Illinois College has received $75,000 from the National Science Foundation to support its Rural Illinois STEM Education project.
The grant provides funding to help IC strengthen collaboration and recruitment efforts with partnering with A-C Central, Beardstown, Jacksonville, and the Virginia school districts. The college plans to work with the 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.
According to a press release, Jaime Klein, chair of the education department and director of teacher preparation, says that the grant will be used to increase the number of teacher candidates specifically in rural school districts.
Klein says the hope is to streamline and enhance Illinois College’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. Through the grant, IC will explore the primary drivers and barriers for IC students to become high school STEM teachers, evaluate academic advising and recruitment methods, and create an internal recruitment plan to attract more potential teachers and bolster retention.
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.
To learn more about the education and teacher preparation program at IC, visit www.ic.edu/education.