BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — Western Kentucky University is now offering two new scholarship opportunities through its College of Education and Behavioral Sciences.
The university launched the "WKU Grow Your Own" and "WKU GameChangers Teacher Initiatives," in efforts to financially support students and community members to stay and teach in their home districts.
“These scholarship opportunities are the epitome of partnership and collaborations,” Dean of the College of Education and Behavioral Sciences Corrine Murphy said.
The "WKU Grow Your Own" scholarship allows undergraduate students to complete their foundational studies and then transition to a clinical model, where they can student-teach in their home district. The first year of the program, they are only partnered with the Russellville School District, but they hope to expand the opportunity in years to come.
The “WKU GameChangers Teacher Initiative” will support current school district staff to get teaching credentials through the WKU Graduate Education Program. The initiative is centered around the collaboration between WKU, the Warren County and Bowling Green School Districts, and the GameChangers community organizations to enhance the opportunity for Black and underrepresented individuals to obtain their teaching credentials.
The scholarship is funded by WKU, the school districts, and a community-based fund to give everyone an equal chance to be a part of the opportunity.
“In doing that kind of partnership, we’ve made it feasible for the school districts, the university, and for the businesses to have a joint buy-in, in supporting the next generation of teachers,” Murphy said.
The current social climate surrounding the cases of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and the Black Lives Matter Movement gave the university the push to look into opportunities that bring diversity. WKU worked with the GameChangers to tackle equal opportunity in education, which is one of the five community organizations focused on creating a more diverse community. Bus drivers, janitorial workers, and many other district workers will have the opportunity to become accredited to work in the districts and the classrooms they’ve been a part of for years.
“They’ve been able to come and start to take classes because they have their undergraduate degrees and they meet the requirements to be a teacher, but they have to earn that teaching credential," Murphy said. "That's why we're helping them finish."
The College of Education and Behavioral Sciences is hoping the GameChangers initiative will provide hope and inspiration to students, faculties, and peers.
“As they see themselves in their own teachers, it shows them what the future could be. It provides them a daily reminder of what is available to them should they continue to study, continue to work hard, but it also provides them a mentor who has been where they have been and we understand the challenges you are facing every day and what we want to do is work together,” said Murphy.
Both scholarship opportunities are available this school year. For more information about these programs, you can contact the College of Education and Behavioral Sciences at WKU.