Travis J. Bristol

Research Expertise and Interest

race and gender, urban schooling, organizational contexts of teachers' work, educational equity, African American students in schools

Research Description

Travis J. Bristol is an associate professor of teacher education and education policy in Berkeley’s School of Education and (by courtesy) the Department of African American Studies. Before joining Berkeley's faculty, he was a Peter Paul Assistant Professor at Boston University. Using qualitative methods, Dr. Bristol explores three related research strands: (1) the role of educational policies in shaping teacher workplace experiences and retention; (2) district and school-based professional learning communities; (3) the role of race and gender in educational settings. Dr. Bristol's research has appeared in over 60 peer-reviewed articles, book chapters, policy briefs, and opinion editorials including Urban Education, the American Educational Research Journal,  Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, the Journal of Teacher Education, Teachers College Record, Harvard Educational Review, Brookings, and The Washington PostHe co-edited (with Conra Gist) The Handbook of Research on Teachers of Color and Indigenous Teachers, which was published by the American Educational Research Association (AERA). 

Dr. Bristol has received over $5.8 million in research funding. The National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation, Ford Foundation, and AERA awarded Dr. Bristol dissertation fellowships in 2013. In 2016, he received the inaugural teacher diversity research award from the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education. In 2019, Dr. Bristol received a Ford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship and an emerging scholar award from the Comparative and International Education Society, African Diaspora SIG. In 2020, he received a National Academy of Education/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship. In 2021, Dr. Bristol received the Early Career Award from AERA (Division-K). More recently, in 2022 he received an AERA Outstanding Reviewer (Educational Researcher) Award. 

Dr. Bristol is on the editorial boards of Urban Education the American Educational Research Journal, and the Association for Education Finance and Policy Live Handbook. He is also the chair of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards Board of Directors and chairs the California Department of Education Teacher Diversity Advisory Group. Dr. Bristol is on the Board of Directors of Teach Plus; the National Center for Teacher Residencies; and the Albert Shanker Institute. He also serves on the advisory board for the National Academy of Education’s Equity in Math Education Research Program.

Dr. Bristol is a former student and teacher in New York City public schools and teacher educator with the Boston Teacher Residency program. Dr. Bristol received his A.B. from Amherst College; an M.A. from Stanford University; and a Ph.D. from Teachers College, Columbia University.

In the News

America on edge: Berkeley scholars’ early election thoughts

UC Berkeley scholars awoke Wednesday, Nov. 4 to signs of a deeply divided U.S. electorate, and no blue wave on the horizon. Despite a surge in early voting, ballots were still being counted in several battleground states. As of noon that day, the race between President Donald Trump and his Democratic challenger Joe Biden remained too close to call. 

Professor pushes for diversity in teacher workforce

According to the U.S. Department of Education, in 1994, two-thirds of public school students were white. More than 20 years later, fewer than half were. In contrast, today, male teachers of color make up less than 10% of the workforce, and black males represent 1.9% of all public school teachers in the country, but have one of the highest rates of turnover. Through his research with black male teachers of color in Boston public schools, Travis Bristol found that black male teachers were leaving at higher rates because of poor working conditions and a lack of resources from school administrators.

Featured in the Media

Please note: The views and opinions expressed in these articles are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or positions of UC Berkeley.
January 13, 2022
Nimah Gobir

Evidence suggests that Black, Asian and Latinx students in grades four through eight who have teachers that match their ethnoracial identity get fewer school suspensions, and researchers found students of all races have more favorable perceptions of their Black and Latino teachers. “Something is happening in the classrooms of these teachers, and this is something that's worthy of study and understanding,” said Britton, an assistant professor at UC Berkeley's Graduate School of Education. 

October 13, 2021
Naaz Modan, Senior Reporter

Matching students’ race with those of their teachers can reduce rates of exclusionary discipline for Black and Latinx students in large, diverse and urban school districts, according to a new working paper. The study examined 10 years’ worth of data from New York City between 2007 and 2017. 

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