Beth Rankin is an Assistant Professor at the College of Education, get to know her in this faculty highlight!
What led you to Oregon State University? How long have you worked for the College of Education?
I was excited to join the largest university in the state of Oregon for many reasons. I particularly appreciate the quality hands-on experiences that my teacher candidates are receiving in the Elementary Education Double Degree program.
If you do research, what kind of research do you do? Can you give us the “elevator pitch” of a current or recent project?
In the past, my research has primarily focused on secondary traumatic stress in K-12 educators. That is to say, K-12 teachers “absorb” personal trauma from working with traumatized students. This trauma causes teachers to experience PTSD-like symptoms. My research has shown this is particularly prevalent in female teachers. More recently, my research has focused on the stresses of teacher candidates who are entering their internship experiences during Covid. Regardless of the research project I have embarked on, I feel prioritizing the socioemotional wellness of teachers is critical.
What made you decide to engage in that kind of research/work?
My experiences as a former elementary teacher in a Title I school led me to understand first hand the trauma that teachers develop vicariously as a result of working with traumatized students. I know how devasting this can be for teachers and results in high rates of attrition in K-12. These personal experiences have made studying secondary traumatic stress a priority.
What is your favorite part about your job?
I enjoy helping my students make connections between my course material and their hands-on experiences in their elementary classrooms as teacher candidates.
What do you like to do in your free time, outside of work?
The majority of my time outside of work is spent thinking about, training for, and playing volleyball. Although I’m learning to embrace the outdoor lifestyle of Oregon!