Lech Walesa Hall

National Science Foundation awards one-year, $121,000 grant to Northeastern Illinois University

Friday, March 12, 2021

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

This one-year capacity building project at Northeastern Illinois University includes partnerships with Chicago Public Schools (CPS), City Colleges of Chicago (CCC) and the New Teacher Center (NTC). 

The aims of the project are:

  • To build a strong community of practice with key stakeholders by sharing expertise and resources
  • To develop a mentorship and instructional coaching model rooted in culturally relevant, culturally sustaining, and community-immersive science and mathematics teaching
  • To build capacity for the implementation of a coaching and mentorship model that enhances K-12 teachers’ ability to design instruction and facilitate learning remotely

Coordinator of Teacher Quality Enhancement Billie Kersh will be the principal investigator. STEM Program Manager Syreeta Brown, Associate Professor of Mathematics Nancy Wrinkle, Associate Dean of Teacher Education Alberto López-Carrasquillo and Assistant Professor of Biology Jorge Cantú will serve as senior personnel on the project. Director of Clinical Experiences and Student Teaching Catherine Wycoff, Assistant Professor of Educational Inquiry and Curriculum Studies J. Ruth Dawley-Carr and Interim Dean of the College of Education and Director of the Carruthers Center for Inner City Studies Andrea Evans and Director Emerita of Math, Science, and Technology for Quality Education (MSTQE) Heather Patay, will serve as key advisors in support of project design and eventually on project implementation. In addition to Northeastern faculty and staff members, consultants from CPS, CCC and NTC will also be part of the leadership team aiding in the development of the project structure.

“This is a short-term project with long-term implications,” Kersh said. “The goals we aim to accomplish during this year are meant to put NEIU in a competitive position to receive a five-year Master Teaching Fellowship award that would support early career STEM educators in diverse, high-need communities through mentorship and culturally aware math and science content support.” 

Kersh noted the five-year NSF Noyce grant would be proposed in 2022. If awarded, the implementation of a Master Teaching Fellowship program would have an even greater impact. 

“The long-term vision of our passionate team of faculty, consultants and master teachers is to develop a mentorship and induction model to support new CPS educators and build a robust network of exemplary middle and high school science and math teachers with strong STEM pedagogical content knowledge and leadership capacity, consequentially improving STEM teacher retention rates and student performance in STEM subjects,” Kersh said. 

Current Northeastern or City Colleges of Chicago students interested in applying for the Noyce Scholars Program and studying to become a math or science teacher at the high school level should visit the NSF Noyce Scholars Program website to learn more. Current middle and high school math and science teachers who are interested in being considered as Master Teaching Fellows, which would start at the earliest in 2023, should email noyce@neiu.edu and request to be added to the Chicago STEM Teaching Collaborative's outreach and communications list.