MSU to help fill shortage of math, science teachers through fellowship

May 14, 2010

EAST LANSING, Mich. — Michigan State University will prepare more educators needed to teach science, technology, engineering and mathematics in Michigan’s urban schools as part of a new statewide fellowship program highlighted Jan. 6 by President Barack Obama.

MSU is one of six universities selected to participate in the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s Woodrow Wilson Michigan Teaching Fellowship. The fellowship was created last fall after the Kellogg Foundation awarded a $16.7 million grant to the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation.

The program provides promising future teachers – who can be recent college graduates or career-changing engineers and scientists – with an intensive master’s degree program in education and places them in hard-to-staff middle and high schools for a minimum of three years. The fellowship will prepare 240 teachers over two years, beginning in 2011.

Obama named the program among the best new efforts to improve math and science achievement during an “Educate to Innovate” Campaign event at the White House today. Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm plans a news conference with the participating universities and school districts at 1 p.m. Thursday.

The Woodrow Wilson foundation announced the participating universities today. In addition to MSU, they are the University of Michigan, Eastern Michigan University, Western Michigan University, Grand Valley State University and Wayne State University.

“MSU is committed to helping address critical shortages in the work force as Michigan faces the demands of today’s global economy. Our College of Education has already made the enhancement of effective math and science teachers a top priority,” said MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon. “The Woodrow Wilson fellowship will allow the teacher education program to build on its strengths and produce more teachers able to provide high-quality STEM instruction in our state’s urban schools.”

Woodrow Wilson teaching fellows that come to MSU will attend summer courses and complete a full-year teaching internship modeled after the university’s highly-regarded initial certification program for undergraduate teacher candidates.

The new 16-month fellowship, which culminates in both a master’s degree and teaching certificate, will focus on preparing individuals for careers in urban settings where STEM teachers are in especially high demand. The teacher education faculty at MSU has experience developing successful urban education programs in partnership with Detroit Public Schools, as well as a history of creating courses for teachers in collaboration with the College of Natural Science.

Carole Ames, dean of the College of Education, said MSU hopes to enroll 20 fellows beginning in summer 2011. Fellows receive a $30,000 stipend.

“This is a tremendous opportunity for the state of Michigan,” Ames said. “The Woodrow Wilson Michigan Teaching Fellowship will attract prospective teachers of mathematics and science, enable high-quality preparation to certify these teacher candidates and fill a tremendous need in hard-to-staff schools. The beneficiaries will be the students in Michigan who will have highly qualified teachers in the critical areas of mathematics and science.”

For more information on the program, visit