Ollie Gratzinger | Opinions Editor
On Sept. 11, Duquesne University announced that it would be one of three institutions in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to receive a grant from the Woodrow Wilson Foundation.
Created in 1945, the Woodrow Wilson Foundation originally served to “attract veterans back to academic careers,” according to its website. Over time, the foundation has also come to focus on recruiting gifted teachers and preparing them to serve as STEM educators in “high-need” schools. Because of this, the Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship was born.
Along with the University of Pennsylvania and West Chester University, Duquesne will be awarded $400,000 to put toward the development of new teacher preparation programs, according to the Pittsburgh Business Times. The goal of the program is to better prepare educators to lead (STEM) programs in underprivileged schools.
Pennsylvania joins Georgia, Indiana, New Jersey, Ohio and Michigan with the integration of the Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship into some of its institutions.
Duquesne University Times reports that the university will be able to enroll 12 fellows per year over the course of three years, with the first class slated to begin in the summer of 2019. Each fellow will receive $32,000 to complete an intensive master’s degree program. Then, they will serve for three years as a STEM educator in a high-need public school.
“All Pennsylvania students both need and deserve strong STEM teachers,” said Woodrow Wilson Foundation President Arthur Levine in a press release posted to Duquesne’s website. “Through this effort, Pennsylvania will continue to strengthen its schools, its communities and its future.”
Duquesne University President Ken Gormley echoed Levine’s sentiments, citing Duquesne’s “deep commitment to the communities around it” as an influencing factor in the foundation’s decision to include the university in its initiative.
“In meeting with the leadership from the Woodrow Wilson Foundation, it was clear that they were captivated by the story of Duquesne University as an institution founded to help recent immigrants in the 1800s,” Gormley said. “The Woodrow Wilson Foundation concluded that Duquesne was the ideal fit for this special program, because the initiative was so directly connected to our mission as a Catholic Spiritan institution and our new Strategic Plan.”
Gormley also stressed the ways in which the program will greatly benefit not only the university and its students, but also the Pittsburgh region as a whole.
“This initiative … will provide new opportunities for the School of Education and the entire campus to continue our longstanding tradition as a leader in training great educators who will make enormous contributions in the future, enriching underserved school districts and communities for years to come.”