Mississippi State University and University of Mississippi leaders announced plans Tuesday in Jackson to use a $12.9 million private gift to launch the Mississippi Excellence in Teaching (MET) program, aimed at attracting top students to middle and high school teaching careers.
A press release from the two universities says this program brings together the MSU College of Education and the UM School of Education, with funding from the Robert M. Hearin Support Foundation in Jackson. Foundation chairman Bob Hearin said in the release that the idea of bringing two leading Mississippi universities together appealed to the foundation's board.
“For years, our foundation has been focused on education as the best pathway to economic prosperity for Mississippi,” Hearin said in the release. “We believe this program, which is focused on attracting the best and brightest to the profession of teaching, will help fulfill that idea."
The release says MET will function like an honors college for education majors, and all of its graduates will make a five-year commitment to teach in Mississippi after graduation. It says both universities hope to recruit 20 students at each campus per year and produce up to 160 new teachers, and the first MET classes will begin in fall 2013.
Deans for both universities' education departments, MSU dean Richard Blackbourn and UM dean David Rock, said in the release that admission requirements for MET are comparable to the schools' honors college admission requirements. Those accepted will receive full scholarships and room and board for up to four years, the deans said in the release, as well as money for study abroad or other off-campus studies, such as visiting high-performing schools in other states or countries.
More information will appear in Wednesday's edition of the Starkville Daily News.