Northcentral University
School of Education


Northcentral University was founded in 1996 with the goal of offering higher education to working professionals around the world. With no physical residency requirements and weekly start dates, NCU offers a rigorous, yet flexible academic experience designed to support passionate students achieve their professional learning goals.

With the availability of multiple fully online master’s and doctoral degrees, specializations, and micro-credentials, NCU’s School of Education is committed to developing K-12 and higher education teachers, researchers, and leaders for a variety of educational environments and challenges.


At Northcentral University, you will be connected to expert faculty in our engaging 1:1 teaching and learning model with available weekly starts. You will gain access to experienced 100% doctoral degreed faculty while joining students across the globe committed to scholarly learning, research, and professional growth.



PACE (Center for Professional and Continuing Education)

PACE offers affordable course offerings and workshops on relevant and cutting-edge professional development topics taught and designed by leading practitioners.

PACE offers the following helpful courses for educators around the topic of SEL:

Virtual Education Support Center (VESC)

The Virtual Education Support Center (VESC) hosts timely, effective resources for educators, students, caregivers, and communities engaged in virtual education. Connecting individuals and organizations with expert advice and training, NCU’s VESC provides tools and tips along with research and real-life examples to improve virtual teaching and learning.

Visit NCU’s Virtual Education Support Center for more information.

Academic Partnerships

Northcentral University creates educational partnerships customized for the unique learning needs of our valued partners across varied educational institutions and professional organizations, resulting in opportunities for a diverse student population to access an affordable quality education.

Learn more about Academic Partnerships at Northcentral University.

Community Relations & Events

Through community relations and events, Northcentral University’s diverse global community of students, alumni, staff, and faculty seek solutions to difficult challenges around the world and are equipped with the vision and mindset to improve the human condition by engaging in continual collaboration and education.

Learn more about the Community Relations and Events team.


Delivering career-long professional preparation and development

The mission of the School of Education at Northcentral University is to prepare professional educators at all levels to become effective leaders, reflective practitioners, and successful communicators within the diverse field of education. The School of Education’s mission is centered on improving teaching, learning, research and leadership contributions throughout all levels of human development and education.

Learn more about the School of Education.

A great deal of research over the last several decades validates the importance of social and emotional skills. Research shows that classrooms function more effectively and student learning increases when children have the skills to focus their attention, manage negative emotions, navigate relationships with peers and adults, and persist in the face of difficulty.

Social emotional learning (SEL) refers to the process of learning how to understand and manage emotions, express empathy, set goals, create positive relationships, and make responsible decisions. When applied in the classroom, SEL can help create a more supportive learning environment, enhance learning outcomes, and improve student behavior.

Northcentral University offers several graduate education programs with a focus in social emotional learning:

Curriculum is aligned to the five core competencies identified by the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL). Students will explore the concepts and benefits of SEL, including its relevance to equity, diversity and inclusion. Additionally, students will examine instructional strategies across different curricula and the role of emotional intelligence in SEL.

Northcentral University now offers an educational doctorate designed solely for the scholar-practitioner employed in various real-world educational settings charged with realizing school improvement. Areas such as leading through effective communication, data-based decision-making, collaborative problem-solving, and measured planning highlight key foundational learning components. A new culminating 3-chapter dissertation-in-practice provides a research experience addressing challenges within today’s applied educational environment.

Learn more about Northcentral’s EdD programs.

As a leader in online education, Northcentral University is a natural fit for advancing educators’ knowledge and expertise in K-12 remote teaching and learning. This innovative program extends educators’ thinking to consider the unique needs for remote instruction, including learning at a distance when online access is unavailable or unreliable.

Learn more about the Remote Teaching in K-12 program.

The Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Trauma-Informed Educational Practices will build on fundamental knowledge and skills related to teaching and learning with a focus on specific trauma-informed educational practices. This focus will extend across various educational settings and populations. Throughout this program, you will explore how trauma is realized throughout school settings and examine related educational strategies involved in mitigating trauma. Further, you will garner insight as to the practices needed to meet students “where they are at” and what it means to have a trauma-sensitive environment. This program offers an instructional approach to understanding trauma, rather than a clinical or psychological approach. Finally, you will explore the fundamentals of a trauma-informed approach to education, how trauma manifests in different populations, specific trauma-informed strategies for the classroom, and strengthening resilience among both students and educators.

Learn more about the program by clicking here.


