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June 3, 2010

UMBC Selected to Participate in Woodrow Wilson-Rockefeller Brothers Fund Fellowship for Aspiring Teachers of Color

Chelsea Haddaway
Communications Manager
(410) 455-6380

UMBC’s education department has been selected to participate in the Woodrow Wilson-Rockefeller Brothers Fund Fellowship for Aspiring Teachers of Color. The fund seeks to help recruit, support and retain individuals of color as public school teachers by providing them with support, including a $30,000 stipend toward the cost of a master’s degree.

Only 47 undergraduate institutions are allowed to nominate students for fellowships, and 27 schools are approved to receive graduate fellows. UMBC is able to both nominate students and receive fellows.

“They selected programs that they thought were strong and would support teachers of color,” said Eugene Schaffer, chair of the education department. “The department is really excited.”

The fellowship fund has recruited over 350 teachers since 1992. Last year, UMBC was one of about 160 universities that were asked to submit applications to be included, and one of 29 universities chosen to be included as either a nominating or receiving institution, or both.

“We had to describe our program, the university as a whole, what we thought was unique about what we did and why this would be a good location for teachers of color,” said Schaffer.

Students of color in their senior year will be eligible to apply for the fellowships, which aim to send teachers of color into high-need schools across the country. UMBC can nominate up to 2 fellows each year and will be able to nominate the first fellows this October. Because the goal of the program is to recruit students who had not previously considered teaching as a career, students who are currently education majors are ineligible.

“A lot of the schools in the inner city and rural districts have a hard time recruiting and retaining teachers, and the student population is heavily minority,” said Sarah Shin, associate professor of education, who will serve as the campus liaison for the fellowship. “The point is to have teachers who look like the students in the schools.”

Students chosen for the fellowship must be accepted to and attend a graduate program at one of the 27 receiving institutions. UMBC is one receiving institution; others include top universities such as Brown, Stanford and the University of Pennsylvania.

“It’s really a great honor to be included in this list,” said Shin. She said that UMBC is recruiting fellows by looking for ways to provide extras, such as professional development opportunities, and that the value of UMBC may also appeal to the fellows. “Thirty thousand dollars at Stanford doesn’t really do as much as thirty thousand dollars here,” she said.

Students who are interested in applying for the fellowship can contact Shin at

Posted by chelseah at June 3, 2010 11:54 AM