A view of the northern entrance to Bernard Brommel Hall with Serenity sculpture in the foreground

On March 1, 2021, the National Science Foundation (NSF) awarded Northeastern Illinois University a $121,000 grant through the Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program titled The Chicago STEM Teaching Collaborative.


The Chicago STEM Teaching Collaborative: Developing a STEM Master Teaching Program aims to serve the national need for highly effective K-12 STEM teachers in high-need school districts. It intends to do so by developing a STEM Master Teaching Fellowship (MTF) model designed to produce master teachers who are technically, culturally, and pedagogically proficient. Chicago faces a crisis in teacher retention, particularly for STEM teachers in high-need schools. The average school in Chicago Public Schools turns over 50% of its teachers every five years. Each year almost a third of the 520 Chicago public schools have trouble filling one or more teaching positions. The high attrition rate combined with the general scarcity of STEM teachers is creating an acute shortage of teachers in high-need schools. This project intends to design an MTF model that serves diverse, high-need communities and addresses the causes of teacher attrition. The project will identify, recruit, and select exemplary teachers to the MTF program. This project will extend the current mentoring of new STEM teachers from one year to beyond the third year, the point at which teacher attrition increases sharply.

Capacity Building Project

This Capacity Building project at Northeastern Illinois University includes partnerships with Chicago Public Schools, City Colleges of Chicago, and the New Teacher Center. 

Goals of the project are to:

  • build the capacity of key stakeholders to share expertise and resources and to build a strong community of practice
  • develop a mentorship and instructional coaching model rooted in culturally relevant, culturally sustaining, and community immersive STEM teaching
  • build capacity for in-person, hybrid, and virtual coaching and mentorship that addresses teachers’ ability to design instruction and facilitate learning remotely

Theoretical Basis

The theoretical basis for the project’s design resides in research literature on teacher leader development. It stresses activities and experiences that promote development of highly effective STEM teaching skills, knowledge of community, culturally relevant and culturally sustaining pedagogy, and the ability to skillfully deliver STEM content virtually. The project anticipates that teacher leaders with these skills and knowledge will have the potential to transform high-need schools and ameliorate high turnover and remediation needs. 

Intellectual Merit and Broader Impacts 

The project intends to conduct a needs-analysis to identify gaps in current CPS teachers’ pedagogy and cultural competency and deficiencies in CPS STEM student learning outcomes. The MTF program will be designed to address the identified gaps. The analysis will also include remote and hybrid mentoring for new teachers. Potential contributions to the field are high as the project disseminates key findings locally, regionally and nationally through STEM partnerships and conferences. This Capacity Building project is supported through the Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program (Noyce). The Noyce program supports talented STEM undergraduate majors and professionals to become effective K-12 STEM teachers and experienced, exemplary K-12 teachers to become STEM master teachers in high-need school districts. It also supports research on the persistence, retention, and effectiveness of K-12 STEM teachers in high-need school districts.

Grant Information

The Chicago STEM Teaching Collaborative: Developing a STEM Master Teaching Program is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) Department of Undergraduate Education #2050564. This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.





Role on Project 

Billie Díaz


Coordinator of Teacher Quality Enhancement Programs


Principal Investigator (Senior Personnel)

Syreeta Brown


STEM Program Manager for the Center for College Access and Success (CCAS)


Co-PI (Senior Personnel) 

Nancy Wrinkle


Associate Professor of Mathematics


Co-PI (Senior Personnel)

Alberto Lopez


Associate Dean of the Goodwin College of Education


Co-PI (Senior Personnel)

Jorge Cantu


Assistant Professor of Biology


Faculty Associate (Senior Personnel)

Chris Sabino


Associate Professor of Mathematics

CCC (Harold Washington Collage)

Faculty Associate (Senior Personnel)

Cate Wycoff


Director of Clinical Experiences and Student Teaching Office (CEST)


Master Teacher and Key Advisor

Ru Dawley-Carr 


Associate Professor in Educational Inquiry and Curriculum Studies


Master Teacher and Key Advisor

Andrea Evans


Interim Dean of the Goodwin College of Education and Director of Carruthers Center for Inner City Studies


Key Advisor

Jenni Turner


Manager of Teacher Leader Development and Innovation, Office of Teaching and Learning


Local Education Agency Consultant

Claire Cullen


Induction Program Leader, Office of Teaching and Learning


Local Education Agency Consultant

Kelli Easterly


Executive Director of STEM


Local Education Agency Consultant

Milissa McClaire-Gary


Director for Program Strategy and Delivery

New Teacher Center

Non-Profit Partner Consultant

Heather Patay


Former PI on NSF Noyce Track 1


Key Advisor