University of Richmond was ranked third nationally among small schools that contribute graduates to Teach for America, a national program that helps struggling school systems find temporary teachers.
Richmond contributed 19 recent graduates who now serve as first- or second-year teachers in the program. DePauw University and Spelman College tied for first, with 20 graduates, in the category of schools that have less than 3,000 undergraduate students.
“I think so many students are drawn to TFA because of our liberal arts education,” said Emma Pohl, Richmond’s campus campaign coordinator for TFA. “We learn how to think critically and respect other people’s opinions. We’re well-rounded, and a lot of our classes go out into the community and give back, especially in the area of education.”
TFA recruits undergraduate college students for a two-year teaching commitment to work in schools in under-serviced areas, Pohl said. “They want to find intelligent and passionate people to help solve the educational inequity in this country,” she said.
The number of Richmond graduates who have committed to TFA has grown in recent years, and the university did not even make the top contributor’s list in 2013.
“TFA sets some of the best practices in college recruiting. They invest in visiting campus multiple times each year, appoint a student campus ambassador, reach out to Career Services and faculty and student organizations,” said Leslie Stevenson, director of Career Services.
TFA started recruiting this past week with the arrival of the region’s TFA manager of recruitment, Capree Bell.
“Our manager was just on campus and she met with 15 or 16 students and she’s coming back on Thursday,” Pohl said. “I have a feeling we will have a lot of graduating students working for TFA next year. University of Richmond students are just a great fit for the program.”
TFA is now a presence in more than 50 regions throughout the country in areas both urban and rural. TFA recently announced that it would start working with Richmond City Public Schools next fall. This will be the first school system in Virginia that TFA has worked with.
“I think this will increase the amount of University of Richmond students interested in TFA as it creates more awareness for the program,” Pohl said. “We’re stuck in this bubble, and if you drive five minutes away the population is so different. TFA can help make students aware of that as well.”
Contact reporter Juliana Sorrentino at email@example.com
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