|Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal, First Lady Sandra Deal, and
Woodrow Wilson Foundation President Arthur Levine met with
presidents and representatives of the five selected colleges
at the capitol March 3 to announce the start of the Woodrow
Wilson Georgia Teaching Felllowship program.
Piedmont to offer Woodrow Wilson Foundation
Georgia Teaching Fellowships
Piedmont College has been selected by the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation in Princeton, N.J., as one of five Georgia colleges to participate in a program designed to help attract the nation's very best science, technology, engineering and math candidates to the teaching profession.
The Wilson Foundation will provide stipends to "the best and brightest recent graduates and career changers" with backgrounds in what are called the STEM fields—science, technology, engineering, and mathematics—who wish to change careers to become middle and high school science and math teachers in high-need areas.
At the capitol in Atlanta on March 3, Gov. Nathan Deal and Woodrow Wilson Foundation President Arthur Levine announced the formation of the fellowships in Georgia.
"STEM education plays a critical role in our state's competitiveness and future economic prosperity," Deal said. "The most important thing we can do for our students in this field is ensure they have effective teachers. The Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowships will encourage more partnerships between institutions of higher education and our K-12 schools to improve educational opportunities for students in this critical area."
Georgia is just the fifth state selected by the foundation to participate in the program, after Michigan, Indiana, New Jersey, and Ohio, Levine said. In addition to Piedmont, the Wilson Foundation selected four other Georgia schools, including Columbus State University, Georgia State University, Kennesaw State University, and Mercer University.
"This program will have an enormous impact on STEM education not just in Georgia but across the Southeast," said Piedmont President Dr. James Mellichamp. "Right now, the STEM fellowship program is only offered in four other states, and their experience has been that scientists and technologists from around the country have come to their locations to enroll."
Participants accepted into the program will earn a master's degree with certification in one of the STEM areas and receive a year of intensive in-school teacher preparation. The participating colleges will also support and mentor the new teachers throughout their three-year teaching commitment in a high-needs school.
Dr. Don Gnecco, Dean of the School of Education, said one reason Piedmont was selected was because of its long history of conducting master's and specialist programs in education. "We also have a great working relationship with school systems across the state because of our existing off-campus graduate education programs," Gnecco said. "That will help us place the Wilson Fellows in schools that can best benefit from the particular expertise that they bring to the classroom."
The Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation traces its roots back to 1945, when professors at Princeton University realized that the U.S. would need qualified science professors to teach the large number of former soldiers who entered college through the GI Bill after World War II. Since then, the foundation, named for Princeton and U.S. president Woodrow Wilson, has changed the emphasis of its fellowship program as educational needs have changed.
The first Woodrow Wilson Fellows will enroll at Piedmont as early as summer of 2015, said Dr. Perry Rettig, Vice President for Academic Affairs. "We will be announcing additional details of the program as soon as they become available."
Dr. Julie Palmour, Associate Dean of the School of Education and Project Director at Piedmont, said applicants will enroll in the program directly through the Wilson Foundation. For more information, prospective applicants can contact Palmour at
or visit www.piedmont.edu/woodrow.