Mississippi Excellence in Teaching program now recruiting for 2014

Contact: Harriet Laird

MSU College of Education Dean Richard Blackbourn speaks to students in the Mississippi Excellence in Teaching Program.
MSU College of Education Dean Richard Blackbourn speaks to students in the Mississippi Excellence in Teaching Program.
Photo by: Megan Bean

STARKVILLE, Miss.--Mississippi State University currently is seeking "the best and brightest" for its fall 2014 class of Mississippi Excellence in Teaching Program Fellows.

MSU first announced the program in 2012 that offers cross-campus visits, weeklong summer residencies, professional conferences, and a study-abroad opportunity at no cost to the participants. Both institutions may recruit up to 20 students annually from throughout the United States.

With funding by the Jackson-based Robert M. Hearin Support Foundation, the joint effort with the University of Mississippi includes full tuition, including room, board, and books, and a $1,000 technology stipend. Over four years, the program's value totals more than $80,000.

In return, participants must commit to teaching mathematics or English in Mississippi for five years after graduation, though the obligation may be deferred if students decide to pursue graduate-degree programs.

Applicants also must possess at least a 28 ACT--or 1250 SAT--score. A required interview will be used to help determine each applicant's drive and dedication to the field.

MSU's priority deadline is Feb. 1, but applications will continue to be accepted through March. "I would hate for someone to miss out on such an opportunity that would benefit them and the future of our state, when Mississippi State University is giving them the tools to be successful and debt free when they start their career," said Melanie Boyle, campus METP manager.

During the first five years of funding, MSU officials have a goal of placing more than 80 graduates of the program into Mississippi classrooms.

Each 20-person METP cohort will be attending seminar-style classes once a week that focus on introductory teaching skills, how best to be a leader in education, and events and challenges that affect education today. Hands-on experiences in secondary education also will be provided.

"METP wants the best and brightest, and we want to give those selected the tools to not only be successful in their schools, but we want them to have tools to shape education in Mississippi," she emphasized.

Boyle said effective teaching involves more than knowing subject matter; it is a combination of student understanding, application and communication.

Richard Blackbourn, MSU College of Education dean, said METP Fellows will graduate with a knowledge base of resources and a support network of students and faculty for future endeavors. He said faculty in College of Education have been working hard to design and implement specific coursework for this new education training initiative.

Persons interested in applying may visit www.metp.org, or contact MSU at telephone 662-325-5543 or email metp@colled.msstate.edu.

For information about Mississippi State University, see www.msstate.edu.