Minority Teaching Fund Designates U.Va.'s Curry School to Receive Fellows

May 3, 2010 — The University of Virginia's Curry School of Education has been selected by the Woodrow Wilson-Rockefeller Brothers Fund Fellowship program to receive its fellows – minority undergraduate seniors aspiring to be teachers – as early as the 2011-12 academic year.

Curry is one of 29 schools selected from the nearly 160 applicants. Each school was awarded a two-year designation and is welcome to reapply to receive fellows for the 2013-14 academic year and beyond. 

Before awarding "designated school" status, the Woodrow Wilson-Rockefeller Brothers Fund Fellowship program allowed their fellows to apply to any teacher education program in the United States. In an effort to increase the quality of the preparation these fellows receive, the program created this designated school status. The 2011-12 academic year will be the first in which the fellows are required to apply to one of the 29 designated schools.

Once selected as fellows, students will apply to the teacher education programs at any of the 29 designated schools. They will be required to apply and meet the same admissions standards as any other applicant to the Curry School.

According to the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, "Receiving this designation is, indeed, a high honor and a mark of national recognition indicating the quality of teacher preparation program."

Fellows receive a stipend of $30,000 from the Woodrow Wilson-Rockefeller Brothers Fund. In return, they commit to teach in a high-need rural or urban school for three years upon finishing their degree. During these three years, the fellows are supported through mentoring arranged by the foundation and are also invited to the annual meeting of all Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellows.

"This fellowship provides a unique and timely opportunity for us as we are initiating a focused effort to increase the diversity of the students in our teacher education program," said Stan Trent, the Curry School's assistant dean for diversity and equity. "This program will allow us to be more competitive in recruiting these talented students."

U.S. News & World Report magazine ranked three areas in Curry's teacher education program among the top 10 in the nation. Special education is ranked No. 6, elementary education is ranked No. 10 and secondary education is ranked sixth.

"Being designated as one of the 29 institutions for the Woodrow Wilson-Rockefeller Brothers Fund Fellowship fellows is a great honor for Curry,” said Robert Pianta, dean of the Curry School of Education. "We look forward to the enhanced experience that increasing the diversity of the students in our teacher education program will provide for all of our students."

The Teacher Education Program at Curry offers two avenues for aspiring teachers. Its five-year, dual-degree program is planned and operated cooperatively with U.Va’s College of Arts & Sciences. Students currently enrolled in the College apply for admission to the Curry School during their second year of enrollment, taking classes at both schools for the next three years. At the end of five years, students receive both their undergraduate and graduate degrees.

The second program is designed for individuals who already have an undergraduate degree and are interested in becoming teachers. Aspiring teachers in the teacher education program can focus their studies on elementary education, English, foreign language, mathematics, kinesiology, science, social studies or special education.