The Rural Schools Collaborative (RSC) is excited to announce that The University of West Alabama (UWA) will serve as an operational hub, connecting our work to the Southeast. “Hubs” comprise and help define a flexible and cost-effective infrastructure for the organization, and the relationship between the Hubs and RSC are mutually beneficial. UWA College of Education dean, Dr. Jan Miller, will serve as the primary hub contact person for this effort. Dr. Miller also serves as an RSC Advocate.
The University of West Alabama is located in the small rural town of Livingston, which is located in the middle of the Black Belt Region. The Black Belt has a unique history and geography, and UWA is perfectly positioned to address issues such as rural poverty, teacher shortages, and the concept of school and community improvement.
The relationship between the Rural Schools Collaborative and The University of West Alabama was facilitated by RSC board member Larry Lee (Montgomery, AL), and started with a modest planning grant in 2015. Since that time, under the leadership if Dr. Miller and University president, Dr. Ken Tucker, UWA has become a national leader in the field of rural education. This commitment has led to establishment of several exemplary efforts. These include:
- The Black Belt Teacher Corps
- Center for Rural Education
- Project REP
- University REACH School and
- a statewide partnership with the National Rural Education Association
RSC director, Gary Funk, said, "On behalf of our board of directors, I want to thank Dr. Miller, her colleagues and students for working with us. They have been gracious partners, and we would not be where we are today without UWA's support and cooperation. In addition, we are so thankful for Larry Lee and his tireless advocacy of public education. Not only did Larry make possible this relationship, but his commitment to our Grants in Place program has been wonderful."
Pictured below at DIRT17 on September 18, left to right: Gary Funk, RSC; Jan Miller, UWA; Susan Hester, UWA coordinator Black Belt Teacher Corps; Jodie Winship, UWA department chair; and Larry Lee, author and RSC board member.
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