Mercer joins Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship

Mercer University was recently named one of five institutions to be selected to participate in the Woodrow Wilson Georgia Teaching Fellowship. The Georgia Partnership is supporting the program for Excellence in Education.

Mercer is becoming part of the newly developing initiative that will work toward increasing the supply of teachers in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) and change how they are taught to maximize efficiency.

The Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation exists to help identify and develop leaders and institutions to go up against some of the nation’s critical challenges. The Foundation has an array of programs that help support the development of more than 21,000 leaders, including teachers, scholars and businesspeople.

“Initially founded in 1945, the foundation was formed to give fellowships to World War II veterans wanting to return to college after their military career.  Over the years the fellowship program expanded, adding thousands of fellows and many went on to have impressive careers – 14 Nobel Laureates, 35 MacArthur Fellows, 16 Pulitzer Prize winners and hundreds of other distinguished individuals,” said the project director of the Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship, Melissa Cruz.

Today, the Woodrow Wilson Foundation seeks to build upon its name of excellence while maintaining its historic roots and working to help improve the achievement gap between Americans that is set by race and income.

“The Foundation has oversight of the Fellowship and will initiate the recruitment and selection process of the fellows,” said Cruz.  “The Foundation will also provide guidance and administrative support to the universities throughout the many years of the programs. The Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship seeks to attract talented, committed individuals with backgrounds in the STEM fields—science, technology, engineering and mathematics—into teaching in high-need secondary schools.”

“We will develop an innovative curriculum to prepare graduate level students with undergraduate degrees in science, math and engineering for careers as teachers,” said university President, William Underwood. “Working in partnership with regional school districts, we will then enroll Woodrow Wilson Fellows who will complete this masters level program, with significant stipends provided by the Foundation and University, and commit themselves to careers as outstanding K-12 teachers.”

Each university participating has a dedicated university faculty member, a program director, who will oversee the Teaching Fellowship. The university program director will work with Fellows to ensure that they are successfully progressing and growing. Part of the program directors’ influence includes aiding Fellows as they develop strong relationships with colleagues in the schools Fellows will become teachers.

The university program director continues to work with Fellows once they become certified teachers, earn their master’s degree, and begin teaching full time. They aid in their transition into the classroom and with any challenges they may face in their careers.

Mercer University will be part of several universities in the exclusive program to continue efforts to strengthen teaching programs across the country.