The South Carolina Teaching Fellows Program is a scholarship program for qualified South Carolina high school students who wish to pursue a degree in education and a career in South Carolina’s public schools following graduation. Administered by the Center for Educator Recruitment, Retention and Advancement, the program provides a $24,000 scholarship/ loan over 4 years for up to 200 outstanding high school seniors. The University of South Carolina Aiken (USC Aiken) is one of only twelve (12) institutions in the state identified as a Teaching Fellows Institution.
The USC Aiken Teaching Fellows Program is designed to offer students a unique, coordinated and collaborative opportunity to become a Teacher Leader. Fellows will participate in a number of professional development opportunities, including seminars, workshops, conferences, action research, service-learning, and leadership training. Their work is supported by a Program Director who oversees the Teaching Fellows Program at USC Aiken.
As a Teacher Leader, Teaching Fellows at USC Aiken are expected to actively seek and hold leadership positions. Fellows will complete the Leadership USC Aiken Certificate program which offers structured on-campus and community-based leadership opportunities. Fellows are encouraged to assume leadership positions in the PACE Corp, the student-led education organization. Fellows also serve as ad hoc members of the School Improvement Council of our PDS partner schools.
Through our Professional Development School (PDS) partnership, Teaching Fellows—as well as all other teacher candidates—participate in clinical experiences in diverse schools throughout Aiken County. Our PDS partners include: North Aiken, East Aiken, Lever, and Oakwood-Windsor Elementary schools as well as Aiken Middle and Aiken High School. Students in clinical placements work collaboratively with USC Aiken faculty and school-based cooperating teachers.
Each semester, Teaching Fellows must complete at least twenty (20) hours of service working directly with students and teachers at designated area schools. Fellows must also volunteer at a local agency or organization each semester. Agencies or organizations may include the Child Advocacy Center of Aiken County, Golden Harvest Food Bank, Aiken Vocational Rehabilitation Center, the Cumbee Center for Abused Persons, Aiken Youth Empowerment, and many more.
USC Aiken offers rich and sustained opportunities to complete clinical experiences in an array of diverse educational settings. All students—including Teaching Fellows—have multiple opportunities to work with students with diverse backgrounds and abilities, including students with exceptionalities and English language learners.
Freshman Teaching Fellows at USC Aiken attend a reception in their honor hosted by administration, faculty, and staff from across campus. Incoming Fellows also have a chance to mingle with other students already in the program.
All Teaching Fellows are advised by the Program Director at least twice each academic year. During advising, the Program Director assists Fellows in academic planning as well as assisting in securing service and/or leadership placements. During the fall semester, the Campus Director meets with all Freshman Teaching Fellows weekly for the first half of the semester.
In addition to support provided by the Campus Director, each freshman is assigned a sophomore or junior Teaching Fellow mentor. This student-to-student mentorship allows freshmen to have an immediate connection to the Teaching Fellows Program in particular and to USC Aiken in general.