Published on January 14, 2022 by Leighton Doores  
Campus resized

Samford University has partnered with Birmingham City Schools and United Way of Central Alabama to help address COVID-19 related learning loss due to school closures during the pandemic through an innovative, new tutoring program

More than 100 students from six local colleges will provide intensive tutoring to K-12 Birmingham students in key academic areas. The program will provide much needed academic support, but also critical mentoring and inspiration to students. Leaders of the initiative hope it may be a way to recruit future teachers if tutors are inspired to enter the field of education.

Orlean Beeson School of Education Dean Anna McEwan saw this partnership as an opportunity to invest in Birmingham students after many have fallen behind after two years of distance learning. She says that despite teachers’ best efforts, the impact of distance learning on students throughout the state has resulted in gaps in student understanding.

“Orlean Beeson School of Education needs to be good neighbors with our surrounding school districts,” said McEwan. “The Birmingham City Schools’ principals and teachers are faithful to accept our students for field and clinical experiences, so we wanted to reciprocate by supporting the tutoring program partnership.”

This is the first time Samford has participated in a partnership where all students on campus have the opportunity to tutor K-12 students in the community, not just those who are preparing to be teachers.

Secondary education major Micaiah Collins views the partnership as an opportunity to invest in the school district he attended as a K-12 student. He is not only participating in the program as a tutor, but is also working with Birmingham City Schools to serve as the liaison between the school district, United Way and the college tutors.

“I attended and graduated from Birmingham City Schools, so the tutoring partnership provides an opportunity for me to give back to students who are currently in the school system,” said Collins.
“I am a secondary education (English) major, and this program exposes me to the school setting—I can inspire and support students, something I'm very passionate about.”

A public kickoff to celebrate the program’s launch was held on Jan. 10 at the United Way headquarters where tutors were able to connect with their assigned school’s principal. The college students will tutor for a full semester, but the program is anticipated to continue through the 2022-23 and 2023-24 school years.

Provost and Vice President J. Michael Hardin says that this mutually beneficial partnership provides both Birmingham and Samford students an opportunity to grow and learn.

“We are thrilled to support this involvement in our local schools and recognize the importance of investing in not only students’ academic achievement, but their personal development and success as well, and that extends to those in our community.”

For students interested in tutoring, email

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.