Rice among top contributors to Teach For America

Rice University is one of 68 U.S. colleges and universities contributing the greatest number of alumni to Teach For America’s (TFA) 2014 teaching corps. The 5,300 incoming corps members represent more than 850 colleges and universities and 49 states and the District of Columbia.

Among 22 medium-sized schools (3,000-9,999 undergraduates) on the list of highest contributors, Rice and Yale University tied for No. 15 with 20 alumni each. Howard University ranked first in that category with 40. The University of Michigan-Ann Arbor topped the list of largest schools (10,000 or more undergrads), with 73 alumni joining this year’s corps. Two-thirds of TFA’s 2014 corps are graduating seniors from the Class of 2014, and one-third are transitioning to teaching from another field or joining the corps as experienced educators.

Founded in 1990, TFA recruits and develops a diverse corps of outstanding college graduates and professionals to make a two-year commitment to teach in high-need schools and become lifelong leaders in the movement to end educational inequity. The nonprofit organization works in partnership with communities to expand educational opportunities for children facing the challenges of poverty. This fall, 10,600 first- and second-year corps members are teaching in high-need classrooms across 50 regions.

“We’re incredibly grateful for the wide range of colleges, universities, and professional backgrounds that our corps members are coming from,” said Elisa Villanueva Beard, co-chief executive officer of Teach For America. “This is our most diverse corps yet — we really value the breadth of experience and identity that they’ll bring to the classroom.”Nicole Van Den Heuvel, director of Rice’s Center for Career Development, said TFA is one of the university’s top employers and is “an excellent fit” for the service- and leadership-minded students who want to give back to the community.

“Teach for America has a very strong brand and presence on campus,” Van Den Heuvel said. “They understand the excellent talent that Rice produces, which is a student who has strong critical thinking skills, proven problem-solving abilities and leadership qualities. All of our disciplines emphasize these skills, so the attraction for TFA is the whole student, and it’s not driven by a particular major.”

In addition to contributing alumni to TFA, Rice partnered with the organization this past summer for the fifth consecutive year to provide housing and meals for participants in TFA’s Houston National Institute. Engaging with the city of Houston and improving education are among Rice’s Priorities for the New Century. For more information, visit www.teachforamerica.org.

About Amy McCaig

Amy is a senior media relations specialist in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.