OXFORD — The University of Mississippi School of Education celebrated 219 new students entering teacher candidacy on Tuesday, March 28, as part of its third-annual Teacher Induction Ceremony at the university’s Oxford campus.
The students entering teacher candidacy, aka “Phase II,” of their program hailed from UM’s main campus and regional campuses—including Grenada, Southaven and Tupelo. The group celebrated having earned the credentials required for official acceptance into UM’s Bachelor of Arts in Education (B.A.Ed.) program, which offers academic majors in elementary, secondary and special education.
During the event, SOE Dean David Rock and Department of Teacher Education Chair Susan McClelland joined the students from across the country via Skype to congratulate the new candidates.
“We cannot be here today because we are 2,175 in San Francisco, California, on business,” Rock said. “I want each and every one of you to understand that this is a very important milestone. Teacher education, unlike most professions, has an induction process in which you become part of the profession. This is not something just anyone can accomplish and you should be proud of yourself for meeting the standards that are in place to prepare the best possible teachers.”
While UM students may declare education as a major from freshman year, in order to finish a B.A.Ed. degree from UM, they must meet certain academic requirements.
To enter Phase II, students must complete their first two-and-half years of study with a minimum core GPA of at least 2.75 and a minimum ACT score of 21 (or passing the Praxis Core exam). The UM School of Education currently has an average ACT score of 25 and a GPA of 3.28 for incoming teacher education students.
Ethel Young-Scurlock, UM associate professor of English and African-American Studies and senior fellow of UM’s Luckyday Residential College, gave the keynote address.
Skurlock is the former recipient of multiple UM teaching awards including the Elsie M. Hood Outstanding Teaching Award.
In her speech, Young-Scurlock shared a series of quotes about teaching with the students and as well as a series of anecdotes from her own life as a teacher.
“Education is taking something people cannot see and pulling it out,” Young-Scurlock told the group of future teachers. “Be an educator. Don’t just teach the curriculum, but teach passion and character. We must tell our young people of the importance of good character.”
Students in Phase II will complete their final year of study at UM including a student teaching experience during the spring semester of their senior year.
By Andrew M. Abernathy