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The Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship is a program of the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation that recruits, supports, and prepares individuals for teaching careers, typically in fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).
President Barack Obama cited the Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship as a model of STEM teacher preparation in a January 2010 speech on his administration’s Educate to Innovate initiative.
In 2007, the Woodrow Wilson Foundation began to focus on the closing of achievement gap, both at the K-12 level and also for institutions of higher education.
According to studies by various researchers and organizations, improvement in teacher expertise is the best way to improve student achievement, and teacher preparation is an important factor in improving learning outcomes.
Based on these findings, the Foundation created the Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship program. Teacher candidates who are graduating from or have graduated from college, including graduating college seniors, recent graduates, and midcareer or second-career professionals, are selected to receive fellowships of approximately $30,000, which they use to enroll in master's degree programs for teacher preparation at universities selected by the Foundation. They teach at associated local public secondary schools from the beginning of their master’s work. In exchange for the Fellowship, Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellows commit to teach in high-need urban or rural schools for three years. During the three-year period they receive ongoing mentoring from both their university and the school district in which they are placed.
The first Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship, called the Leonore Annenberg Teaching Fellowship, was created in 2007 with funding from the Annenberg Foundation. Its Fellows enroll in master’s-level teacher preparation at four selected national universities—Stanford University and the Universities of Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Washington. Each of the four universities conducts its own application and admissions process, with review by the Woodrow Wilson Foundation.
In late 2007, the foundation launched the Woodrow Wilson Indiana Teaching Fellowship. Supported by Lilly Endowment, the WW Indiana Teaching Fellowship focuses on STEM teaching, recruiting 80 Fellows per year to attend teacher preparation programs at Ball State University, IUPUI, Purdue University, and the University of Indianapolis. IUPUI and the University of Indianapolis prepare teachers for Indianapolis-area schools—while Ball State works with the Muncie and Anderson schools and Purdue prepares teachers specifically for a network of rural Indiana schools.
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