Bethel University receives Lilly Endowment grant to advance the Science of Reading, open literacy center

by | Dec 20, 2023

Bethel University has received a grant of $499,375 from Lilly Endowment Inc. through its initiative, Advancing the Science of Reading in Indiana. The grant will support Bethel’s education preparation program in meeting the State of Indiana Science of Reading mandate.

“We are thrilled about the opportunity this grant will provide for our teacher candidates and the ability it will give our department to meet the needs of our school partners,” says Jim Bennett, Ed.D., Bethel Education Department Chair.

Bethel University is one of 28 Indiana colleges and universities that received grants from Lilly Endowment to support efforts that integrate Science of Reading-aligned principles into teacher preparation programs. For Bethel, this will include redeveloping literacy curriculum, providing professional development for all literacy professors and opening a brand-new literacy center. The BU Center for Literacy will be dedicated to advancing Science of Reading education in Bethel’s undergraduate programs, promoting certifications and endorsements for Bethel graduates as they enter the field, and serving as a community resource for K-12 teachers in schools in the Mishawaka area.

“It is imperative that more of Indiana’s elementary students learn to read proficiently, and it is essential that current teachers and the next generation of teachers are prepared to use proven principles to teach reading in their classrooms,” said Ted Maple, Lilly Endowment’s vice president for education. “We are pleased, therefore, to help Indiana colleges and universities strengthen the use of these research-based principles to teach reading in their teacher preparation programs.”

Lilly Endowment launched the Advancing the Science of Reading in Indiana initiative in 2022. It complements a statewide effort undertaken in 2022 by the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) to improve reading achievement in K-12 schools by helping current teachers implement Science of Reading-aligned principles in their classrooms. In 2022, the Endowment made a $60 million grant to the IDOE to support that work with school districts and teachers across Indiana.

About Lilly Endowment Inc.

Lilly Endowment Inc. is an Indianapolis-based, private foundation created in 1937 by J. K. Lilly and his sons, Eli and J.K. Jr., through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly and Company. While those gifts remain the financial bedrock of the Endowment, the Endowment is a separate entity from the company, with a distinct governing board, staff and location. In keeping with its founders’ wishes, the Endowment supports the causes of community development, education, and religion, and it maintains a special commitment to its hometown, Indianapolis, and home state, Indiana.