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EIU Media Relations

Illinois Lt. Gov. Stratton to visit EIU Wednesday, April 27


EIU leaders to communicate innovative, flexible approaches to teacher training initiatives; discuss solutions to current teacher shortages across Illinois

(Charleston, IL) – Eastern Illinois University officials are excited to welcome Illinois Lieutenant Governor Juliana Stratton to the Charleston, Illinois campus Wednesday, April 27 to discuss the challenges and opportunities surrounding the recruitment and preparation of future teachers in Illinois.

“We are extremely pleased and excited to host Lieutenant Governor Stratton, and to further collaborate with the Lieutenant Governor’s Office and the State of Illinois to best prepare future generations of qualified teachers across Illinois for fulfilling careers in K-12 education and beyond,” said Dr. David Glassman, president of EIU.

Topics of discussion between Lt. Gov. Stratton, her staff, and EIU officials will include overcoming barriers to recruiting and preparing future teachers, how best to support new and beginning teachers, ways to provide support to existing teachers, and ways EIU is preparing future teaching candidates to teach diverse learners across the state.

Lt. Gov. Stratton’s portfolio demonstrates a deep commitment to supporting education in Illinois. In addition, she leads the State’s Justice, Equity and Opportunity Initiative, which centralizes the state’s criminal justice reform efforts, and chairs the Illinois Council on Women and Girls, a group committed to enriching opportunities for women through inclusivity initiatives and the policymaking process.

Lt. Gov. Stratton also leads efforts by the State to develop and retain teachers across Illinois.  As an example, she chairs the Governor’s Rural Affairs Council, which links state and local agencies to support innovative rural development initiatives that help improve the quality of rural life in Illinois.

Eastern Illinois University has been at the forefront of educational initiatives driven by the Rural Affairs Council. EIU partners with several off-campus cohorts tailored toward working adults who are interested in becoming licensed teachers. Additionally, EIU’s Grow Your Own Project was developed to focus on rural communities across Central Illinois with the purpose of developing a regional pipeline for rural communities to assist in staffing their schools. Outcomes of those broad EIU initiatives include:

  • “Grow Your Own” cohorts that help paraprofessionals and career changers to maintain their jobs and work toward a degree and/or licensure in the evenings. EIU assists in providing forgivable loans and support to four cohorts in Newton (SPE), Danville (ELE), and Champaign (both SPE and ELE).
  • Rural Teacher Corps Pathway
    • High school groups to recruit future teachers and provide experiences with children
    • Community college partnerships to support students to make the transition to EIU
    • Campus-based program to provide experiences in local schools and work with P-12 educators.
    • “New Teacher” group to provide support for beginning teachers in the transition to teaching
    • Partnership with Southeastern Community Foundation to provide mini-grants to new teachers
    • Partnership with the Rural School Collaborate to help develop Rural Educators Across Borders (U.S., Wales, Spain, Bhutan). One of EIU’s recent graduates participated on the last panel in October.
  • Southeastern Illinois P-16 Computational Thinking Network developed with seed money from the Illinois Innovation Network. This partnership with UIUC, Lake Land College, and local educators is developing resources and opportunities for educators to implement computer science in classrooms, provide workforce development, and explore business partnerships. 
  • Advocacy: EIU provides the Perspectives in Rural Education Podcast to highlight P-16 educators and the contribution they make to their regional and local communities. 

The university also is conducting a study to identify the barriers and supports needed to support candidates of color in teacher education.

America’s teacher shortage is widely reported, and as early as 2015 has been cited by the professional education community as a growing problem in the country. Educational leaders suggest several factors have contributed to the dilemma, including low salaries, a lack of respect for teachers, poor teaching conditions, and professional burnout.

Those existing obstacles were only magnified beginning in 2020 as the Coronavirus pandemic swept across the globe. Widespread changes to teaching modalities led to further challenges in the classroom, including the ability of school districts nationwide to recruit and retain motivated and qualified applicants.

Illinois is one of several U.S. states proactively combatting the national teaching shortage. According to the U.S. Department of Education, many states, districts, and IHEs [institutions of higher education] across the nation have already established or are scaling up partnerships and programs to support a strong and diverse conduit for teachers entering the market. Leaders at the federal level are calling on states, districts, and IHEs to work in partnership to address the short- and long-term challenges contributing to the teacher shortage across the country. The State of Illinois and Eastern Illinois University have both expressed commitments to addressing those issues.

An opportunity for Lt. Gov. Stratton to speak with members of the media will take place beginning at 11:30 a.m. in the Buzzard Hall Auditorium, located on EIU’s main campus at 600 Lincoln Avenue in Charleston.

For more information about EIU, or to learn more about its growing assortment of programs and services, visit the university’s website at, or call EIU’s public information office at (217) 581-7400.



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Contact Information

Media Relations
Josh Reinhart, Public Information Coordinator

2142 Old Main
Eastern Illinois University
600 Lincoln Ave.
Charleston, IL 61920
Fax: 217-581-8444

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