About the Nystrand Center

Director's Message

Tasha Laman

Dr. Ray Nystrand said in the spring of 1999, "People in schools know some things we don't know, we exist to work with the profession, and we could not be effective if we were not engaged." Dr. Nystrand's beliefs about education are the foundation of the Nystrand Center of Excellence in Education's (NCEE) mission--transformation through collaboration. During the first few months as the new director, I met with faculty members who direct projects through the NCEE. Each of the initiatives works in collaboration with educators to transform teaching and learning. I am moved by the collective commitment of district personnel, university faculty, UofL students, and the public school students we serve, to learn with and from one another, and to engage local communities in what is possible in education, not typical.

As I step into this new role, I look forward to extending and elevating the work in the Nystrand Center by building and supporting a strong research foundation in order to study NCEE initiatives and to disseminate findings in publications and presentations. It is an exciting time at the University of Louisville, and the Nystrand Center of Excellence is committed to its history and to its future collaborations and transformations.

Nystrand-Offutt scholars

Nystrand-Offutt Scholar

The 2018 Nystrand-Offutt Scholar is Dr. Stephen Tucker, Assistant Professor in the Department of Early Childhood Education. He was selected for his proposal, "Fingu: Understandings of number in kindergartners' embodied mathematics." Emerging research indicates that interacting with the iPad app, Fingu can positively influence development of early number sense in young children.

The Nystrand-Offutt Scholar is supported by Nancy and George Stablein through the Offutt funds named for Nancy’s parents. The Nystrand-Offutt Scholar is an early career faculty member engaged in research related to the Nystrand Center's work. The funds provide time for the Scholar to conduct research during the spring semester, analyze data and write during the summer, and travel to present about the work at a national conference during the following year. Applications are accepted each fall.

Past Winners

Nystrand-Offutt scholars

  • 2017, Dr. Ann Herd, "Veterans' and Employers' Perspectives on Military Transition Experiences."
  • 2016, Dr. Sheron Mark, "Culturally Relevant STEM Education: A place for Art and Social Justice."
  • 2015, Dr. Stefanie Wooten-Burnett, "The Development of Elementary Teacher Candidates' Teacher Efficacy Through the Use of Cognitive Coaching."
  • 2014, Dr. James Chisholm, "Using Backchanneling Technology to Enhance Adolescent's Response to Literature During Inquiry-based Discussions," and Dr. Rob Pennington, "Collaborative Partnerships in Writing Research for Students with Intellectual Disabilities"
  • 2013, Dr. Jill Adelson, "Cognitive Coaching and Gifted Learners: Examining Effects of Student Achievement and Academic Self-Concept"
  • 2012, Dr. Shelley Thomas, "From the Institute to the Classroom: Is Culturally Responsive Teaching Becoming Part of Teacher Practice?"
  • 2011, Dr. Monica Delano, "Reading to Engage Children with Autism in Language Learning (RECALL)"
  • 2010, Dr. Kristi King, "Project BALANCE (Beneficial Activity Levels and Nutritional Choices Everyday)"


In 1987 the Center for the Collaborative Advancement of the Teaching Profession was established by the Kentucky Council on Higher Education, with support from the Governor and the General Assembly, as a result of a joint application by the University of Louisville and Jefferson County Public Schools. With the approval of the Council on Postsecondary Education and the UofL Board of Trustees, the Center was renamed the Raphael O. Nystrand Center of Excellence in Education on September 27, 1999, in honor of Dean Nystrand, who led the School of Education from 1978 until his death in May 1999.

nystrand center logo

The purpose of this Center, which is one of five Commonwealth Centers of Excellence and the only one in education, is to develop, implement and study collaborative efforts to improve teaching.

The Nystrand Center is grateful to all those who make its work and vision possible, and who support our ability to maintain the legacy of former Dean Ray Nystrand, for whom the Center is named.


Transformation through Collaboration: The Nystrand Center of Excellence in Education is dedicated to the continual support of educational excellence for all students made possible through innovative thinking, transformational educator preparation, professional development, and supportive learning environments.

Contact Us

The director of the Nystrand center is Dr. Tasha Tropp Laman. The Center currently has a number of special initiatives under its umbrella that are led by faculty from across the CEHD.

For more information about the Center, or its projects, e-mail Denise Dadisman, or call 502-852-3408.