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ASU ranks 2nd in undergraduate students committing to Teach for America

Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College contributed 43 students, second-most among large universities across US

graduation cap with "I <3 teaching" on it.
November 30, 2023

Arizona State University contributed 43 graduates to Teach For America in 2023, the second-highest number among universities with at least 10,000 undergraduate students.

Teach For America's leaders — called corps members — sign up for at least two years of teaching in an underresourced public school. The organization works in partnership with communities across the country to expand educational opportunities for children.

Among large universities, only UCLA had more graduates (47) commit to Teach For America. ASU ranked ahead of universities such as the University of Texas, Austin (29); the University of Virginia (27); and the University of California, Berkeley (19). See the full list on the Teach For America website.

“At ASU, we believe there should be multiple pathways for committed people to become teachers and educators,” said Carole Basile, dean of ASU’s Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College. “We’ve long shared that commitment with Teach For America, as well as a belief that people who spend time as educators can go on to leadership roles in a variety of organizations and in society as a whole.”

Krishnaa Pradhan, director of recruitment at ASU for Teach For America, said ASU is a model university when it comes to promoting her organization to students.

She said ASU President Michael Crow sends a letter to top-performing seniors every year encouraging them to consider Teach For America, and that Teach For America has productive partnerships with university organizations like Changemaker Central.

"So, we've been able to have a lot of buy-in from these strong influencers at ASU," Pradhan said. "That really strong partnership sets ASU apart from other universities in reaching students."

Pradhan said ASU is a natural fit for Teach For America because the university's charter, which includes these words — "assuming fundamental responsibility for the economic, social, cultural and overall health of the communities it serves" — aligns with Teach For America's goal of educational equity.

She said 60% of the recruits from ASU in 2022 identified as being from low-income communities, and many of the students who joined Teach For America are serving in schools in those communities.

"I think that's a really big part of it," Pradhan said. "We also have a lot of students at ASU who understand the value of networking and building leadership, and Teach For America provides them an opportunity to do that with like-minded individuals who also care very deeply about equity. So, there's a balance there with leadership development and personal growth as well as being able to give back to your community."

According to a Teach For America press release, the newest corps grows the organization's network to 70,000 leaders committed to working in rural and urban communities across the country.

“We’re inspired by the leaders who are stepping up to address the challenges in our public education system. They're diverse in their backgrounds and experiences, but united in their commitment to educational equity,” Darin Lim Yankowitz, senior vice president for recruitment at Teach For America, said in the release.

“For over 30 years, Teach For America has been finding, developing and supporting some of our nation's most talented early-career leaders to expand opportunities for kids in education and every other sector of society. It's exciting to welcome these new teachers from these incredible colleges and universities across the country to the Teach For America community."

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