The South Carolina Teaching Fellows Program at the
University of South Carolina Upstate
The South Carolina Teaching Fellows Program is a scholarship program for qualified South Carolina high school students who wish to pursue a degree in education and a career in South Carolina’s public schools following graduation. Administered by the Center for Educator Recruitment, Retention and Advancement, the program provides a $24,000 scholarship/loan over 4 years for up to 200 outstanding high school seniors. The University of South Carolina Upstate (USC Upstate) is one of only eleven (11) institutions in the state identified as a Teaching Fellows Institution.
With a general theme of “Preparing Teachers for a Diverse Society” the Teaching Fellows Program at USC Upstate seeks to provide a wide range of enrichment experiences for this group of outstanding education majors, to nurture them as a community of learners, to introduce them to possibilities for leadership in K-12 schools, and to retain the Fellows--not only at the institution but in the profession as well. Freshman Fellows are all enrolled in the same two general education courses during the fall semester and in the same Foundations of Education course in the spring—allowing new Fellows to become acquainted while making progress toward their majors. Freshman and sophomore Fellows at USC Upstate are enrolled in a one-hour seminar each semester built around a sequence of early experiences in K-12 schools. Each Fellow completes observation hours in primary grades, upper elementary grades, middle schools, and high schools. A concerted effort is made to place students in settings where the K-12 student population is particularly diverse. Campus meetings of the seminar are used to give direction to observations in the assigned K-12 settings and to debrief after classroom visits. Fellows keep a journal during these early classroom experiences.
At the end of their Sophomore Year, Fellows travel as a group, usually to Atlanta, to explore diversity in an urban setting. The trip includes taking advantage of the Metro, visiting East Lake Charter school, the Martin Luther King Center, the Outreach and Advocacy Center of Central Presbyterian Church, the Centers for Disease Control, CNN News, and/or the Jimmy Carter Museum and Library. The new Atlanta aquarium, the Coca Cola Museum, and Braves baseball have also been on the itinerary.
All Fellows participate in several meetings during the semester. Junior Fellows attend a professional conference, read professional literature, and shadow a school administrator, curriculum specialist or media specialist. Senior Fellows attend a school board meeting and focus their time and energy on being outstanding student teachers. Fellows are required to participate in several campus activities of their choice—gospel choir, university chorus, jazz band, theater productions, softball, basketball, soccer, honor societies, religious groups, clubs for majors, fraternities, or sororities They participate in special Teaching Fellow activities—speaking to Teacher Cadet classes, assisting with Teacher Cadet Day on campus, attending the Teaching Fellows Advisory Board meetings, assisting with Teaching Fellow Interview Day, or helping prepare for Teaching Fellow meetings. Upstate Fellows may choose to refurbish the bulletin board, to update the WEB site, or to write an article for the student newsletter. At the end of every semester, Fellows complete a reflective paper concerning the Teaching Fellow program and make suggestions for modifications.
The first cohort of USC Upstate Teaching Fellows graduated in May 2006. All had found teaching positions in the state by mid-June. All Fellows are advised by Phyllis Williams, the Campus Director of the USC Upstate Teaching Fellows Program and a faculty member in the School of Education at USC Upstate. You may contact her using the information that follows:
Phyllis Williams, Campus Director
USC Upstate Teaching Fellows
For information about Teaching Fellows statewide, go to CERRA.org.