Teacher Education and Leadership


Our Program

The School of Teacher Education and Leadership is internationally known for its innovated research, teaching and scholarship. Our mission is to inspire and prepare reflective and effective educators, scholars, and leaders through student-centered learning experiences; diverse knowledge and thought; school, community, and global engagement; and research and innovation that inform practice. Applicants interested in pursuing a Ph.D. in Education with an interest in the concentration area of Instructional Leadership are eligible for the PDRF. To learn more about the Ph.D. in Education, please visit the TEAL website.

TEAL’s PDRF student will be advised and mentored by Dr. Colby Tofel-Grehl and housed in the doctoral concentration areas of either Science Education or Cultural Studies. Dr. Tofel-Grehl is principal investigator of multiple National Science Foundation funded grants as well as a Department of Education GEAR UP grant.  The PDRF student will work closely with Tofel-Grehl on her primary area of expertise—teacher professional development and curriculum design focused on issues of equity and access.  The driving question for this line of research is: How do the structures, explicit and implicit, within schools and classrooms either foster or hinder minoritized youth’s STEM identity and interest?

The PDRF will support research activities (e.g., data management, collection, analysis) related to Tofel-Grehl’s National Science Foundation CAREER grant looking at the development of a novel professional development model for rural teachers of Indigenous Hawaiian youth.  Over a period of four years, the PDRF will be mentored by Dr. Tofel-Grehl on and gather rich experience in: data collection, data analysis, preparing research proposals for approval by Institutional Review Boards, dissemination of study results to educators, policymakers, and the larger research community, scholarly writing (for publication) and presentations (at local and national conferences), grant writing, and reviewing research proposals for national conferences. The PDRF will also be mentored in all aspects of the academic job market, including the: application materials and process, campus job talk, and the interview and job offer negotiation process. 

PDRF Perks
  • Four-year fellowship
  • $10,000 scholarship (each year for four years)
  • Full-tuition award (each year for four years)
  • $25,000 departmental assistantship (each year for four years)
  • Health insurance
  • Enrollment in Research Certification
  • Exclusive socials, special guests, and trainings
  • One-on-one support from the Associate Vice President

Application Requirements

Please contact Dr. Colby Tofel-Grehl at colby.tg@usu.edu with your questions.

  • Meet all School of Graduate Studies requirements for general admission to USU
  • Have at least a 3.5 cumulative GPA
  • Complete your master’s degree in a related field
  • Apply to the Ph.D. program by February 1, 2022

Colby Tofel-Grehl
Our Faculty

The Presidential Doctoral Research Fellow will work with Dr. Colby Tofel-Grehl, an associate professor of STEM Education at Utah State University.

Dr. Colby Tofel-Grehl’s scholarship interrogates the structures, systems, and practices that foster inequities across STEM learning environments. She designs teacher professional development and curricular materials within frameworks of rightful presence and critical theories to facilitate minoritized rural youth’s success within STEM spaces. This work leverages the affordances of Making and data science to center students’ identities and cultures within authentic and empowering STEM work. She is principal investigator of over $19 million in federal grants, including a National Science Foundation CAREER grant to study and develop a new model of rural STEM teacher professional learning and a U.S. Department of Education GEAR-UP grant. She received the 2019 Award for Significant Contribution to Educational Measurement and Research Methodology from Division D of the American Educational Research Association and the 2020 Early Career Science Teacher Educator of the Year Award from the Association for Science Teacher Educators.

To learn more about Dr. Tofel-Grehl’s work, please visit her USU Faculty Webpage