Clarksville, TN – Earlier this year, Marcus Hayes, Austin Peay State University associate professor of dance, was awarded a prestigious Maxine Smith Fellowship by the Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR).
The TBR established the highly selective Smith Fellows program in 2002 to provide advanced administrative training and career development opportunities to African American employees.Maxine Smith, a former TBR regent, was a pioneer in the state’s civil rights movement, serving as executive secretary of the Memphis chapter of the NAACP for more than three decades.
In 1972, she became the first African American elected to the Memphis Board of Education.
Hayes joined the APSU faculty in 2006 to direct the University’s growing dance program. Ten years later, that program is now part of the newly formed Department of Theatre and Dance, allowing students, for the first time in APSU history, to earn a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in dance.
“I was very honored to be nominated by Austin Peay President (Alisa) White for this program,” Hayes said. “This fellowship is so outside of what I do here at Austin Peay, but I have a greater appreciation now for what’s happening across the state.”
As a Maxine Smith Fellow, Hayes spent a few days each month at the TBR offices in Nashville, attending sub-council meetings and observing how the board functioned. Each fellow is also assigned a mentor, with Hayes working with Dr. Janet Smith, president of Columbia State Community College and an APSU alumna.
Fellows also are required to develop projects that can potentially improve how the TBR operates. Hayes crafted a set of recommendations on how the community colleges can successfully consolidate their services, like admissions and financial aid, which they will be required to do as part of the state’s FOCUS Act.
In addition to his duties at Austin Peay, Hayes serves on the National Board of Directors for the American College Dance Festival Association, and he previously served as president of the Tennessee Association of Dance’s Board of Directors.
He has performed and choreographed professionally with the Without Shoes Modern Dance Company, and he has taught dance technique for the Chicago Park District, the University of Wisconsin-Extension, Rockford College and the School for the Rockford DanceCompany.