A student looks through a microscope

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

The United States Department of Education has awarded Northeastern Illinois University a five-year, $5.6 million Hispanic-Serving Institutions - Science, Technology, Engineering, or Mathematics (HSI-STEM) and Articulation Programs grant to enhance the institution’s efforts to increase retention of Hispanic and low-income students and to increase the number of Hispanic and low-income STEM majors. The grant is in partnership with Triton College.

The grant will fund the Exit on Time in STEM project, which will launch this month. Exit on Time in STEM will focus on early outreach and academic support—particularly in mathematics—as well as success coaching and increased early participation in environmental science research. The first year of funding is $1,199,770, and the total over five years is $5,630,323.

The announcement of this grant comes on the heels of the U.S. Department of Education’s five-year, $2.625 million Developing Hispanic-Serving Institutions Program grant that will help Northeastern implement a comprehensive system of support to increase retention of first-time, full-time students into their third year of enrollment. With these two grants, the U.S. Department of Education has committed more than $8.2 million to Northeastern over the next five years.

Through the Exit on Time in STEM project, Northeastern will deepen its partnership with Triton College, a two-year institution based in River Grove, Ill., by developing an articulation process model by which agreements and course maps will be generated. The model will align introductory courses taught at Triton and Northeastern, and will be replicable across Northeastern’s appropriate STEM majors. The project is expected to increase the number of Hispanic and low-income students who transfer into STEM at Northeastern and increase the degree completion rate.

“This is an incredible investment in Northeastern Illinois University’s current and future students that will increase not only the number of Hispanic and low-income students earning bachelor’s degrees in the STEM disciplines but also the institution’s overall degree attainment rate,” Interim President Richard Helldobler said. “We look forward to building on our existing relationship with Triton College to ensure all of the communities we serve are represented at the leadership table in the STEM fields.”

The grant will fund an upgraded environmental science lab at Northeastern and an upgraded math lab at Triton College. Some of the activities Northeastern will work on with Triton College are:

  • Early outreach to high school students interested in STEM fields and careers
  • Innovative summer programming
  • Support for early completion of gateway math courses
  • Proactive academic advising and success coaching to increase on-time course completion
  • Curricular alignment and articulation agreements to increase student success
  • Joint professional development focused on high-impact strategies in STEM teaching for Hispanic, low-income and first-generation students

“I congratulate the Center for College Access and Success, which designed and wrote this innovative grant with significant input from the College of Arts and Sciences and the Offices of Student Success and Retention, Institutional Research and Assessment, and Learning Support Services, as well as our partners at Triton College,” Helldobler said.

Northeastern is regarded as one of the most diverse public comprehensive universities in the nation and is designated by the U.S. Department of Education as a Hispanic-Serving Institution. The University has an enrollment of approximately 10,000 students and offers more than 40 undergraduate degree and certificate programs and more than 50 graduate degree, certificate, licensure and endorsement programs in the arts, sciences, education and business.