Mississippi launches the STAR Program, Dr. Avis Joseph selected to serve on the committee

There is currently a critical shortage of agriculture teachers across the United States and the National Teach Ag Campaign is working diligently to raise awareness of this issue by developing resources, programs and opportunities to recruit and retain ag teachers and to encourage others to become one.

Dr. Gaea Hock, assistant professor of agricultural education at Mississippi State University (MSU), recommended the state of Mississippi for consideration to become a State Teach Ag Results (STAR) Program participant. As a result, Mississippi was selected along with nine other states to participate in this program.

The first STAR meeting held in June 2014, was chaired by Dr. Ellen Thompson, National Teach Ag Campaign coordinator, National Association of Agriculture Educators, and informed the committee members about the key findings about agriculture educators.

Dr. Avis Joseph, assistant professor of agricultural education at Alcorn State University, was selected to serve on the program committee.

“Alcorn State is one of the only two land-grant universities in the state of Mississippi that prepare ag teacher educators. I am honored to serve on this committee as an agricultural educator,” Dr. Joseph said. “The information gathered will be processed and then given back to the committee members to improve the quality of agriculture teacher education in the state of Mississippi.”

Joseph expressed her excitement about what the program has to offer its participants.

“By participating in the STAR Program, Alcorn State will be able to increase and prepare an adequate number of agriculture teacher educators for the state of Mississippi. I am really excited about this program because we need more diversity among agriculture teachers in the classroom.”

With the STAR Program, Mississippi — under a two-year commitment — will receive help from the National Teach Ag Staff, be eligible for grants and have assistance in recruiting more agriculture teachers to Mississippi.