Clemson University Launches New Center for Recruitment and Retention of Diverse Educators

The College of Education at Clemson University has launched a new Center for Recruitment and Retention of Diverse Educators, which will research, design, and implement the best strategies for minority teacher recruitment and retention in South Carolina school districts. Faculty from Clemson will work with education and community leaders in local districts to get minority students interested in teaching at an earlier age and ease their transition from K-12 to two- and then four-year institutions of teacher education. Initially, the center will focus its efforts in Spartanburg, Cherokee, Orangeburg, and Charleston, South Carolina.

According to the Clemson team, the pipeline for teachers should start before high school. The first year of the center’s work will involve gathering data that will help districts better identify potential teachers in earlier grades, then find ways to provide a more seamless transition between those grades.

While all school districts face common issues, there are some problems that are specific to rural or urban districts. Because of this, Roy Jones, director of the new center, and his research team made sure to meet with as many people as possible in the participating districts to gain a better understanding of each district’s unique obstacles. Additionally, they also made an effort to gain the buy-in of technical colleges and other four-year institutions across the state that provide teacher education.

“The opportunity to develop a comprehensive plan to grow our own teacher workforce that is more representative of the state’s population was too good to pass up,” Dr. Jones said. “We have the support and buy-in of many institutions and communities because they see the need to address this issue.”

Dr. Jones holds a bachelor’s degree in education from Amherst College in Massachusetts, a master’s degree in educational psychology from Atlanta University, and a doctorate in higher education administration from the University of Georgia.

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