Professor Jayne Downey

Jayne Downey is a Professor in the Department of Education at Montana State University in Bozeman, MT where she serves as the Director of the Center for Research on Rural Education.
Jayne Downey

Her academic background is in the domain of Educational Psychology and she has worked in the field of educator preparation for over 20 years. Her research is focused on strengthening the preparation of prospective rural teachers and improving outcomes of P-20 education across rural and remote contexts. Dr. Downey is actively engaged in rural education research across state, regional, and national contexts in the USA. She also serves the international rural education community as an editor for the Australian and International Journal of Rural Education; co-founder of the Rural Education International Research Alliance; and as director for the 2018 International Symposium for Innovation in Rural Education, celebrating rural education and the research which informs rural practice.


Montana State University — Center for Research on Rural Education


Azano, A., Downey, J., & Brenner, D. (2019). Preparing pre-service teachers for rural schools. In Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Education. Oxford University Press.

Ledger, S. & Downey, J. (2018). Editorial: Aligning AIJRE research with the Independent Review into Regional, Rural and Remote Education. Australian and International Journal of Rural Education, 28,1, 1-6.

Schmitt-Wilson, S., Downey, J., & Beck, A. (2018). Rural educational attainment: The importance of context. Journal of Research in Rural Education, 33, 1, 1-14.


Rural Lessons: Early Career Teachers in Rural Contexts Share Advice for Preparation Programs, Professors, and Future Rural Teachers

In light of grave rural teacher shortages, there is an urgent need to develop a nuanced understanding of the factors that shape rural teachers’ work and lived experiences in order to better support their preparation, recruitment, and retention. The Rural Lessons research project was designed to identify the factors and mechanisms in new teachers’ schools, communities, and preparation programs that support their capacity to succeed, thrive, and remain in their rural communities. The inquiry is guided by two research questions:

  1. In light of their lived experiences in a variety of rural contexts, what recommendations do new teachers have for:
    1. prospective rural teachers?
    2. teacher education programs and professors?
  2. How do these recommendations differ relative to participants’ background, preparation, current position, and intention to remain in their position?

This research project is funded by the Montana State University Scholarship & Creativity Grant for the Advancement of the Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences.


The Australian and International Journal of Rural Education (AIJRE) is a medium for educators and researchers with an interest in the provision of education in rural contexts. The Journal has been publishing papers which cover a wide range of interests and concerns related to rural, remote and distance education since 1991.

ISFIRE 2020 – International Symposium For Innovation in Rural Education 2020
Where: Perth, Scotland
When: 7th August to 9th August 2020
Theme: Educating for Cultural Sustainability – Innovating for the Future