Wooster Launches Peace Corps Prep Program

Endeavor seeks to prepare students for service experiences in the developing world

21 August, 2014 by John Finn

WOOSTER, Ohio — The College of Wooster has been selected to implement a Peace Corps Prep Program to help students as they reflect on and plan for possible service in the developing world.

Peace Corps Prep provides advising and mentoring for students, similar to Wooster's established programs in pre-health and pre-law. While the mission is to prepare students for successful service in the Peace Corps, it is also an effort to work more broadly to help them consider a range of careers that connect with the developing world, according to Harry Gamble, associate professor of French and Francophone Studies at Wooster. "Students who participate in the program do not have to apply to the Peace Corps," he said. "Likewise, those who complete the program and apply to the Peace Corps are not guaranteed acceptance. They will, however, have enhanced chances of being accepted, and of being successful in their eventual Peace Corps assignments."

After some data gathering last spring, administrators and faculty at the College came to realize that Wooster has historically sent fewer graduates into the Peace Corps than many of its peer institutions, according to Gamble. "Given the graduate qualities that we have endorsed — particularly global engagement, respect for diversity, and civic and social responsibility — we thought we could do more to prepare [our] students for the Peace Corps and related service experiences," he said.

"Last spring, we became aware of a new governmental initiative to cultivate Peace Corps Prep Programs at a number of colleges and universities, nationwide," added Gamble. "We submitted a proposal, and [later] received notification that our proposal had been accepted. Wooster will be one of 25 colleges and universities to operate such a program. We feel that we have put together something that will be a good fit for the College."