The western exterior of Brommel Hall as seen from the President's Garden.

Thursday, September 17, 2020

The U.S. Department of Education has awarded Northeastern Illinois University a five-year, $3 million Developing Hispanic-Serving Institutions Program grant that will help the University increase the number of students who complete STEM majors.

The grant will establish CASA: Creating Access to STEM for All, a program that will begin its efforts in October. CASA has four primary goals:

  • Expand and make flexible pathways for students to obtain degrees in STEM, removing barriers for students placing into developmental math.
  • Improve the academic program, increasing responsiveness to the needs of Hispanic/Latinx and low-income students.
  • Increase the number of students in STEM majors and thereby increase the number who graduate with STEM degrees.
  • Improve access to up-to-date labs to maximize the experiential learning potential in STEM for all students.

“CASA: Creating Access to STEM for All establishes a better and more culturally responsive pathway to STEM majors for students who place into developmental courses and whose exposure to potential science careers may have been limited,” President Gloria J. Gibson said. “As a home to many first-generation college students, Northeastern is grateful for this generous grant that serves our students and the local communities.”

Among the components of its implementation, CASA will establish cohorts for freshmen and sophomores who will take six interdisciplinary credit-bearing courses that fulfill general education requirements and are accessible to students placing into developmental math. It will also create a summer research residency for cohort participants after their first year, improve the existing financial literacy course, build a biology lab to support improved instruction in foundational courses, increase training for peer leaders, and develop and sustain a structure that supports ongoing assessment of student performance in the STEM cohort program coursework to inform the continuous improvement of curriculum and pedagogy.

This is the third Title V grant awarded to Northeastern since 2016. 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 7,000 students and offers more than 80 undergraduate and graduate programs in the arts, sciences, education and business.