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National Program Seeks to Advance Underrepresented Faculty through Pre-Doctoral Fellowship

Next month, members will gather for AACTE’s 75th Annual meeting and immerse ourselves in several days of sessions within the theme of “Innovation through Inspiration: Remembering the Past to Revolutionize the Future.” As representatives of an institution of higher education that was founded in 1855 as the Paterson City Normal School in response to the growing demand for professional preparation of teachers-in-service in the emerging free public schools of Paterson, New Jersey, and one that is now a comprehensive university that proudly wears its designation of Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) and is led by a president who is a first-generation college graduate and a member of LGBTQ Presidents in Higher Education, we are excited to share an initiative that aligns with AACTE’s Annual Meeting theme.

In fall 2023, William Paterson University will welcome two pre-doctoral fellows into the College of Education, one in teacher education (preferably with a specialization in early childhood education or secondary education), and one in special education. Applications are now being accepted for this unique pre-doctoral fellowship program aimed at supporting career development of faculty from underrepresented backgrounds.

William Paterson University launched its predoctoral fellowship program in 2021 to advance diversity in higher education by supporting advanced-standing doctoral or terminal degree candidates from diverse backgrounds as they launch academic careers and complete their dissertations or degree requirements. William Paterson is recognized as one of the most ethnically diverse regional universities in the northern United States by U.S. News & World Report, who also ranks the university as a standout performer in social mobility.

“It has been a joy to witness the professional and personal development of our inaugural cohort of fellows: highly qualified and motivated scholars who are committed to our mission as a teaching institution that serves diverse students,” says William Paterson University Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Joshua Powers. “These emerging faculty members play a critical role in higher education: advancing faculty diversity; bringing their unique and much-needed perspectives to the 21stcentury academy; and serving as role models in whom our students can see themselves.”

“The great thing about William Paterson University’s predoctoral teaching fellowship is that it provides the sort of career preparation that most graduate programs don’t offer their doctoral candidates. Fellows learn how a department functions, how to develop their teaching skills, and how to navigate university processes as an employee, all with targeted supports and a cohort of peers to assist them,” says Associate Provost of Academic Initiatives Kara Rabbitt, who serves as coordinator of the fellowship program. “This program sets fellows up for successful academic careers by supporting them as they learn how to balance teaching, research, and service, and how to do it well.”

Join Us: January 18 Webinar
An online information session about the program will take place via Zoom on Wednesday, January 18 at 2:30 p.m. EST.  The information session will be moderated by Rabbitt and Interim Associate Dean of the College of Education David Fuentes, and among the participants will be two of the University’s inaugural predoctoral fellows (2021-2023).

Immediately preceding the information session will be a free webinar about supporting Latino students’ success in higher education. The webinar, which will run from 1:00 to 2:30 p.m. EST, features a keynote address by Sarita E. Brown, co-founder & president of Excelencia in Education, the nation’s premier authority on accelerating Latino student success in higher education by linking research, policy, and practice. 

A recognized leader and advocate for equity in higher education, Brown began her career at the University of Texas at Austin, where she built a national model for increasing the number of students of color in graduate education and in the academy. She then served in leadership roles with higher education associations, American University, and the Hispanic Scholarship Fund Institute. She was appointed executive director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans during the Clinton Administration.

Register today for the information session and free webinar.

(Note: The information session will be recorded and available on the University’s website after January 18 for those who are unable to attend in real-time.)

We hope that many AACTE members will join us for the webinar on January 18 at 1:00 p.m., and we especially welcome Holmes Scholars to stay for the information session at 2:30 p.m. Connect with us also at the Annual Meeting’s Holmes Scholars Career Fair.

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David Fuentes

William Paterson University