New 2+2 Program Aims to Graduate Teachers in Jackson Area

Students at Hinds Community College can pursue UM education degree

The first cohort of elementary education majors in UM’s new 2+2 partnership with Hinds Community College commemorate their first week of socially distanced classes. Submitted photo

OXFORD, Miss. – Every semester, community college students across the state transfer into programs at the University of Mississippi, but this fall is the first time a cohort has continued into their junior year at Hinds Community College‘s Rankin Campus in Pearl while attending courses taught by UM instructors.

These 10 UM juniors are the first cohort in the newest 2+2 program, which gives rising juniors an opportunity to complete their elementary education degree at Hinds Community College without having to move to Oxford.

“One of the things we have in Mississippi is a teacher shortage – and particularly in that area,” said Tom Brady, clinical associate professor of teacher education and coordinator of TeachLive. “They have hundreds of unfilled teaching positions each year.

“This is a way for people in that area – who will probably stay in that area – to get a full degree without having to do it remotely or to commute. It’s going to impact a region that needs it.”

Tanya Robertson teaches an early literacy instruction course at the Rankin Center ,where the first cohort of 2+2 elementary education majors are meeting in person with social distancing guideines in place. Submitted photo

The program, offered in conjunction with Hinds Community College, allows students to be full-time Hinds students for two years, while completing courses that will transfer directly into the UM School of Education. Then, without having to move or transfer, the students take Ole Miss courses their junior and senior years.

“It’s such an easy transition,” said Melody Musgrove, associate professor of special education. “Some students experience difficulty going from community college to a senior college, so it’s a great transition for them and an opportunity to prepare a promising group of future teachers while they are close to their families and involved in their communities.”

Abby Herndon, a junior from Florence, went to the University of Southern Mississippi after high school graduation, but said she didn’t want to be away from home again.

“There weren’t a lot of options around here,” Herndon said. “I have a strong passion for kids, so I was really excited; this was a no-brainer for me.”

Herndon plans to stay in the Jackson metro area after graduating and hopes to teach in the Rankin County School District.

Brady said he hopes this provides not only a great opportunity for the community, but also a great opportunity to create more teachers during an economic recession.

For more information, go to the School of Education’s website or visit with program staff on the first floor of the George Wynne Building at Hinds Community College between 10 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. weekdays.