The Woodrow Wilson-Rockefeller Brothers Fund
Fellowships for Aspiring Teachers of Color
Frequently Asked Questions
This FAQ will be updated periodically. Please check back for new information.
- The Fellowship stipend was increased to $30,000.
- Fellows must have an Arts and Science major and an outstanding academic record in their discipline.
- Fellows must be nominated in the senior year of their undergraduate program at one of the nominating institutions.
- The network of nominating institutions was increased.
- Fellowship awards may only be used at the Foundation’s graduate education program partners.
Q: What is the Woodrow Wilson-Rockefeller Brothers Fund Fellowship for Aspiring Teachers of Color?
A: The goal of the Woodrow Wilson-Rockefeller Brothers Fund Fellowships for Aspiring Teachers of Color is to help recruit, support, and retain individuals of color as K-12 public school teachers in the United States. Current trends indicate that by the year 2020, the percentage of teachers of color will fall to an all-time low of five percent of the total teacher force, while the percentage of students of color in the K-12 system will likely near 50%. This Fellowship offers an important opportunity to ensure that greater numbers of highly qualified teachers of color enter public school classrooms around the country.
Q: What is the relationship between the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation?
A: The Rockefeller Brothers Fund established the Fellowship program in 1992 and funded and managed the program until 2009 when the administration was transferred to the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation. RBF has made a commitment of $5 million to support the program through 2012 which will fund the Fellows classes of 2010, 2011 and 2012. The Woodrow Wilson Foundation is committed to supporting the program beyond 2012.
Q: Why did the Rockefeller Brothers Fund select the Woodrow Wilson National fellowship Foundation as the new home for the Aspiring Teachers of Color Program?
A: According to a statement from the RBF, “We believe that the impact of the Fellowships can be significantly enhanced if responsibility for administering the Fellowships is transferred to the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation since the Foundation’s primary focus is identifying and developing talented individuals to address the educational needs. We believe that the RBF and the Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowships complement each other and will make significant contributions to addressing educational needs and enhancinge the impact of teacher quality, diversity, and effectiveness.”
In addition, all current, former and future Fellows will become lifelong members of a national network of intellectual leaders. Today’s 20,000 Woodrow Wilson Fellows include 13 Nobel Laureates, 35 MacArthur “genius grant” recipients, 14 Pulitzer Prize winners, two Fields Medalists in mathematics and many other noted scholars and leaders.
Q: Have changes been made to the Fellowship program with the transfer to the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation?
A: The goals for the WW-RBF Fellowships for Aspiring Teachers of Color have not changed. The Fellowship program seeks to expand the number of teachers of color by recruiting and supporting outstanding students of color, majoring in the Arts and Sciences to become teachers for America’s urban and rural schools. Fellows are required to teach for three years in an urban or rural, hard to staff school.
Several important changes have been made to enhance the fellowship experience beginning with the Class of 2010:
Q: How many Fellows are there?
A: In 2013, the WW-RBF program will name at least eight (8) Fellows, with potential additional awards contingent upon funding. To date, the Fellowship program has supported 425 Fellows. The 2010 Fellows class was the first selected under the administration of the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation.
Q: What has been the Fellowship program’s impact?
A: Over 60 percent of all Fellows that became teachers have remained in the teaching field for more than five years as compared to the national average of 33 percent. And more than 80 percent of the students selected for the Fellowships have pursued careers in public education or education related fields.
- are self-identified persons of color; ;
- are nominated by an eligible nominating institution;
- demonstrate a commitment to the program and its goals;
- have U.S. citizenship or permanent residency;
- expect to attain a bachelor’s degree by June 30, 2012;
- have substantial background in the arts and sciences and high academic performance of a cumulative undergraduate grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or better on a 4.0 scale (negotiable for applicants from institutions that do not employ a 4.0 GPA scale);
- are not currently in a teacher preparation program which leads to initial teacher certification.
Q: Who is eligible for the Fellowship?
A: The Fellowship is open to students in the senior year of undergraduate study who:
Q: Do I need to be an education major or have taken education classes to apply? What academic preparation should I have?
A: This Fellowship is designed to expand the pool of teachers of color. Students from all academic backgrounds within the Arts and Sciences in their senior year are encouraged to apply through their nominating campus liaison. Candidates who have taken a significant number of education courses which lead to teacher certification are not eligible for this Fellowship.
Q: What is the process for applying?
A: Candidates must be nominated by their undergraduate institution in order to be considered for this fellowship program. Each nominating institution is allowed to nominate two (2) candidates for the fellowship. Interested applicants must meet all requirements and campus application deadlines in order to be nominated and move forward in the application process. Candidates must apply separately to the participating graduate programs. Acceptance into the Fellowship program is contingent on acceptance into a partner graduate program.
Q: I graduated from college a few years ago. Can I still apply?
A: Only students in their senior year at a nominating institution are eligible for this Fellowship. Recent college graduates are encouraged to apply to the Leonore Annenberg Teaching Fellowship and/or the Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship programs in Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio.
