Strengthening Science Education in Mississippi

Gift creates new School of Education position

Archive Photo: Thomas Jamerson (left), a UM laboratory physicist, leads a group of high school students in a physics demonstration hosted by the university’s Center for Mathematics and Science Education as part of a 2017 STEM Exposure Excursion. The Mississippi Public School Consortium for Educational Access has provided funds to the UM School of Education to support advanced instruction in science, technology, engineering and mathematics in rural high schools that traditionally cannot offer such STEM courses. Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services

OXFORD, Miss. – A support fund aimed at helping improve science education statewide has been established at the University of Mississippi by the Mississippi Public School Consortium for Educational Access, represented by the Scott County School District.

With a gift of $85,000, the consortium created the Advanced STEM Access Program Support Fund. With these resources, the School of Education is creating a new position, executive director of the Mississippi Public School Consortium for Educational Access.

According to an agreement between the donor and the university, the faculty designee holding this new position will provide direction for the consortium to support advanced instruction in science, technology, engineering and mathematics – including advanced placement – in rural high schools that traditionally cannot offer such STEM courses.

“We are very pleased to work with Ole Miss to help support our students and teachers,” said Tony McGee, superintendent of the Scott County School District.

The Advanced STEM Access Program, in its fourth year, has proven innovative and effective in providing promising high school students access to courses they need to achieve their full potential.

“Working with the Global Teaching Project, which has provided resources and expertise to implement the program, Scott County and other districts participating in the consortium have been able to provide our students remarkable learning opportunities,” McGee said.

Such opportunities include instruction from exceptional teachers, tutoring from college STEM majors across the country, residential programs at Mississippi universities, regular discussions with Nobel Prize-winning and other prominent scientists, as well as textbooks, Chromebooks and extensive online resources.

According to the fund agreement, the new executive director will also be responsible for:

  • Developing and valuing high school teachers as STEM professionals
  • Supporting STEM classroom environments in Mississippi that empower students to be self-directed individuals
  • Assisting high school STEM teachers in developing the skills necessary to facilitate the advancement of advanced STEM courses in Mississippi schools
  • Amplifying best STEM teaching practices in Mississippi schools
  • Supporting students, teachers, tutors and administrators in the consortium’s Advanced STEM Access Program and other consortium initiatives

“This gift is very exciting not only for the School of Education but also for our state because it enables a partnership that will have a direct impact on the teaching and learning of STEM courses in many high schools in Mississippi,” said David Rock, UM education dean. “Additionally, it’s a collaboration that directly aligns with our goal to prepare quality teachers for the state and nation.

“This gives us a great opportunity to help make a transformative difference in the lives of the next generation while promoting the importance of quality STEM education.”

For more information on supporting the university’s academic community, contact Charlotte Parks, vice chancellor for development, at or 662-915-3120.