WCU hosting 500 Teaching Fellows on state tour

Some 500 Teaching Fellows will visit the Western Carolina University campus Thursday and Friday, May 17-18, as part of an annual tour of North Carolina that is sponsored by the state scholarship program.

The Teaching Fellows, all rising sophomores, will be on the final leg of a six-day bus trip that is taking them to sites of economic, educational and cultural interest across the state. The group includes students from all 17 North Carolina colleges and universities that host the Teaching Fellows program, including WCU. Fifty-nine WCU Teaching Fellows are participating in the trip.

The North Carolina Teaching Fellows Program was created in 1986 by the North Carolina General Assembly to recruit talented high school graduates into the teaching profession. The program offers a scholarship valued at $26,000 to students who agree to teach for four years in North Carolina schools after their college graduations.

The program’s Discovery Bus Trip began Sunday, May 13, on the campus of East Carolina University in Greenville. As they travel across the state, the Teaching Fellows are visiting various sites ranging from farms and high-tech businesses to schools and centers for the arts, said Jacqueline Smith, director of WCU’s Teaching Fellows Program.

The Teaching Fellows are scheduled to arrive at WCU between 3:30 and 5:30 p.m. Thursday. They will gather for a Thursday night “Road Show” that showcases the talents of the students, and Friday activities will include breakfast in Courtyard Dining Hall and a closing session from 9:30 to 11 a.m. in the John W. Bardo Fine and Performing Arts Center.

Under current legislation, the state’s Teaching Fellows Program is scheduled to be phased out over the next three years as state funding is reduced. However, discussions about the possibility of restoring funding have been taking place in the General Assembly in recent months, Smith said.

For more information about the Teaching Fellows Program at WCU, contact Jacqueline Smith at 828-227-3371 or jsmith@wcu.edu.