Grant Funded Projects

Urban Education

Lloyd A. Fry Foundation

This grant from the Lloyd A. Fry Foundation supports the UIC Urban Education Leadership Program.  The program creates evaluation tools and develops systems to track principal candidates and document their progress through the program.  The research has the potential to advance the field by helping UIC, education policymakers, and other principal preparation programs gain an understanding of the training and support needed to produce highly effective school principals.  These principals then maximize students’ and teachers’ performance to transform schools into high-performing ones.

Support EDD Candidates

Steve Tozer, PhD
Crown Memorial Foundation

This grant, awarded by the Crown Memorial Foundation, supports the EdD in Urban Education Leadership program by providing more faculty and leadership coaching to the program’s aspiring and early-career principals.  UIC principals establish a culture of respectful and professional with the teachers and students in their schools, support the learning of both teachers and students, and engage parents and community stakeholders in their schools.  The result is a transformation of schools into high-performing ones.

Science Education for Equity and Excellence in Chicago

Maria Varelas, PhD
National Science Foundation

Managed by principal investigator Maria Varelas, PhD with co-principal investigators Daniel Morales-Doyle, PhD and Carole Mitchener, PhD, Science Education for Equity and Excellence in Chicago (SEEEC) is a multi-million dollar NSF-funded project. It is a partnership between UIC science education faculty, UIC science faculty, Chicago Public Schools (CPS), and seven community organizations in Chicago. Project SEEEC enhances UIC’s MEd in Science Education program and transforms science education in the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) in three important ways. First, Project SEEEC addresses the underrepresentation of African American and Latina/o science teachers and the shortage of chemistry and physics teachers in CPS. Second, Project SEEEC builds a network of teachers, community members, and faculty in science education, chemistry, physics, biology, and environmental science, supported by workshops provided by the seven non-for-profit partners which complement UIC coursework, to promote teachers’ efforts in making their practice responsive to Chicago contexts. Third, Project SEEEC supports the development of experienced CPS science teachers into local and national leaders in urban science education and in science education research. These experienced teachers lead groups of new teachers as they all engage in practitioner research that enhances their practice.


Susan Goldman, PhD
U.S. Department of Education

Project READI is a multi-institution, multi-disciplinary collaboration design to develop instructional interventions that support adolescent learners in developing reading for understanding in literary analysis, history and science.  The project is designed for two levels of learners: teachers and students.  At the teacher level it provides professional learning communities where teachers construct flexible knowledge of how to support students’ developing abilities to engage evidence-based argument.  Evidence-based Argument Instructional Modules are developed and tested by teams consisting of classroom teachers, learning scientists, and experts in each discipline to mediate learning experiences of students and serve as educative curricula for teachers.

Project SET

Lisa Cushing, PhD
U.S. Department of Education

With Michelle Parker-Katz, Project SET prepares highly qualified special educators with knowledge, skills, and leadership to earn the LBS 2 endorsement and become a transition specialist to improve transition processes for high-need youth with disabilities post-high school and their families.  Project SET has a website in which transition resources that include student products are posted along with research, evidence-based practices, and important resources for Chicagoland reform of transition for high school youth with disabilities.

Project Safe Spaces

Stacey Horn, PhD
Ford Foundation

Project Safe Spaces is a collaboration between UIC and the Illinois Safe Schools Alliace to investigate why young people harass each other because of gender or sexuality, and turn that research into policies and programs to ensure schools are safe and supportive for all students.  Safe Spaces will develop a community-based bullying prevention campaign that will help both students and adults create school cultures that are positive, supporting and affirming for the entire school community.

Access the Bias Based Bullying Survey and the same survey in Spanish.

Project PULSSE

Lisa Cushing, PhD
U.S. Department of Special Education (Office of Special Education Programs)

With Michelle Parker-Katz and Dan Maggin, in response to the critical shortage of highly qualified teachers for secondary youth with low incidence disabilities, Project PULSSE will prepare 38 special educators in a comprehensive secondary low incidence program to earn a master’s degree and state certification.

