To increase the representation of male teachers of color in education, Western Carolina University (WCU) has launched the “Call Me MISTER” program for its College of Education and Allied Professions.
“Call Me MISTER” — an acronym for Mentors Instructing Students Toward Effective Role Models — has been created in partnership with Clemson University in South Carolina.
Since the K-12 teaching environment has historically been staffed mostly by white women, the program will attempt to reduce this disparity by preparing male undergraduate and graduate students of color for the profession.
The Call Me MISTER program started at Clemson in 2000. Since 2013, it has led to a 40 percent increase in African American male teachers in public elementary schools in South Carolina.
Speaking about creating a different demographic in the classroom, Brandi Hinnant-Crawford, associate professor of educational research in the College of Education and Allied Professions at Clemson said, “What the literature tells us is having teachers of color has all kinds of benefits, not only just for kids of color, but especially for kids of color.”
This fall, the school is looking to add three to five students from racially diverse backgrounds to the program. Students will receive financial support for tuition and fees along with a technology package that includes laptops and software.
In addition, there will be mentorship programs, career support, and community engagement opportunities for participants.
“I think this program is wonderful because it eliminates some of those systemic barriers that we know keep people of color, especially men of color, from being as successful as they would like to be,” program director of “Call Me MISTER” at WCU Charmion Rush said.