University News

WIU to Offer 24 Scholarships as Part of NSF NOYCE Grant

March 28, 2023

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MACOMB/MOLINE, IL - - Western Illinois University, beginning in the Fall 2023, will begin offering full scholarships to 24 teacher education students in the STEM disciplines (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) over the next five years. This opportunity is made possible through a $1.4 million National Science Foundation (NSF) NOYCE STEM Teacher Scholarship Track I grant that WIU has received in partnership with Black Hawk College (BHC) and five local high-needs school districts.

This grant will provide an average of two and a half years of scholarship support to 24 NOYCE scholars to complete an undergraduate degree in secondary education teacher licensure in science or mathematics. The scholars will be recruited from the current WIU STEM student population and incoming transfer students from BHC.

The principal investigator (PI) James Rabchuk, assistant dean of WIU's College of Arts and Sciences, along with co-PIs Susan Brooks, Denny Barr, Robert Mann and Jacob Winters, applied for the grant, titled "Building a Pathway for Recruiting and Preparing STEM Teachers in Rural West Central Illinois," and received funding to begin a new scholarship program aimed at recruiting, supporting, training and placing STEM educators in the high-needs school districts around the region, state and country.

"We are currently facing a tremendous shortage of teachers, particularly in the sciences and mathematics," said Rabchuk. "Our proposal represents a region-wide collaboration between the Colleges of Arts and Sciences and Education and Human Services at WIU and Black Hawk College, along with the Galesburg, Macomb, Bushnell-Prairie City, Fulton County and Moline-Coal Valley School Districts. Through this program, we can provide scholarships for at least 24 NOYCE scholars that will help cover the entire cost of education starting their junior year at WIU as they complete their Secondary Science or Secondary Mathematics Education programs. At least six of those scholars will be transfer students from Black Hawk College.

"We are amazed and humbled by the NSF's support for our project and their confidence in our ability to carry it out and make a very positive impact going forward on STEM education in Illinois and beyond. We will be working closely with our partners and with the NSF as we begin the process of turning our vision into reality," Rabchuk added.

Students in the NOYCE program participate in a wide variety of activities to prepare them to be effective educators, including a seminar on teaching in high-needs districts, STEM teaching workshops, summer research experiences, in-depth mentoring and advising, and test preparation for content exams. Additionally, interested students can participate in the new Learning Assistant program at Black Hawk College, use agreements to facilitate transfers, and receive support from an advisor. Upon graduation, scholarship recipients may also benefit from small grants for equipment, mentoring, conferences, development opportunities and other relevant expenses.

Students in the STEM disciplines must have earned a grade point average of at least 2.75 to apply and commit to teaching two years in a high-needs school district for every year of scholarship support they receive. The project leadership will work closely with the WIU Office of Justice Inclusion Diversity and Equity (JIDE) to develop and implement a strategy for the pool of applicants.

For more information on the program, please contact Rabchuk
( or Mann (

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