Challenges to Recruitment
One of the major challenges to the project is reaching African
American boys and young men at decision-making times in their
lives, Millward said. “We need to visit public schools and get
them thinking about becoming a teacher. But there are layers of
Statistics bear out the difficulty of the task. Millward cites a
Harvard study showing that, out of 100 African American males
in 10th grade at an urban school, half will drop out before their senior year. Of the 50 who graduate, 30 will
be qualified for college, and 20 will go. “Of
those, 9 will graduate, and 1 might major in
A professionally diverse advisory
committee is guiding the project to bring
more black men into teaching.
“Encouraging African American males to
seriously consider education as a profession
is difficult,” said Corey Burnett, an African
American sociology teacher at Gateway
High School in Monroeville and a member
of the advisory committee. “There are
stereotypes that make it a hard sell. It’s seen
as a low-paid profession and a women’s
profession. To become certified, there is a
battery of tests.”
Corey Burnett, Gateway High School
Of the African American men who decide
to become teachers, fewer want to work
in elementary schools and more choose to
teach in high schools, for which they need
more specialized training.
“Becoming proficient with the content is
one of the problems,” Burnett said. “We
want to reach students at an early age,
so they don’t have skills that need to be
remediated when they are in high school.”
A tuition incentive program already
in place in the region could play to the
consortium’s benefit. The Pittsburgh
Promise, a charitable foundation offering
up to $40,000 in scholarships to qualifying
city high school graduates, has put higher
education within reach for thousands more
students than in the past.
IUP also has a head start on attracting
students from Pittsburgh schools through
the Promise Plus grant awarded by the
Heinz Foundation in 2009. The program
brings elementary students to Indiana for summer workshops and allows students
to earn IUP credits while in high school
through dual enrollment.
The consortium’s recruitment initiative
even appeals to black men already in
college—those who haven’t declared
a major or who may be having second
thoughts about the courses they’ve chosen.
“They are fair game,” Millward said. If
those students don’t switch to teaching, the
call could extend to their friends or their
brothers at home.
Burnett, who earned his master’s and
doctoral degrees at IUP, said the project is
aimed at students at various ages. “We
have some consensus at this point that
the long-term solution is not in the 11th
or 12th grade,” he said. “We really want to
reach out to kids in 5th and 6th grades, in
a mentoring way. As time goes on, it’s our
goal to identify a core group that is younger
and to help them to avoid behaviors that
would exclude them from becoming good
“The goal is not to create African American
teachers, but highly qualified teachers.”
That concern is top of mind for Millward
and others on the project. When word of the
grant first was posted on the university’s
Facebook page, it drew mixed reaction.
“The best teachers should get the jobs,”
one user posted. “Selection by sex or race
prevents that from happening.”
“I agree!” another replied. “The most
qualified should always get the job. That’s
Phillip Woods, principal of West Mifflin
Area High School, said that, as an administrator and an African American, he
can advocate for employing a qualified yet
“It sounds to me like Dr. Millward is trying
to identify individuals who could be
possible candidates and provide them with
the appropriate training so that when they
reach the opportunity to be hired, they have
the necessary skills to be the successful
candidate,” said Woods, a student in the
IUP Administration and Leadership Studies
doctoral program. “I’m 100 percent in favor
of that, but I would never suggest or imply
that people are hired based on certain
“The main thing we have to focus on
is to build the competencies, build the
proficiencies, and build individuals who can
successfully meet the requirements, so they
are not easily turned away.”
More from the Fall-Winter 2012 Issue of IUP Magazine
Students are boosting their IUP philanthropy. What gives?
Susan Snyder ’85 on winning the 2012 Pulitzer Prize.
Several principles will guide us as we formulate together our vision of the future IUP.
Bob Henger ’63 devotes a chapter of his book to his years at Indiana State College.
Some of the more unusual memorabilia that alumni have lovingly donated to IUP.
In 1979, the soccer team was sinking. Then came Trevor.
Alumni Association Board Officers, and how they got that way.
50 years of computing at IUP.