Students in the program will visit top-performing schools across the country and around the world.

Mississippi’s two largest universities are teaming up on an innovative program designed to attract the state’s top students into the teaching profession. If successful, the program—announced Jan. 22—could be a model for teacher education programs in other states as well.

Leaders from Mississippi State University and the University of Mississippi have been working together for about two years to develop the Mississippi Excellence in Teaching Program. It will create the equivalent of an honors college for education majors at each university and will provide participants with full scholarships that include the cost of room and board, books, supplies, technology, and travel opportunities to successful schools around the world.

The program will be funded for five years by a $12.9 million gift from the Robert M. Hearin Support Foundation in Jackson, Miss.

“Both institutions recognized we need to have a better system of education for Mississippi from K-12 through the university system,” said Mississippi State University President Mark Keenum. “One thing we knew we could do working together was to highlight the importance of teaching as a profession and attract some of our best and brightest students in Mississippi to choose teaching as a profession.”

(Next page: How the Mississippi Excellence in Teaching Program will work)