The Governor’s Schools were proposed by Governor Lamar Alexander and mandated by the legislature in 1984 to serve the needs of top high school students in the state. Three schools, Sciences, Humanities and Arts, were started in 1985; others have been added in subsequent years. The Governor’s School for the Sciences (GSS), has been held at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, since its inception in 1985. The Governor’s School for Engineering began as the Governor’s School for Manufacturing Engineering in 1996. The two programs were merged under a single director in 2007.
From 2005 until 2012 the Governor’s Schools were changed from a four-week non-credit format to five-week college-credit programs. From 2013 to 2018, the Schools reverted to a four-week, non credit program. Beginning in 2019, GSSE participants now earn (5) college credit hours upon completion of the program. The Governor’s School for the Sciences and Engineering provides the opportunity for advanced study, laboratory experience, and research in modern science and mathematics placed in an appropriate context through the explicit study of scientific reasoning. The essential skills of writing and computer usage are taught as part of the overall experience. Students will be exposed to selected contemporary research areas in science and engineering through a series of guest lectures. Finally, students will consider scientific communication and the interface between science and society. All students will be enrolled in core courses entitled “STEM in Society” and “STEM Skills,” which will meet in the mornings. Students will have a choice of one elective course in science taught in the afternoon. Appropriate courses in biology, chemistry, mathematics, engineering, and physics will be offered.
The rich academic program is supplemented by a variety of events and activities, such as open houses of science and engineering departments, laboratory tours, educational field trips, college and career choice programs, as well as an extensive social and recreational program. GSSE is financially supported by a contract with the Tennessee Department of Education. Classrooms, laboratories and equipment, access to facilities, room and board, and other support are provided by the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
GSSE will admit around 160 students in June 2020. All admissions are based on merit as determined by a rigorous review process of all applicants. Thanks to the generous support of the Tennessee Department of Education, GSSE will be able to offer about 100 full scholarships, and 60 partially funded positions to TN applicants. All participants will be responsible for transportation costs to and from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and incidental expenses. During their time at GSSE, students will have access to campus facilities and services and earn college credit.