Home » WCU’s Call Me MiSTER Program

WCU’s Call Me MiSTER Program

by The Urban News
Andrue Smith

When Andrue Smith walks across the stage this spring, earning his bachelor’s degree in middle grades education and history, he will have charted a path for men of color wanting to become teachers.

Smith will be Western Carolina University’s first graduate of the Call Me MiSTER program. MiSTER stands for Mentors Instructing Students Toward Effective Role Models, and the program aims to increase male diversity in teaching.

“Call Me MiSTER helps meet a great need in our community,” said Kim Winter, dean of the College of Education and Allied Professions. “We know that North Carolina must diversify its teacher pipeline and build pathways into education for students of color and bilingual students. Our MiSTERs are more than representation—they graduate as novice teachers who are well prepared to engage students in academically challenging and affirming learning experiences. We are so proud of Andrue and look forward to watching his journey unfold.”

Charmion Rush, WCU’s Call Me MiSTER program director, said the program helps break barriers that hinder potential teachers entering the workforce.

“Statistically, our classrooms are very diverse in terms of student population, but we don’t have varied representation in our teaching positions,” Rush said. “We want students to see themselves when they look to the front of the classroom and to develop a broad conception of what a teacher can look like. We have a mission at WCU for inclusivity and this is another great example of how we’re pursuing that goal.”

Each MiSTER receives a $5,000 scholarship along with laptops and software, an academic support system, and professional development and career support. Also, all members live together in the same residence hall to create a learning community cohort model for social and cultural support.

“MiSTER creates community, a brotherhood, as these students live and study together. It’s important to provide emotional and social…

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