Dr. Catharine Biddle

Dr. Catharine Biddle is an Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership at the University of Maine. Her scholarship focuses on how rural schools and communities are responding to 21st century social and economic change and how youth and community members organize and lead rural educational change.

Dr. Biddle is co-Principal Investigator of the Maine Rural Vitality Lab, which is a cross-institutional collaboration with research faculty at Colby College focused on supporting healthy developmental ecologies for rural youth. Dr. Biddle also serves on the Executive Committee for the AERA Rural Education Special Interest Group and is a co-editor of the National Rural Education Association’s scholarly journal, The Rural Educator. She also serves on the editorial boards for the Journal of Research in Rural Education and the Journal of Rural Social Sciences.

Recent Rural Publications:

Biddle, C., Sutherland, D.H. & McHenry-Sorber, E. (2019). On resisting “awayness” and being a good insider: Early career scholars revisit Coladarci’s Swan Song a decade later. Journal of Research in Rural Education, 35(7), 1-9.

Azano, A.& Biddle, C. (2019). Disrupting dichotomous traps and problem formation in rural education. The Rural Educator, 40(2), 1-13.

Biddle, C., Mette, I., & Mercado, A. (2018). Partnering with schools for community development: Power imbalances in a rural community collaborative addressing childhood adversity. Community Development, 49(2), 191-210.

Biddle, C. & Azano, A. (2016). Constructing the “rural school problem”: Rurality and rural education research over the past century. Review of Research in Education, 40(1), 298-325

Current Rural Projects:

The Rural Vitality Lab is currently engaged in a long-term research-practice partnership with rural Maine schools to address childhood adversity and trauma in their communities. This work is supported by the American Educational Research Association, the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, and the Sewell Foundation.

Lab website: ruralvitalitylab

The Landscapes of Opportunity project is in partnership with the Maine Forest Collaborative (a program of the Rural Aspirations Project) and examines educational support for rural youth transitions between schooling and the new forest economy. Rural, forest-located communities all over the United States and the world are looking at the new future of work within forest-located places across recreation, industry and conservation. This project examines how to best prepare youth and schools for this economic transition in ways that also support long-term community vitality.