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Transformative Rural-Urban Exchange

Image of a logo "TRUE: Transformational Rural Urban Exchange" between Western Carolina University and North Carolina A&T State University


Transformative Rural-Urban Exchange (TRUE) is a 20+ collaborative undertaking involving NC A&T SU, a Historically Black College/ University (HBCU), and WCU, a Predominantly White Institution (PWI). It is sponsored by the Deans of the Colleges of Education at both universities. Every year, a small group of students from both universities are selected to attend a training retreat together. Then, they spend a week at their partner university and, in turn, host their counterparts at their home campus.

TRUE is available to all teacher-education students at WCU who have been accepted into the education program but are not yet student teaching during the semester of the exchange.

What Happens During TRUE?

Prior to the retreat and exchange events, the students complete orientation sessions with their home faculty about the principles of cultural proficiency and culturally responsive education.

Then, all students and faculty travel to a mid-state retreat location where they meet, develop friendships over meals and shared housing, engage in further education and deep conversations about culture, race, and culturally relevant pedagogy, and develop a campus-wide educational programming event they will co-host at each university during the exchange weeks.

During the two campus exchange trips, the visiting students stay together locally and are received by the host students on campus. During the daytime, the visitors spend time learning how to work with diverse P-12 students in an urban or rural setting by visiting regional public schools, significant cultural landmarks in the region, and the community. At night, they join with their campus hosts to participate in social and campus activities, hold debriefing discussions about their cultural and educational experiences that day, and host their pre-planned, campus-wide educational programming events. The faculty and staff sponsors travel with them and facilitate the trip activities.

TRUE provides teacher-education students with experience in working with diverse higher education/public school faculty, candidates, and P-12 students. Students from both WCU and NC A&T SU have the opportunity to interact and work with teacher-education students from varying ethnic, racial, language, and socioeconomic groups in professional education activities on campus and in public schools.

Find out what students are saying about TRUE

Cost to students: FREE

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