Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning
Commission Competitive Education Awards Program FY 2011
The Office of Academic and Student Affairs (OASA) at the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning (IHL) is responsible for developing academic policies and programs that will provide the most comprehensive learning opportunities for students as they pursue higher education. This is achieved when there is a clear understanding of the societal needs that these new professionals must be trained to meet. In the area of education and teacher preparation, specifically in the STEM areas (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics), there is a most urgent need. Mississippi's eight public universities are graduating Teacher Education majors in Elementary Education at a much higher rate (from 661 in 2008 to 757 in 2010) than Praxis II Subject Area majors (IHL-OASA Graduation Data, 2005-2010). According to the same report, Biology Education, Chemistry Education, Mathematics Education, and Physics Education accounted for only 180 graduates from 2008 to 2010. Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning (IHL) is submitting a new State Commission-approved Education Award Program (EAP) application to request one hundred (100) quarter-time AmeriCorps slots (26.46 MSY). The program is requesting a September 1, 2011 start date. The program will be entitled the STEM Higher Education AmeriCorps Program and plans to recruit college students who are pursuing a degree in a STEM field of study. As AmeriCorps members, the selected college students will earn hours through four activities: peer tutoring; presentations to elementary and middle school students and assisting with STEM-related academic fairs such as science or math fairs; planning and implementing a community service project for Global Youth Service Day in April 2012; and attending member training and development activities. This is a dynamic opportunity to connect learning with service with a higher education focus that will: (1) heighten awareness of how critical STEM fields are to societal progress; (2) provide a vehicle for secondary and post-secondary academic collaboration; and (3) enhance the learning experience of college students through AmeriCorps service. These college students are well-suited to serve in this capacity as each has chosen a STEM field to pursue as a major. These students have devoted themselves to learning the necessary skills to prepare them for a career in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. Their service as AmeriCorps members will be designed to enhance their individual educational endeavors while exposing younger students to the STEM field through serving-learning activities.