National Louis University awarded $2,800,000 grant from U.S. Department of Education

Updated 10/14/2021 8:41 AM

The U.S. Department of Education has awarded National Louis University (NLU) a five-year, $2.8 million Developing Hispanic-Serving Institutions (DHSI) Program grant that will increase the number of multilingual students in the undergraduate teacher pipeline. As a prominent Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI), the grant will allow NLU to expand programs and resources to support Hispanic students who are preparing to be teachers, helping to fill the urgent need for qualified, expertly-trained teachers from diverse backgrounds in Illinois schools.

The goal of the Department of Education's DHSI Program is to expand and enhance the academic offerings, program quality, faculty quality, and institutional stability of colleges and universities that are educating the majority of Hispanic college students in order to help large numbers of Hispanic students and other low-income individuals complete postsecondary degrees.


"The DHSI grant is going to play a major role in helping NLU better support our Hispanic students, through deep collaborations in high need districts and sharpening our focus on achieving equity-based outcomes for learners from under-represented communities," said Lisa Downey, Ed.D, Associate Professor and Associate Dean, Undergraduate Educator Preparation for the Undergraduate College at NLU. Dr. Downey, an educator with over 30 years' experience in the field, will lead the project.

The grant will support three goals:

1) Develop and implement a community-based teacher preparation model to increase the number of Hispanic students entering the field of teaching;

2) Develop NLU's capacity and offerings to expand access and opportunities for Hispanic and underrepresented students to earn high-need credentials in teacher preparation programs; and

3) Strengthen culturally-relevant academic and fiscal supports and programming to increase graduation and persistence rates of Hispanic and underrepresented students.

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Dr. Downey anticipates the program will prepare 200 new Hispanic and underrepresented students earning specialized endorsements and credentials in educator preparation, and develop 20 partnership school sites within three partner districts over the five-year grant period. Accordingly, it will further bolster NLU's contribution to the larger effort of training a new generation of talented educators whose diversity of background reflects that of the classrooms they teach in.

"Through this grant, National Louis will be able to expand the services we provide for our Hispanic students, solidifying our standing as one of Chicago's most accessible, high-quality HSI's," said Aarti Dhupelia, Vice President for Undergraduate Education and Dean of the Undergraduate College at NLU.

National Louis University is designated by the U.S. Department of Education as a Hispanic-Serving Institution. For more than 135 years, the university has been a pioneering and innovative force in new teacher preparation, educator advancement, and educational leadership. The university has as an enrollment of over 10,000 students and offers 70 undergraduate and graduate programs through five colleges: The National College of Education; the Undergraduate College, the School of Business, the College of Psychology and Behavioral Sciences; and the Kendall College of Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management.


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