collaborative, collegial and open lab meetings at which each key player provides projects updates and solicits feedback will support project leads vis-à-vis project design through implementation or submission.

Contact Todd Reeves at, director of the RITE lab, for more information or to get involved.

Contact Us

Educational Technology, Research and Assessment
Gabel Hall 208
DeKalb, IL 60115
815-753-9388 (fax)

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