Andy Riggle, PhD

DEAN, School of education

professor, School of education

Areas of Expertise:

  • Research Methodology
  • Statistical Analysis
  • School Improvement
  • Educational Leadership
  • Curriculum and Teaching
Ashley Babcock

Ashley Babcock, EdD

Associate DEAN, School of education

professor, School of education

Areas of Expertise:

  • Higher Educational Leadership
  • Qualitative Research Methods
  • Academic Support Services
  • Student Engagement, Retention, and Persistence
  • Adult Education
  • Veteran Education
  • Writing Across the Curriculum
Thomas Pucci, PhD

Thomas G. Pucci, PhD

Associate DEAN of Students, School of education

Areas of Expertise:

  • Athletic Sport Management
  • Athletic Coaching
  • Diversity in Athletic Leadership
  • Student Advising and Support
Linda Bloomberg, PhD

Linda Bloomberg, EdD

Associate Director of Faculty Support and Development

Professor, School of education

Areas of Expertise:

  • Academic Writing and Publishing
  • Qualitative Research
  • Adult and Higher Education
  • Distance Education
  • Jewish Education
  • Organizational Evaluation
Katie Buvoltz, PhD

Katie Buvoltz, PhD

Associate Director of Faculty Support and Development

Associate Professor, School of education

Areas of Expertise:

  • Adult Education
  • Distance Education
  • Organizational Development
  • Training and Development
Barbara Hall

Barbara Hall, PhD

Program Lead – Special Education, School of education

Associate Professor, School of education

Areas of Expertise:

  • Instructional Design and Curriculum Development
  • Online Learning and Distance Education
  • Asynchronous Discussions
  • Peer Dialogue
Amy Lyn, PhD

Amy E. Lyn, PhD

Director, Virtual Education Support Center

Assistant Professor, School of Education

Areas of Expertise:

  • K-12 Education
  • Social Emotional Learning
  • Curriculum and Instruction
  • Professional Learning for Educators
Brianna Parsons

Brianna Parsons, EdD

Director of Curriculum, SCHOOL OF education

ASSOCIATE Professor, School of Education

Areas of Expertise:

  • Higher Education Leadership
  • Community College Leadership
  • Curriculum Development
  • Research Design & Methods


Northcentral University celebrates the diversity of thought, action, and cultural groups within our community and are committed to equity for all people. We act on our belief that the educational journey will be enhanced if it is diverse in nature by actively promoting respect and understanding for different cultures, social groups and experiences.

Our Statement

We believe the definition of diversity is ever-changing. As such, diversity, equity, inclusion, and cultural competence represent an evolution of thought and experience, rather than a definable competency to master. We recognize that this definition is likely to change as we learn more about the various individuals that are represented amongst our community. Our current definition of diversity encompasses multiple dimensions and the intersectionality of those dimensions, acknowledging the internal, community, social, and institutional forces that shape each individual.

Our People

We are a pluralistic community and we take pride in the diversity of our members. We aim to have representation among our members (faculty, staff, students) in terms of socioeconomic status, gender, sex, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age, religious beliefs, nation of origin, educational background, ability, etc. We respect that our community represents different values, backgrounds, perspectives and identities. We value collegiality and encourage people who represent different groups to come together to share ideas in order to enrich our community and programmatic offerings.

Our Environment

We are committed to equity in education and strive to create an environment in which all members of our community are retained, graduate, feel connected, and thrive. NCU views access as a significant equity issue and uses its technology platforms and institutional policies to remove barriers to quality education. Our one-to-one model promotes intensive engagement between individual faculty and students. We prioritize the individual and the relationship. We strive to facilitate an environment where differences are celebrated, subconscious biases are examined, and everyone has an opportunity to positively examine their own identity with humility and curiosity.


Making an Effort to Connect with Remote Team Members is Linked to Reduced Stress, and Increased Positive Wellbeing and Productivity

Publish date: August 13, 2020

Last March, within a matter of days, COVID-19 was responsible for many members of the US workforce switching from working in-office to working at home. This threat to health and the economy, as well as sudden restrictions for interacting with colleagues, friends, and family members resulted in a surge in anxiety as a nation.

ETHE Ep. 20: Social Emotional Learning

Publish date: August 3, 2020

Northcentral University Podcast Series: In this episode, Dr. Amy Lyn explains social emotional learning (SEL) across the lifespan, including the value of social emotional development during the COVID-19 pandemic. She suggests what is on the horizon for SEL, including NCU’s recently launched specializations and certificates in social emotional learning.

Tips for Building Empathy and Inclusion in the Classroom

Publish date: June 25, 2020

Our country is hurting right now, which means our students are hurting. Schools, which are often a safe place of refuge, are unavailable. Educators must begin to prepare for students’ return, whatever that will look like.

Values Matter: Responding to racism, hatred, and intolerance

Publish date: June 2, 2020

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “There comes a time when silence is betrayal.” Ibram X. Kendi said, “There is justice. There is injustice. There is no neutrality. No sideline. No bleachers. No exits.” We are all in this together, and when we see injustice, our humanity requires that we speak up.

Autism Awareness Month

Publish date: April 2, 2019

Over the last few weeks, folks around the country have felt the disorienting effects of having their routine disrupted. These changes may make us feel inconvenienced at best and perhaps debilitatingly anxious at worst.

What if this is how life was all the time? What if the thing that made the world make sense was your schedule?