Project PULSSE graduates will influence youth with low incidence disabilities and their families in the greater Chicago region by creating a much needed cadre of highly qualified secondary special educators to improve school and post-school outcomes. In addition, the project will provide scholars with induction and an ongoing support network to ensure that scholars remain in the field and region.

Project MORE

Illinois Department of Human Services

Project MORE members work with Chicago’s Head Start families to support parents desires to develop lifelong learning opportunities while also developing strategies to support their children’s early literacy skills.  Project MORE recruits members from community and places them with UIC Center for Literacy programs, especially the Family Start Learning Centers (FAST).  The project has participated in many special activities and service projects including Book-A-Mania and World Book Night, where members distributed 340 free books to Head Start Parents in the West and South sides of Chicago.

Project MASTEL

Karen Sakash
U.S. Department of Education

Project MASTEL is a National Professional Development Program grant by the U.S. Department of Education to address the Illinois teacher shortage of Bilingual/ESL science and math educators.  The primary goal of the project is to produce a pool of highly trained and qualified math and science endorsed secondary and elementary teachers who work with, or are planning to work with, English Language Learners in Chicago Public Schools.  The grant supports UIC teacher candidates seeking science and/or math endorsements and CPS math and science endorsed teachers who take five courses which lead to State of Illinois Bilingual and ESL endorsements to teach English language learners.  To further increase effectiveness and learning outcomes, the project provides professional development on research-based math and science instruction for English language learners.

Project CLIC

Maria Varelas, PhD
Areas of Excellence Award, UIC Office of Vice Chancellor for Research

Co-recipients:  Danny Martin, PhD and George Karabatsos, PhD

Project CLIC (Content Learning and Identity Construction) is a joint effort among science education, mathematics education, educational measurement, and urban education faculty, focusing on learning in mathematics and science among Black children in Chicago public elementary schools. It focuses on developing, theoretically and empirically, a pedagogical and research framework that attends simultaneously to students’ learning of mathematics and science content as well as students’ development of three identities: disciplinary (as doers of math and science), racial (as African Americans), and academic (as participants in academic tasks and classroom practices). Ongoing, and explicit engagement with ideas important for identity construction complements content learning and offers students the opportunity to examine and share their sense of self, revisit it, rebuild it, and revise it, responding to both cumulative and in-the-moment experiences as Black children and as learners of science and mathematics.

Monarch and Monarch 2

Norma Lopez-Reyna, PhD
U.S. Department of Education

The Monarch Center supports faculty at Minority Institutions in Higher Education in their pursuit of education excellence for their programs and students.  The overarching goal of the Monarch Center is to affect positive change in the lives of children with disabilities, particularly those from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.


Aria Razfar, PhD
U.S. Department of Education

The LSciMact program worked in a Chicago south side school which had no playground.  The project demonstrated methods for teachers to turn their lessons and improving students language, math and science literacy into a one-year campaign that funded the construction of a playground.  The program was successful both in the classroom and outside on the new playground. 

Literacy and New Communication Technologies in Contexts of Transnational Migration

P. Zitlali Morales, PhD
National Science Foundation

Adopting a comparative case study approach with two immigrant groups in the U.S. (adolescents of Chinese and Mexican origins), and using both ethnographic and survey methods, this project will investigate the role of new media technologies in the lives of immigrant youth as they develop social relationships and engage with information that cross geographical and national borders. Of particular interest in this project is understanding the ways that the youth may derive diverse linguistic, social, and information resources through their online networks. This study will involve a media survey and extended case observations with 32 youths of their transnational media practices across the two immigrant groups in Chicago. The media survey on transnational digital communication will be administered in a high school and several community organizations serving large numbers of immigrant students. The survey will serve to provide some understanding of teen media use in these two immigrant groups and create media use clusters to aide in the selection and recruitment of the case-study participants. The analysis of observational and interview data of youth practices from the case studies will allow us to generate contextualized understanding and grounded concepts of the nature and purpose of these digital practices.

