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ISU gets $800,000 grant for early childhood faculty preparation

Officials in Illinois State University's College of Education (located in DeGarmo Hall, pictured here) hope a new elementary education pipeline program will provide a solution to the state's ongoing teacher shortage.
Illinois State University
DeGarmo Hall is home to the College of Education at Illinois State University.

Illinois State University is getting a grant worth more than $800,000 to support the ongoing education of early childhood teachers.

ISU says the money from the Illinois Board of Higher Education will help current early childhood teachers and professionals earn a master’s degree in teaching and learning through a streamlined program. The 15-month online program is designed to meet the educational needs of adult learners. Along with covering tuition and fees, expenses such as laptops and childcare are included.

“The goal is to support talented early education teachers, so they can become higher education faculty,” said Professor Miranda Lin, who was the principal investigator on the Illinois State portion of the grant. Lin noted that the more people who can become early childhood instructors in higher education, the more teachers the state will train.

ISU's first cohort will begin in May and end in August of 2024. Those with questions about the program can email rbrown@ilstu.edu.

The money comes from the $3.4 million awarded in IBHE Early Childhood Faculty Preparation Grants.

“The grants will help increase the diversity of faculty in early childhood education in Illinois at a time of great need by expanding the educational pipelines for aspiring early childhood faculty,” IBHE Executive Director Ginger Ostro said in a statement. “We are excited to partner with the four selected universities to continue to make progress toward a high-quality early childhood education system in our state.”

Ryan Denham is the digital content director for WGLT.