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MSU’s Volgenau College of Education receives grant from Rural Schools Collaborative

Rural Schools Collaborative LogoMorehead State University’s Ernst and Sara Lane Volgenau College of Education has received $25,000 from the Rural Schools Collaborative (RSC) as part of its 2021 Catalyst Grants Initiative. This initiative provides grants to help establish four new rural teacher corps programs at MSU, the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, the University of North Dakota and the University of Wyoming. 

Dr. Antony Norman, dean of the Volgenau College of Education, said the funds MSU received will be used to help a community connections outreach program that will enhance its newly launched Appalachian Future Educators (AFE) Scholars program. The AFE Scholars program encourages qualified students from MSU’s 22-county service region to enter the education profession through scholarship, support and mentorship. The program will enhance the pipeline of qualified educators and educational leaders by strengthening partnerships with school districts in identifying, recruiting and mentoring students to return and give back to their home communities as rural educational leaders.   

More specifically, the community connections outreach program will focus on: 

  1. Bringing community leaders to collaborate with and educate AFE Scholars and other College of Education candidates. 
  2. Working with these leaders to develop opportunities for service learning and community engagement in their schools and communities for AFE Scholars and MSU education students. 
  3. Preparing AFE Scholars, MSU education faculty and students to join Morehead State Eagle Outreach Teams to build awareness and support for rural education in the region. 

“It has been such a pleasure this year to see a seed of an idea – reaffirming our commitment to our historic service region through a renewed focus on rural education — begin to grow and take form,” Norman said. “Since establishing a relationship with the National Rural Education Association and the Rural Schools Collaborative (RSC) last summer, I have witnessed multiple examples of Volgenau College faculty, staff and students coming together to examine our role in supporting our rural communities and to begin providing support in practical ways.” 

Norman said the goal of this partnership is to establish a Morehead State Central Appalachia and Rural Education Studies (CARES) Center, which will examine past and current rural education policy to help foster future generations of rural educators to support Eastern Kentucky and beyond. 

“I want to thank Dr. Shane Shope (assistant professor of educational leadership for MSU’s Department of Foundational and Graduate Studies in Education) and our Appalachian Rural Education Hub Council members in particular for their leadership,” he said. “I believe it is their first initiatives this year that led RSC to approach us about this funding opportunity. It is exciting to see everyone’s various ideas about supporting this region and rural education coming together and to learn that these ideas are resonating with other important partners.” 

Norman, an Appalachian Hub contact, can be reached at or by calling 606-783-2162.   

To learn more about MSU’s Ernst and Sara Lane Volgenau College of Education and its programs, call 606-783-2162 or visit    

For more information about the Appalachian Future Educators Scholars program, visit