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U of I’s College of Education and DPI Launch Computer Science
Teaching Endorsement and Network

Effort will address shortage of qualified computer science teachers across Illinois

The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) and the Discovery Partners Institute (DPI) are launching a Teaching Endorsement in Computer Science (CSTed) that will prepare more teachers to instruct on the subject.

Computing-related jobs make up roughly half of all STEM jobs in Illinois—three times more than any other STEM field. Computing also represents the top source of new wages in the economy. The COVID-19 crisis has illuminated the need for and resiliency of these jobs.

Governor Pritzker signed HB2170 into law, which will require school districts to offer at least one CS course by 2022-23. The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) is expected to approve statewide standards for computer science later this year. This new endorsement will help prepare districts to meet these standards and requirements.

“Illinois has struggled to implement high quality and equitable CS education across the state in large part because of the lack of teachers equipped to teach CS,” said James D. Anderson, dean of the College of Education at UIUC. “With this new endorsement program, we will build the capacity for more schools across Illinois to effectively teach CS and inspire the next generation of innovators.”

This cohort-based, online program lasts five semesters with an optional capstone course and meets the Illinois State Board of Education’s credit requirement for obtaining a teaching endorsement in CS.

The program also includes a partnership with Chicago Public Schools, which is helping to identify and recruit teachers.

Teachers across Illinois can enroll starting April 26 for courses beginning summer 2021. The cohort-based, online program will start with an introductory course on computer programming and the CS classroom. Tuition support is available to teachers on a first-come, first-served basis.

DPI will provide ongoing support to teachers through the creation of a peer mentoring network and ongoing professional development to support the implementation of CS in the classroom.

“Increasing the number and quality of CS teachers is one of the strongest ways we can address the disparities and inequities that exist for CS education in Illinois,” said Mark Harris, director of DPI’s community education unit. “During the next five to 10 years, we aim to endorse hundreds of teachers in CS and support hundreds more through ongoing professional learning activities so that every Illinois high school has a qualified CS teacher.”

“At Illinois Computer Science, we seek to develop and maintain a representative, inclusive, and supportive community that prepares and empowers all of its members to excel and effect positive impact in the broader community,” said Nancy M. Amato, Illinois CS Department Head and Abel Bliss Professor of Engineering. “This joint program with DPI is one more example of how we can support pre-college students, as well as high school teachers throughout the state, meet the amazing opportunities computing presents.”

Interested candidates can learn more here, are encouraged to complete an Interest Form, or contact DPI’s Associate Director of Teacher Training, Charity Freeman (, for more information.

About DPI
The Discovery Partners Institute empowers people to jumpstart their tech careers or companies in Chicago. Led by the University of Illinois System in partnership with top research universities, it does three things: Train people for high-demand tech jobs; conduct applied R&D; and support Chicago’s tech community. With state investment and a new innovation district in development, DPI has the resources to attract, develop, and leverage the most ambitious people and companies the region has to offer — and keep them here.

About College of Education at Illinois
Founded in 1905, the College of Education at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign is one of the first land-grant schools of education, revered for its groundbreaking research, preparation of educator-leaders, and worldwide impact. U.S. News and World Report consistently ranks the College and its programs among the nation’s best. Home of the late Dr. Samuel Kirk, the “father of special education,” more than 70 tenure-track faculty, nearly 2,000 undergraduate, graduate, doctoral, and online students, and over 36,000 proud alumni — Great Minds Think Illinois.

Lauryn Scott
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Gina Manola