Randal Ernst , Ed.D.

Contact Information

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

Smith-Curtis 130C


(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

Awards and honors include:
Leola Bullock Multicultural Educator of the Year, Lincoln Public Schools 2016,
Geography Educators of Nebraska (GEON) Educator of The Year, 2015
Nebraskans for Civic Reform (NCR) Administrator of the Year, 2014
APA Co-Chair, National Summit on the Teaching of High School Psychology, 2014 to present
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
APA’s 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
National Council for History Education