7/8/11 University to expand Teaching Fellows

University to expand Teaching Fellows
State program’s demise led Elon to recruit nationwide
By Mike Wilder The Times-News 7/8/11     
Reprinted with permission.

 ELON — The demise of the state’s Teaching Fellows Program means Elon University will offer an altered version of the program on its own.

 The state’s program, begun in 1986, was designed to recruit top students into the profession. The state provided a yearly scholarship of $6,500 to each student, with each participating school providing a matching $6,500 per year. Students who completed the program were required to either teach in North Carolina’s public schools for at least four years or to repay the money for each year they did not teach in the state.

 The state program is being phased out. While 2011-12 will be the last year high school students enter college as Teaching Fellows, the state will continue to pay the scholarships during their four years in school. The state program’s elimination is part of the budget approved by the General Assembly this year.

 David Cooper, who is dean of Elon’s School of Education, said the new effort will involve recruitment of students from throughout the United States as well as other countries

 “Wewillrecruit high-achieving scholars and continue to offer a program that prepares them to teach in any state where they want to begin their careers,” Cooper said. Within that context, he said, Elon will give particular attention to choosing high-achieving students from North Carolina.

 Cooper said many education students at Elon do pre-graduation work in the Alamance-Burlington and Guilford systems, and some stay here to teach after graduation. Recent statistics show the Alamance-Burlington system has the fifth-highest number in the state of Teaching Fellows graduates, not exclusively but in part because of Elon’s participation.

 He said the program is designed to develop strong teaching skills in young men and women who are already top students.

 “These are outstanding young people,” he said. “They are truly outstanding teachers when they leave.”

 The program will be comparable with similar efforts to bring top students in fields such as business and communications to Elon through fellows programs, Cooper said.

 The new program begins with the freshman class of 2012-13. Students enrolled in the program will receive a $4,500 Teaching Fellows Scholarship each year. Cooper said students will also be eligible to apply for Elon’s Presidential Scholarships, which also provide $4,500 each year. Those scholarships are initially awarded based on students’ academic record in high school and are continued during their college years on the same basis.

 The two scholarships combined would equal about 30 percent of the total cost of a year at Elon, Cooper said, including tuition, housing and meals, and fees.

 Cooper said benefits to Teaching Fellows other than direct financial aid will continue. Those include a semester studying and interning in either London or the Central American country of Costa Rica; an American history study tour of East Coast cities such as Philadelphia and Boston; and a winterterm seminar inWashington, D.C.

 Elon plans to enroll 20 students each year as part of the program. That’s down from 25 per year as part of the state’s program.

 Cooper said Elon had already included a few out-of-state residents each year as part of the state’s program, providing a foundation for the new effort.