Q: How many Fellowships will be awarded annually?
A: The Woodrow Wilson Foundation expects to award at least eight (8) WW-RBF Fellowships for the 2013 round.
Q: Where and when will interviews be conducted?
A: Up to fifty (50) finalists will be invited to the interviews in November with the Woodrow Wilson Selection Committee. Interviews will be scheduled over the weekend (Friday or Saturday) with the Woodrow Wilson selection panel of 2-3 members. The interview day will include a detailed discussion about the Fellowship program, a thirty minute interview with the selection committee, an impromptu writing assignment, and conclude with a question and answer session. There will be time for students to review program information from the graduate education program partners.
Q: What does the Fellowship offer?
A: The Fellowship offers a $30,000 stipend to complete a master’s degree program and initial teacher certification, in exchange for a commitment to teach for three years in high-need elementary or secondary public school. The partner graduate programs and the Woodrow Wilson Foundation provide support throughout the three-year Fellowship period. The Fellowship is administered by the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation in close partnership with the participating partner graduate programs.
Q: Will I need to pay tuition?
A: Yes. The $30,000 fellowship stipend is a direct payment to you that can be used toward tuition and living expenses. Each graduate program will have its own tuition and financial aid arrangements and Fellows are encouraged to apply for financial aid to cover unmet needs.
Q: Will the Foundation issue a 1099 or W-2?
Q: Is the stipend taxable?
A: Please consult with your tax advisor for further information.
Q: What will be my involvement with the WW-RBF Fellowship and future Woodrow Wilson Fellows after my commitment is complete?
A: After Fellows complete their teaching commitment, they remain part of a network of WW-RBF Fellows, as well as the larger national network of 20,000 Woodrow Wilson Fellows.
- Teacher preparation programs that focus on outcomes, preparing teachers with the skills and knowledge to advance student learning in the classes they teach.
- Programs that clearly define what teachers need to know and be able to do, with curricula mirroring those definitions.
- Programs that are joint initiatives – in planning, teaching, and assessment – of the colleges of arts and sciences and education.
- Programs that are clinically or school‐based.
- Programs that offer instruction integrating academic and clinical education, including instruction in child development and learning, standards‐based education, discipline based methods, curriculum design, data use, classroom management, and assessment.
- Programs that are taught jointly by university professors and school‐teachers, both expert in their fields and practice.
- Programs that have high graduation standards.
- Programs that have a documented track record of preparing, graduating, and placing students of color in teaching positions.
- Programs that offer intensive mentoring for graduates in partnership with the school districts hiring graduates.
- Programs that engage in rigorous assessment.
- Programs that are adequately funded.
Q: What is the network of Woodrow Wilson Graduate Education Program Partners?
A: Given the special social, economic and academic challenges that exist in many urban and rural, hard to staff schools, the Fellowship program has identified a select group of education preparation programs that have demonstrated records of success in preparing their graduates to make important contributions to schools that serve diverse students and communities. The WW Foundation created a set of standards that it feels are essential for programs that prepare Fellows to provide high quality instruction on day one in their future urban schools. The standards were developed in consultation with a national panel of leaders in the field.
The graduate program partners are:
Q: Will I be able to use the Fellowship award at an institution that is not a WW-RBF partner?
A: No. The Fellowship award may only be used at one of the programs partnering with the WW-RBF program. Acceptance as a WW-RBF Fellows is contingent on being accepted to an eligible graduate education program. Each selected WW-RBF Fellow must apply separately and be accepted to one of the partnering graduate education programs. The Fellowship must also be used towards attaining initial teacher certification.
Q: Will I qualify for loan forgiveness as a teacher in a high-need school?
A: The Federal government offers loan forgiveness in Federal loans for teachers who 1) meet the highly-qualified teacher status, 2) teach for five consecutive years, and 3) teach for these five years in a low-income school. As a WW-RBF Fellow, you should easily meet the criteria of being a highly-qualified teacher in a low-income school. For more information, please visit the Federal Student Aid website.
Q: How long must I teach to fulfill my commitment to the program?
A: WW-RBF Fellows agree to teach for three years in high-need elementary or secondary urban or rural schools, contingent on completing their master’s degree program and attaining their teaching license.
Q: Can I teach for only one or two years?
A: No. Fellows commit to teaching for three years when they accept the Fellowship.
Q: What happens at the conclusion of the three-year teaching commitment?
A: While Fellows will be free to choose the future direction of their career, we believe that the high-quality preparation and support the Fellowship provides will position Fellows for a sustained and successful career in teaching. Once selected as Fellows, WW-RBF Fellows become lifelong members of a national network of intellectual leaders. Today’s 20,000 Woodrow Wilson Fellows include 13 Nobel Laureates, 35 MacArthur “genius grant" recipients, 14 Pulitzer Prize winners, two Fields Medalists in mathematics, and many other noted scholars and leaders.
Other questions that are not answered in the information posted on this site can be directed by email to Ysabel Gonzalez at the Woodrow Wilson Foundation.
This FAQ will be updated periodically. Please check back for new information.