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Urban STEM Education


Illinois State University's College of Education and Chicago Teacher Education Pipeline (CTEP) have been awarded a $10 million grant by the U.S. Department of Education to expand teacher education programs in urban, high-need communities in Chicago and urban districts in Central Illinois.

The new Teacher Quality Partnership grant will develop the URBAN CENTER (Using Research Based Actions to Network Cities Engaged in New Teacher Education Reform), an integrated, comprehensive system of urban teacher recruitment, preparation and induction/mentoring. This will strengthen the Pipeline model that will recruit and prepare 500 high-quality teachers for the highest-need districts in Illinois where teacher attrition is high and student achievement remains low.

The Center for Mathematics, Science & Technology's Director, Dr. Willy Hunter, will liaise for science departments as a specialized High-Need Science Education Coordinator as a strand in the sciences are developed. Dr. Hunter is a campus leader in science teacher education. Since 2001 he has led professional development for science teachers in high-needs urban settings, directing projects, and managing and evaluating funded NSF K-12 projects. Dr. Hunter holds rank in both Colleges of Education and Arts & Sciences. He has published well over 100 peer-reviewed publications and edited numerous volumes of STEM teacher education books. 


Urban School Districts:

  • Chicago Public Schools District 299 [CPS]
  • Peoria Public Schools District 150 [PSD]
  • Decatur Public Schools District 61 [DPS]

Illinois State University Colleges (encompassing a total of 28 approved and accredited teacher education programs):

  • College of Education
  • College of Arts & Sciences
  • College of Applied Sciences
  • College of Technology and Fine Arts

Illinois State University Units:

  • Center for Math, Science and Technology
  • Mary and Jean Borg Center for Reading & Literacy
  • Chicago Teacher Pipeline

Community Partners

  • LISC/Chicago (private nonprofit)
  • LISC/Peoria (private nonprofit)
  • Enlace-Chicago (community-based nonprofit)
  • Greater Auburn Gresham Development Corporation (community-based nonprofit)
  • North River Commission (community-based nonprofit)
  • The Resurrection Project (community-based nonprofit)
  • Breakthrough Urban Ministries (community development corporation)
  • Latino Policy Forum (private policy and advocacy organization)
  • State Farm Insurance Co. Foundation (business)

The Pipeline Model

As its mission, the Chicago Teacher Education Pipeline (CTEP) is grounded in social justice and works to cultivate and sustain innovative, resilient, and effective educators for urban schools and their communities. We believe the statistics below provide evidence that CTEP has accomplished just that through the preparation and ultimate success of thousands of ISU students over the past eleven years. CTEP has 1) launched programming to support and recruit youth from high-need schools to continue their education, including at ISU; 2) supported ISU faculty to redesign their courses to include urban field experiences and to implement those redesigned courses and course-embedded field experiences over subsequent years; 3) catalyzed the formation of an urban-education-focused RSO (Urban Needs in Teacher Education, or UNITE) and supported its development at ISU and beyond; 4) developed mentorship programs for middle school youth; 5) created community- and school-based urban summer fellowship experiences for ISU pre-service teachers; 6) developed embedded residency experiences to allow student teachers to inhabit the urban communities in which they are teaching; 7) helped hundreds of ISU graduates to secure employment in the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) and other high-need districts; and 8) provided induction and mentorship opportunities to alums during their first two years of CPS teaching, along with networking and professional development opportunities thereafter. For this important work, CTEP has been honored with numerous accolades, such as the prestigious Nicholas Michelli Award for Social Justice and Excellence in the Education of Emerging Education Leaders Award. Also, ISU faculty members have won numerous national, university, and college teaching, research, and service awards, often as a direct result of involvement in CTEP programming.

In terms of recent statistics:

  • Last year, almost 500 CPS high school students from CTEP-partnering schools applied to ISU and almost 50% were accepted. The 294% increase in Latino/a student enrollment at ISU over the past decade is due in part to the sustained work CTEP staff has conducted in high-need CPS schools and nurtured through ISU admissions staff. In part because of successful collaborative efforts to launch Success 101 on campus, ISU was named one of the top 25 public institutions in the nation, and the ONLY public university in Illinois, for gains in Latino/a student graduation rates according to the Educational Trust.
  • Over the past 10 years, CTEP provided 69 ISU faculty members with grant support to re-design their existing teacher education courses—74 courses total—to include more of an urban emphasis. These professors also received CTEP travel support to take successive semesters of their students to Chicago to visit partnering CTEP schools and communities. To date, over 6,714 pre-service teachers have earned diverse clinical experience hours through 278 course-embedded experiential learning opportunities.
  • As a result of these re-designed courses, ISU students now can pursue an urban-based minor via the Urban Education Sequence of either the minor in Civic Engagement and Responsibility or the revised Urban Studies minor. Further, some departments (e.g., Special Education, Physics, and History) have created dedicated strands or sequences of courses for their teacher education students to prepare them for urban-based careers.
  • Last year alone, CTEP supported 60 faculty-student visits to partnering CPS schools and communities, activities that involved nearly 1,250 ISU students. This is an increase of 529% from the course redesign program's inaugural year in 2006, when 198 ISU students took part. This is in addition to experiential learning trips sponsored by UNITE and by CONNECT, CTEP's middle school mentorship program.
  • In 2005, CTEP began by partnering with one Chicago school and community. CTEP now partners with 31 schools across three partner communities and over 40 community-based organizations that support co-curricular service learning opportunities for ISU students and faculty.
  • As of June 2014, almost 400 graduates of CTEP programming were teaching in CPS, with hundreds more teaching in other high-need districts across the state and nation.

Because of this track record, CTEP now serves as a national model for urban teacher preparation. So far, CTEP staff and CTEP-supported faculty have author 72 publications or presentations on CTEP's urban teacher preparation work. Universities in other urban areas often seek professional development advice and support from CTEP to help improve their training of future teachers. CTEP staff have consulted and partnered with ISU faculty from colleges across campus to secure external grants, including the College of Fine Arts (John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts); College of Applied Sciences and Technology (Kellogg Foundation); and College of Arts and Sciences (National Science Foundation). Further, the U.S. Department of Education recently invited CTEP's directors to present their undergraduate preparation model to DOE staff and directors of other urban- and rural-based teacher education centers. CTEP's new URBAN CENTER federal grant and CTEP's current no-cost-one-year-extension of its existing TEACHER+PLUS federal grant will foster, among other continuing and expanding endeavors, new action research collaborations between ISU and public school faculty in Chicago, Peoria, and Decatur.

URBAN STEM Education Statistics

In order to better prepare future urban STEM educators, Illinois State University researched where its teacher education students come from and where they go to teach. This data is available for the years 1997-2009.

2017-09-05T07:43:29.999-05:00 2017