CLEMSON — Clemson University’s Call Me MISTER program has received $1.3 million from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF) of Battle Creek, Mich., to collaborate with Jackson State University to increase the number of African-American male teachers in Mississippi K-8 classrooms.
Clemson’s Interim Provost Nadim Aziz made the announcement as representatives from the three organizations gathered on campus to commemorate the collaboration and grant.
“Call Me MISTER is a nationally acclaimed success story in education, and because of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s partnership, encouragement and investment, the program’s impact will grow even stronger as a catalyst for positive change, both in the lives of individuals and in the social and economic well-being of vulnerable communities,” Aziz said.
Clemson established the now nationally recognized Call Me MISTER program in 2000 to increase the number of African-American males teaching in South Carolina K-12 schools. MISTER stands for Mentors Instructing Students Toward Effective Role Models. After more than a decade in South Carolina, there is a 75 percent increase in the number of African-American male teachers in the state’s public elementary schools.
The program has expanded to 17 colleges in South Carolina. Nearly 100 students are enrolled in the program in six additional states: Florida, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Mississippi and Georgia.
“As the fiscal agent and collaborating partner on the W.K. Kellogg Foundation grant, Clemson University joined forces with Jackson State University in 2012 to begin building a pipeline of African-American male teachers to serve in Jackson, Mississippi public elementary schools,” said Roy Jones, director of Call Me MISTER. The pilot program there was funded by WKKF for $200,000 in 2012.
“The demonstrated success of the Call Me MISTER collaborative model in South Carolina, which has resulted in a significant increase in African-American male teachers in our state, provided confidence that the same result was possible in Mississippi,” Jones said. “We simply exported our nearly 15 years of successful experience in recruiting, retaining and developing pre-service teachers to Jackson State, which has a long tradition and history in producing African-American educators.”
Presently, JSU has 10 students enrolled in the program. Funds will be used for tuition, books, professional development and the summer leadership institute.
“The Jackson State University family, led by President Carolyn W. Meyers and Academic Provost Dr. James C. Renick, is extremely grateful for the generosity of the W. K. Kellogg Foundation. We are proud to partner with Clemson University and the Call Me MISTER program,” said Daniel Watkins, dean of JSU’s College of Education and Human Development.
The grant is part of Clemson University’s $1 billion The Will to Lead capital campaign to support faculty and students with scholarships, professorships, facilities and technology.