IC awarded NSF grant to support future STEM educators
Illinois College is the recipient of a nearly $75,000 grant to support its Rural Illinois STEM Education project.
The one-year planning grant from the National Science Foundation is funded by the Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Capacity Building Program. The grant provides funding to help IC strengthen collaboration and recruitment efforts with partnering school districts.
“We submitted this planning project in collaboration with the A-C Central, Beardstown, Jacksonville and Virginia school districts,” said Jaime Klein, chair of the education department and director of teacher preparation. “We will be planning with these schools to increase the number of teacher candidates who are prepared to teach STEM subjects — science, technology, engineering and math — and to support the retention of those teachers, specifically focusing on rural school districts.”
Through the grant, Illinois College faculty will explore the primary drivers and barriers for IC students to become high school STEM teachers. This will involve asking IC STEM majors about their perceptions and understanding of careers in STEM education; evaluating IC’s STEM education advising and recruiting; and creating an internal recruitment plan to encourage more STEM-interested students to become future STEM teachers, helping to bolster retention.
“We hope to streamline and enhance IC’s STEM and education curricula to make it possible for more students to become STEM educators, especially students who have an interest in teaching math and science,” Klein noted. “This planning grant will position IC to apply for further funding in 2023 to continue this important work.”
The grant will also allow IC to work to expand relationships with superintendents, principals and teachers in partner schools and learn more about what early career STEM teachers need and want. The College will work with those schools to better understand what support IC could provide, such as professional development and mentorship.
Illinois College prepares students to teach in elementary, middle and high school settings and field placements begin in the first year to ensure graduates have a wide-range of K-12 experiences. IC education majors have 100% placement after graduation and are highly favored by local and regional school districts. In addition to IC’s four-year teacher preparation, the program prepares students to seek post graduate licensure in a number of specialized areas, and the College offers fully-online reading teacher and ESL endorsements.
To learn more about the education and teacher preparation program at IC, visit www.ic.edu/education.