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6/9/14 - Mississippi State, JSU to offer engineering course at Jackson Academy

A recently signed memorandum of understanding is creating a partnership between Mississippi State and Jackson State universities to teach a course at a Jackson high school.

With hopes of expanding offerings to other high schools in the future, the opportunity to offer a pre-engineering course at Jackson Academy arose last year after informal discussions with high school administrators in Jackson about providing students with additional classes in the pre-engineering and science areas.

MSU Provost and Executive Vice President Jerry Gilbert said subsequent discussions between leaders at JA and the two universities' leaders resulted in the development of the MSU-JSU partnership. The new course will be introduced during the upcoming fall 2014 semester.

He also said early exposure to an engineering course for students considering engineering or related higher-education majors should help them be more confident in making decisions about future education plans.

Kenneth Hughey of Clinton, an MSU engineering alumnus who recently retired from Entergy Mississippi, will lead the face-to-face JA course. Jackson State professors will serve as guest lecturers and assist Hughey in delivering the curriculum.

"We also hope to have at least one field trip each to the MSU and JSU campuses," Gilbert said.

Aug. 1 is the admission application deadline for both institutions.

Gilbert said the fundamental pre-engineering course will be nearly identical to an MSU freshman engineering course offered on the Starkville campus. Content will be adapted only slightly to give students an introduction to the various engineering disciplines, he explained.

Students will be able to earn graded college-level credit that may be applied at JSU, MSU--or transferred to any other institution.

A minimum of 10 students will be required for the class to form. Participants must have junior or senior status, a 3.0 or higher grade-point average and meet other prerequisites. A modest instruction fee will be required.

"This course gives us an opportunity to help students in Jackson," said Gilbert, a native of the city. "We are treating this as a pilot course and will make our plans with JSU one semester at a time."

Gilbert said Hughey's academic credentials have been vetted and approved by the faculty and administration at MSU in accordance with the recognized standards of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). All faculty members at MSU and JSU meet the SACSCOC credential standards.

"Mr. Hughey is meeting on campus a number of times this summer to ensure that the course content will be exactly the same with the addition of some introductory exposure to other engineering fields," Gilbert said.

For more about the Swalm School of Chemical Engineering, visit www.che.msstate.edu.

Allison Matthews | Public Affairs

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