The National Center for Urban Education (NCUE) prepares future educators to thrive in diverse settings. NCUE’s goals are to reduce human and capital costs due to high teacher attrition rates, prepare culturally informed and responsive teachers and demonstrate the value of community-based partnerships.

Forty percent of students enrolled in the College of Education participate in NCUE clinical trips to urban partner schools annually. This represents over 12,000 Illinois State University students who have visited urban partner schools through 511 clinical bus trips during the last 14 years of NCUE.

Over the last four years, students who participate in NCUE have an average GPA of 3.44 and score 10 percent higher than the national average on the edTPA.

More than 200 Illinois State students have taken part in the Summer Teacher Education Partnership for Urban Preparation (STEP-UP) program within NCUE since its inception in 2010.

STEP-UP fellows now teaching in partner public schools have a three-year retention rate of 70 percent and a 5-year retention rate of 65 percent. This 5-year rate rises to 74 percent for NCUE mentoring and induction participants. This is significant when compared to typical retention rates at Chicago Public Schools of 55–58 percent beyond three years, and less than 50 percent beyond five years.

Greater Auburn Gresham Development Corporation Executive Director Carlos Nelson said, “My love for this program and for Illinois State University is immense. It fits the desire to develop high quality, culturally competent educators for our urban communities.”

To find out more about NCUE initiatives and partnership opportunities, visit or email