Founded in 1945, the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation identifies and develops leaders and institutions to meet the nation’s critical challenges.
The Woodrow Wilson Fellowships responded to a shortage of college faculty at the conclusion of World War II by offering talented students the opportunity to attend doctoral programs and begin college teaching careers. As college enrollments swelled in the latter half of the 20th century, the Woodrow Wilson program prepared generations of faculty, creating a well-known fellowship and becoming a hallmark of academic excellence.
Over time, the Foundation’s fellowships have evolved to address emerging needs, serve specific populations underrepresented in the academy, strengthen designated fields, and support key stages in professorial careers. The Woodrow Wilson Foundation has awarded fellowships to more than 22,000 scholars, who now include 15 Nobel Laureates, 38 MacArthur “Genius Grant” Fellows, 19 Pulitzer Prize winners, 27 recipients of Presidential and national medals, and many others.
Today, Woodrow Wilson seeks to build upon this legacy of excellence. It administers a portfolio of fellowships intended both to strengthen American education and to address urgent contemporary challenges.
The Foundation’s current signature program, the Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship, aims to help close the pervasive achievement gap between Americans, by race and income. Using the prestige of the historic Woodrow Wilson Fellowships and harnessing new resources, the Foundation recruits exceptionally able individuals—recent college graduates as well as experienced professionals—to careers in secondary-level teaching. The universities where they enroll in master’s-level teacher preparation programs are selected for their willingness to change how teachers are prepared, providing Fellows intensive classroom experience with a focus on teaching in low-income communities and high-need schools.
Through this work, the Foundation seeks to dignify the teaching profession, encourage the most outstanding students to choose teaching as a career, and improve the quality of teacher education programs.
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