STARKVILLE, Miss.--Educators must be catalysts for creating a cycle of knowledge, students in the Mississippi Excellence in Teaching Program were told Monday [Oct. 28] at Mississippi State.
Some 10 METP participants from the University of Mississippi came to the Starkville campus to meet with their MSU peers. They toured the College of Veterinary Medicine, participated in a scavenger hunt and heard from several speakers, including state Sen. Sally Doty of Brookhaven.
Announced in January and funded by the Jackson-based Robert M. Hearin Support Foundation, METP is a joint effort by MSU and UM to prepare high-achieving students to be leaders in education. Monday's event was among numerous cross-campus visits planned each semester to help introduce participants to faculty and fellow METP students at each institution.
An attorney, Doty currently serves as vice-chair of both the Senate's Judiciary A and Public Property committees. She also is secretary of the Finance Committee, and a member of the Judiciary B, Economic Development, Business and Financial Institutions and Drug Policy committees.
A legislator for two years, she discussed the state's education funding structure and stressed the importance of keeping updated on all legislation affecting public school teaching.
"I am so impressed that you have made the commitment to be teachers in this state," Doty told the students. "I can't wait to see what comes of this program."
Jerry Gilbert, MSU provost and executive vice president, reminded the students of the global challenges the world will face in the coming years and the role educators will have in shaping those who will face these issues.
"Don't underestimate the influence you'll have; you have the future in your hands," Gilbert said.
Allison Pearson, an MSU Giles Distinguished Professor of Management, tied her remarks to Gilbert's theme: "The root of solutions to the world's big problems are knowledge and learning. As teachers, you're laying the foundation for that."
Pearson also compared education to Isaac Newton's first law of motion.
"Every object in a state of uniform motion tends to remain in that state of motion unless an external force is applied to it," she said. "As educators, you are the forces that move people.
"The standards are high for you, and high for a reason," Pearson added.
To be admitted, METP candidates must possess grades and test scores comparable to admission requirements for both the MSU and UM honors colleges. An interview process identifies those with a demonstrated passion and dedication for improving public education in the state.
Accepted education majors receive full scholarships and room-and-board for up to four years. The program also provides money to study abroad or for off-campus learning activities such as visiting high-performing schools around the nation or abroad.
All graduates make a five-year commitment to teach in the state following graduation, and they will have been trained especially for the new national Common Core Standards.
For more information about METP, go to http://metp.msstate.edu/.