Call Me MISTER Program (Mentors Instructing Students Toward Effective Role Models)

call me mister studentThe mission of the Call Me MISTER initiative is to increase the pool of available teachers from a broader more diverse background particularly among the state’s lowest performing elementary schools. The MISTER initiative attempts to accomplish this by providing academic, social, and financial support to under-represented individuals interested in entering the teaching profession.

Students who participate in this initiative receive the following:

  • Tuition assistance through a loan forgiveness program. For each year a student receives assistance, the student teaches in South Carolina. For example, if a student receives assistance for four years, he/she teaches for four years.
  • An academic support system to help assure success.
  • Social support of other participants.
  • An opportunity to network with participants from other universities at conferences and paid summer institutes.


How do I apply?

The priority deadline for applying to the program is March 1. Students interested in participating in the program should do the following:

  1. Apply to and be accepted at Lander University. You can apply online for admission to the University at the Office of Admissions. If you have questions about this process, please contact the Office of Admissions at 864-388-8307, 1-888-4LANDER or
  2. You must also complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). More information is available in Financial Aid If you have questions about this process, please contact the Financial Aid Office at 864-388-8340 or
  3. Submit the following application materials to Gavin Bethea, Lander University, 320 Stanley Avenue, Academic Success Center, Greenwood, SC 29649:
    1. Completed Call Me MISTER application
    2. Two typed letters of recommendation: one letter from a teacher, guidance counselor, or principal at the high school from which your diploma is earned and one letter from a person of your choice who can describe your involvement in the community and/or potential for entering the teaching profession.
    3. A one-two page essay entitled, “Why I Want to Teach” which will address your motivation for entering the teaching profession and the contributions you hope to make to the profession and to the community as a teacher.
    4. A one-two page essay entitled, “How do you believe the Call Me MISTER program will benefit you as a student?
    5. A signed statement certifying that you are a student from an underserved, underprivileged or economically disadvantaged background or area.
  4. After acceptance to Lander University and after all application materials have been submitted, an interview with the MISTER coordinators should be scheduled by contacting
Who can apply?

To be eligible for the Call Me MISTER initiative, you must apply and be accepted to Lander University as well as meet the other guidelines provided below. You must also declare Early Childhood Education, Elementary Education, or Special Education as your major. Specialty area majors such as Art, Music, and Physical Education are also encouraged to apply if planning to teach in grades K-8.

How can I learn more about Lander and Lander's Academic Programs?

To learn more about Lander University, visit the Office of Admissions. This site lets you know about upcoming Open Houses, Bearcat for a Day, and First Look Friday as well as helpful information for anyone interested in our university.

To learn more about how you can become one of Lander University’s EPIC Educators, visit the Department of Teacher Education. This site will give you an overview of our Education Department. All of our programs in the Department of Education are approved by the South Carolina Department of Education and accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).

What are the requirements for me to remain a MISTER?

You must maintain a 2.0 cumulative collegiate GPA to remain an active participant of MISTER. Additionally, you must have a GPA of 2.75 to apply for admission to the Teacher Education program at Lander University. Students applying for admission must also pass PRAXIS Core or receive exempt status by having an ACT score of 22 or SAT score of 1100. 

What happens if I change my major or decide not to teach in South Carolina after graduation?

If you change your major or decide not to teach in South Carolina after graduation, you will be obligated to return or re-pay the program the money that you received while participating.

What are the policies of Call Me MISTER?

Participation in the Call Me MISTER Program is open to anybody, regardless of race, ethnicity, or gender, if they are capable of facilitating the achievement of its objectives. It is also the policy of Lander University that no person shall be excluded from participation, be denied the benefits of, or in any way be subjected to discrimination in any program or activity of the University.