Duquesne is one of just three Pennsylvania universities selected by the Woodrow Wilson Foundation for its new initiative to ensure strong teachers are leading STEM classrooms in high-need schools across the state. Gov. Tom Wolf announced the launch of the new initiative at a ceremony in Harrisburg on Sept. 7.
The Woodrow Wilson Pennsylvania Teaching Fellowship will focus on preparing top-quality educators for many of the state’s most underserved public schools. Each fellow receives $32,000 to complete a specially designed, cutting-edge master’s degree program based on a yearlong classroom experience. In return, fellows commit to teach for three years in urban and rural Pennsylvania schools that most need strong STEM teachers. During their three-year commitment, fellows receive ongoing support and mentoring.
The Woodrow Wilson Foundation selected Duquesne University, the University of Pennsylvania and West Chester University as initial university partners, following an in-depth, statewide review.
“It’s a tremendous honor for Duquesne University to be selected by the prestigious Woodrow Wilson Foundation for its cutting-edge Pennsylvania Teaching Fellows program,” said President Ken Gormley. “Our School of Education has a rich history of preparing outstanding leaders in the classroom for nearly 90 years. Duquesne’s mission is deeply rooted in helping others and serving our local communities. This fellowship program will further our success in fostering distinguished teachers in the STEM fields.”
These institutions will spend the next year tailoring their teacher preparation programs to meet the fellowship’s standards for intensive clinical work and rigorous related coursework.
“As a tier-one research university, Duquesne is dedicated to advancing math, science and engineering,” said Provost Dr. David Dausey, who attended the Harrisburg event with Dr. Cindy Walker, dean of the School of Education. “We are excited to be part of the Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellows program because it provides Duquesne the ability to continue to build its legacy in STEM education by training the teachers of tomorrow. Our School of Education, offering a full range of bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees, is an ideal place for these leaders to be trained as educators.”
Duquesne will receive a $400,000 grant to develop teacher preparation programs based on standards set by the Woodrow Wilson Foundation. The University will be able to enroll 12 fellows annually during the program’s three-year period. The foundation will begin recruiting fellows for the program immediately, with the first class of fellows in Pennsylvania expected to begin in the summer of 2019.
“Expanding businesses need people with STEM skills, and that starts with great teachers,” said Wolf. “I commend the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation for making Pennsylvania the sixth state with this fellowship and for its dedication to delivering a quality STEM education to our students. This fellowship is the perfect match with my PAsmart initiative that has made Pennsylvania a national leader in STEM and computer science education.”
Georgia, Indiana, Michigan, New Jersey and Ohio have already introduced the Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship to its colleges and universities.
“All Pennsylvania students both need and deserve strong STEM teachers,” said Arthur Levine, president of the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation. “Through the Pennsylvania Teaching Fellowship Program, we will now help the state construct new pipelines of aspiring educators with strong backgrounds in science, technology, engineering and math, all committed to teaching in Pennsylvania’s high-need communities. Through this effort, Pennsylvania will continue to strengthen its schools, its communities and its future.”
The Woodrow Wilson Foundation will create and administer the program, anchored by a $5 million matching grant from the William Penn Foundation, and generously supported by Highmark, AT&T, the Pennsylvania State Employees Credit Union, M&T Bank, the Weiss Family Foundation, Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education Foundation, and several other major individual donors.