Innovation Grant to University of Illinois at Chicago

ExxonMobil Foundation President Ed Ahnert presenting check to University of Illinois at Chicago team members John Baldwin, Phil Wagreich, Sheila McNicholas, Mercedes McGowen, and Sunil Koswatta.

Washington, D.C.óThe Department of Mathematics, Statistics, and Computer Science at the University of Illinois at Chicago has received a $3,000 innovation grant from the ExxonMobil Foundation to improve the quality of the mathematics education of teachers. Members of the grantís project team are: Philip Wagreich, Director of the Institute for Mathematics and Science Education, John Baldwin, Interim Head of the Department of Mathematics, Victoria Chou, Dean of the College of Education, Mercedes McGowen of Harper College, and Sheila McNicholas of Truman College.  

According to last yearís Glenn commission report Before Itís Too Late, the most direct route to improving mathematics achievement for all students is better mathematics teaching. The ExxonMobil Foundation is offering a total of twelve grants nationwide in support of the belief that the mathematics community can lead the way in providing good models for building the kinds of cooperative efforts needed for long-term improvement of teacher education.  

The grant awarded to UIC, announced at the recent National Summit on the Mathematical Education of Teachers, will allow the planning team to fund the development of a comprehensive plan for improving the quality and number of future elementary, middle school, and secondary teachers graduating from UIC.  Since a significant proportion of UIC graduates begin their academic careers at community colleges, the plan will be developed in collaboration with the UIC College of Education and with urban and suburban community colleges including Harper College and Truman College.  This plan will build upon the work of the UIC - Community College Collaborative for Excellence in Teacher Preparation, which is funded by the National Science Foundation.  

The Collaborative, which involves UIC, three Chicago community colleges, and three suburban community colleges, has focused on five areas of concern in improving the quality and quantity of future school teachers: faculty development, recruitment, curriculum development, mentoring and induction, and research.  The Collaborative encompasses work in both mathematics and science education. The work of the Collaborative has helped prepare the way for a systemic review of teacher preparation programs. 

It is hoped that the work at UIC will provide a model for mathematics teacher preparation at an urban public university.