MSU and Ole Miss partner to address the state’s teacher shortage

Published: Apr. 3, 2023 at 5:38 PM CDT
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MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - You’ve heard of the ongoing teacher shortage issue across the nation. Now, Mississippi State University and the University of Mississippi have teamed up to address the state’s teacher shortage.

The program is called the Mississippi Excellence in Teaching Program. It was founded 11 years ago, and it’s funded by the Robert Hearin Support Foundation in Jackson.

As part of the program, high-achieving and passionate students who are studying to become teachers are awarded scholarships that range between $80,000 and $100,000. In return, the recipients must agree to teach in any public school in Mississippi for at least 5 years after graduation.

“We have a cross-campus experience, we have a residential experience, we have a study abroad experience and these students also get to participate in a national conference. We have students from other states who come here. We’ve even had families move to the state of Mississippi because they had a student who came here and they want to stay and teach those five years and they like it here. To impact education in Mississippi we need students who will go to college to be teachers and stay in the state and we think that this scholarship provides that opportunity to them,” said MSU College of Education Dean, Dr. Teresa Jayroe.

“What matters is that they’re going to be teaching in classrooms right next to each other, co-teaching in the same building, and supporting themselves following graduation. We’re rivals, Mississippi State and the University of Mississippi. We’re rivals on Saturdays on the football field but we’re partners in the classroom,” said Mississippi Excellence in Teaching Program Manager, Blake Adams.

50 students in the program stopped in Meridian Friday to meet with local superintendents. An 8th-grade science teacher at Southeast Middle School, Mr. Dunnam Shirley, was in the first class of recipients.