After years of passive recruitment on Bradley’s campus, Teach For America plans to take a much more active role in giving seniors an option after graduation next year.
“Ultimately, we want to be a part of the landscape on Bradley’s campus,” said Coury Shadyac, a recruitment director for Teach For America. “We want to tell people that this is a viable option after graduation.”
Shadyac said TFA plans to have multiple recruitment days on campus during the 2011-12 school year and hopes to boost their recruitment numbers from Bradley.
“I’m really looking forward to meeting students there and helping students to see that they have a choice of what to do after graduating,” she said. “I went to a liberal arts college myself and realizing that we have not tapped into the leadership potential there is something that we can look into. We want to use the existing structure of professors and faculty to recruit students. This isn’t the only option for graduating seniors, but it is an attractive thing to do on campus.”
In past years, applicants to the program from Bradley have been low, and as such, the numbers of people who have gotten into the program has been low, with only four seniors joining in 2010, three in 2009 and two in 2008. Shadyac said she thinks a part of the reason for these low numbers is caused by a number of misconceptions about the program.
“We are not a volunteer organization … this is a paid position with health care benefits,” she said. “There is also a two year time commitment. The last big thing that people don’t understand is that this is a program not just for education majors. We look for people with leadership skills and organizational experience. Those are the big three misconceptions.”
Ultimately, Shadyac said she believes getting involved with TFA will allow graduates to take part in solving one of the greatest problems that is affecting the country today.
“We look at the achievement gap between the privileged and the poor and around 50 percent of students in low income communities will not finish high school and one in ten of those will not finish college,” she said. “We are denying an education to a generation. If you get involved, you’re on the ground in the civil rights fight of the generation.”
Applications for next year’s TFA program have closed. Applications will reopen for 2012 in August.