Not all PhD students can find or ultimately want a career in higher education. Our high schools need teachers with talent and passion in humanities subject areas. Given that Stanford has top-ranked programs in the humanities and given that STEP, the Stanford Teacher Education Program, is a national leader in preparing teachers, we have an unbeatable formula for making a difference in the lives of young adults.
Other countries—such as Finland, France, and Switzerland—have long seen value in placing teachers with advanced degrees in secondary school classrooms. The United States lags behind this trend in improving access to high-quality subject knowledge at the secondary school level. Our new fellowship opportunity, H-STEP (https://teachingcommons.stanford.edu/grants-awards/h-step-fellowship), aims to change this. Stanford PhDs in the humanities and arts who are awarded the H-STEP fellowship will join a community of scholar-teachers whose rare combination of pedagogical skills and content knowledge will improve student learning. We also hope that this program will help raise the professional profile of high school teaching in the United States.
A nonfunded teacher certification program would not be a feasible financial commitment for a graduating PhD. The H-STEP fellowship relieves this pressure by providing tuition, a living stipend, and health insurance for our PhD students who are admitted to the STEP program. All students who have completed or will complete a PhD in a humanities subject are eligible for this fellowship (the fellowship is conditional on finishing the PhD). Through this fellowship we intend not only to provide a new career opportunity for our PhD students but also to underscore the university’s commitment to improving the quality of education available to young students in North America.
H-STEP fellows will embark on a twelve-month full-time program to ensure that they enter the secondary classroom well versed in teaching and learning theories as well as in practical classroom management. STEP alumni readily find employment and are respected members of the California teaching community, and we expect that our H-STEP fellows will also have no difficulty in finding high school place- ments. The combination of a humanities PhD and a STEP MA in education will open new doors to scholars committed to working with young people.