The Mississippi Excellence in Teaching Program (METP) offers an honors college style experience for students in the School of Education. These students, both from the University of Mississippi and Mississippi State University, complete four years of professional development, cross-campus learning, study abroad opportunities and mentoring while also receiving full scholarships.
METP was founded in 2013 with $12.95 million in initial funding from the Robert M. Hearin Support Foundation. METP has made headlines recently due to an additional $28 million investment by the Robert M. Hearin Support Foundation into the program over the next 10 years.
“[METP] was founded to address poor educational outcomes in Mississippi,” said Blake Adams, METP Program Assistant. “METP will achieve this by facilitating entry into the teaching profession for outstanding undergraduates who otherwise might not have considered the education profession, improving the perception of the education profession as a whole in Mississippi, and identifying and nurturing educational leaders for Mississippi and beyond.”
Ben Logan, Katianne Middleton and Jake Wheeler are three current seniors who are part of the first METP cohort and were accepted in the fall of 2013 as freshmen. All three students are planning to enter the classroom as full-time teachers this fall and have already seen the benefits of METP in their future careers.
“I definitely feel more prepared to enter the classroom than those who are not in METP because we have been observing schools and classroom since our freshman year,” Logan said. “We also have had education classes since freshman year and have been able to interact and work with professors like Dr. Bellman and Dr. Oliphant Ingam since freshman year. People who are not in METP do not have these opportunities until at least their junior year.”
METP participants are able grow more of a personal relationship with experienced and accomplished faculty advisers because they meet with them one on one much earlier and more often in their academic career than other students.
“The faculty and administration within the School of Education have been more supportive than anyone could have expected,” Wheeler said. “From Dean Rock, who I have had multiple one on one meetings with, to the professors, each and every faculty member has been there to support me as a student and as a future teacher.”
METP also attracts high-achieving students to the teaching profession that would not have chosen this path otherwise.
“Four years ago, I never would have dreamed that I would be completing my Secondary Math Education degree at The University of Mississippi,” said Middleton. “METP has made my college experience engaging and challenging, which has made me a better student and will make me a better teacher.”
With the generosity of the Robert M. Hearin Support Foundation, METP will continue to add up to 60 highly trained teachers to Miss. public schools each year. These new teachers will be confident and competent in the classroom because of the training they received through METP.
“I believe we have a chance to change the culture of teachers,” said Logan. “And we are starting to see that as more and more qualified people are entering the School of Education. We can change the state of Mississippi for the better because good schools start on the front lines with good teachers.”
The University of Mississippi METP application for incoming freshmen is due March 5, 2017. The application can be accessed here.
“I cannot emphasize enough how beneficial it was to be brought in as freshmen and manicured and developed throughout my college career,” said Wheeler. “I am a better teacher because of METP.”
Transfer students, current education majors, or students who change their major to education can also apply to METP up until their junior year by using this application.
“METP is more than a scholarship program,” said Middleton. “METP has equipped me to make a difference after graduation.”
Amy Goodin is a writer for HottyToddy.com. She can be reached at argoodin12
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