GlobalEd2 Efficacy and Replication, Goal 3

Kimberly Lawless, PhD
UConn - IES

The GlobalEd2 project studies Problem-based Learning, an instructional design approach for promoting student learning, understanding and knowledge development in context rich settings.  Previous research has focused on face-to-face learning environments, but current technologies allows designers to create online, virtual learning environments.  The project examines the impact of these environments on student’s interest in science and self-efficacy in writing in science and technology in education.

Evaluation of the Ounce of Prevention Fund Professional Development Initiative

Steve Tozer, PhD
The Ounce of Prevention Fund

In partnership with Chicago’s Ounce of Prevention Fund, UIC’s Center for Urban Education Leadership will provide targeted information for continuous improvement of the new professional development initiative.  The Ounce’s highly regarded EduCare serves, and the professional development reaches teachers who serve, children from birth to age five.


Aria Razfar, PhD
U.S. Department of Education

ELMSA provides long-term professional development for K-8 teachers form both bilingual and mainstream classrooms situated in low-income settings.  This model provides a framework for apprenticing teachers as ethnographers and teacher researchers, while emphasizing long-term active teacher learning, classroom-based inquiries, teachers collaborating to plan and assess activities, and development of practices and mechanisms for teachers carrying on their own professional development after the proposed project has ended.

Chicago Teacher Partnership Program

U.S. Department of Education

The Chicago Teacher Partnership Program includes four Chicago-based universities and twenty high-need Chicago Public Schools.  The program is increasing the capacity of the universities to build and improve their teacher preparations to meet the needs of CPS and can be rigorously and effectively evaluated.  Its network of committed partners creates a model for preparing teachers who will ensure successful learning outcomes for students in Chicago and Illinois.

CAREER: Teaching and Learning Science Inquiry with GIS

Joshua Radinsky, PhD
National Science Foundation

This grant from NSF supports an integrated program of research and instruction.  The program will investigate ways to use GIS map data to study American history and society.  The program will develop, teach, and study curriculum at many levels to help students investigate African American and Latino migrations at different times in history.  The curriculum uses data to answer the question, “Who are we?” and investigates mapping as a method of teaching history.  The program will collaborate with a team of Chicago Public Schools teachers and other college instructors.

Appraising Early Childhood Teacher Education

Chicago Community Trust

The Appraising Early Childhood Teacher Education project conducts in-depth analysis of Illinois’s early learning landscape for quality teaching of children, ages birth to eight years, and uses this analysis to recommend an ambitious teacher education action agenda for Illinois early childhood stakeholders.  The project works with the Governor’s Office of Early Childhood Development and the Workforce Development Committee of the Illinois Early Learning Council to involve key members of the state’s early childhood care and education community in the project.

African American Male Summer Literacy Institute

Scholastic Inc.

The African American Male Summer Literacy Institute aims to nuture the next generation of black male writers so that they can become a voice for the next generation and for themselves.  The program aims to lift the confidence and empower students who should, and could, perform at higher levels socially and academically.

Advances and Applications in Bayesian Density Regression

George Karabatsos, PhD
National Science Foundation

This project will advance statistical science through the development and investigation of a novel regression model.  The research will advance knowledge and understanding of important societal issues, including best practices for K-12 math, science, and literacy education and the treatment of youth with emotional and behavioral disabilities.

A Toolkit for Identifying Social Rejection in Grades K to 3

Everett V. Smith, PhD
Rush University through U.S. Department of Education

This project targets approximately 4 million elementary school-aged children who are were rejected by their peers, as few tools are available to school professionals to identify and pinpoint social-emotional learning deficits that contribute to their rejection.  The project will produce a scientifically sound battery of assessments to be used flexibly and in conjunction with existing assessments to screen and inform intervention planning and ultimately create a better social and behavior context for academic learning.