Randal Ernst , Ed.D.

Contact Information

Randal Ernst , Ed.D.
Assistant Professor of Education
Education Department Chair
Office location

Smith-Curtis 323

Office hours

9:00-11:00, Monday/Wednesday

2:00-4:00, Tuesday/Thursday


(402) 465-2310


An NWU alum, I have been an educational practitioner for over 30 years with the Lincoln Public Schools (Nebraska). The lone break in that run occurred when I took a leave and moved to Australia to help infuse the research connecting education and well-being in a K-!2 system around Melbourne. I'm the father of three daughters, one of whom also graduated from NWU.


Ed.D., Teaching, Learning, Curriculum, University of Nebraska, 2014
M.A., Historical Studies, Nebraska Wesleyan University, 2007
B.A., Psychology, Nebraska Wesleyan University, 1983

Courses taught

Positive Education (Master's program)
Becoming a Reflective Practitioner (Master's program)
Education in a Pluralistic Society (Undergraduate)
Human Development and Learning (Undergraduate)

Research and academic interests

My most recent research revolves around the effectiveness of professional learning communities (PLCs). I'm also involved in the teaching of skills (resilience, gratitude, many more) that promote emotional well-being. Finally, I often work with a team that helps teachers and school administrators understand the guiding principles behind and the barriers preventing culturally competent thoughts and behaviors.

Professional and community affiliations, certifications and awards

Selected Awards and Honors

Annual "Randal M. Ernst Lecture", established by the American Psychological Association, 2017

American Psychological Association Presidential Citation for Leadership and Vision in Psychology Pedagogy, 2017

Leola Bullock Multicultural Educator of the Year, Lincoln Public Schools, 2016

Geography Educators of Nebraska (GEON) Educator of The Year, 2015

Civic Nebraska Administrator of the Year, 2014

Co-Chair, National Summit on the Teaching of High School Psychology, 2014 to 2017

Broken Bow High School Academic Hall of Fame, 2010

Nebraska Council for the Social Studies Outstanding Achievement in Social Studies
Education Award, 2007

The NAACP Service and Dedication to Children Award, 2004

Time Warner “Crystal Apple” National Teacher Award Winner, 1999

University of Nebraska Distinguished Educator Award, 1998

Nebraska Student Council Sponsor of The Year Award, 1995

National Psychology Teacher of the Year, High School Division, 1994

Professional memberships include:
American Psychological Association
American Education Research Association
National Council for Social Studies
National Social Studies Supervisors Association