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. In 2013, the Schools reverted to a four-week, non credit 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 formal academic program is supplemented by a series of evening guest lectures, 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. There is no cost to the student other than transportation to and from the site and incidental expenses. The students will have access to all campus facilities and services. The Governor’s School are financially supported by a contract with the Tennessee Department of Education. Classrooms, laboratories and equipment, and other support are provided by the Colleges of Arts and Sciences and Engineering and the departments and programs that offer the specific courses.