Clarksville, TN – The Austin Peay State University (APSU) Eriksson College of Education recently partnered with the Tennessee Educators of Color Alliance (TECA) to develop the college’s inaugural Strategic Diversity Plan.
“We decided to work with TECA to create this because our College needed a strategic document to drive our diversity efforts for students and faculty/staff,” Dr. Prentice Chandler, dean of the Eriksson College of Education, said.
The purpose of this plan is to create a system of accountability for the college to ensure that diversity, equity and inclusion are a priority moving forward.
The plan will also help the college better support the climate, culture and experiences of its faculty, staff and students.
“The Tennessee Educators of Color Alliance (TECA) is excited to support Austin Peay State University’s College of Education as it engages in the process of developing and implementing a Strategic Diversity Plan to support equitable access and experiences for students and faculty,” Dr. Diarese George, executive director of TECA, said.
The College and TECA spent the fall semester interviewing faculty and staff to gain a better understanding of the social climate within the college. Those interviews will help inform the final strategic diversity plan, which should be completed by April 2021.
“In view of the recent media attention on the social injustice, specifically of African American men in our society, the Eriksson College of Education started having discussions about White Fragility as a way to move in the direction of organizational change,” Dr. Moniqueka Gold, professor of education, said.
“Identifying our own feelings and beliefs, listening and discussing the experiences of others, has worked together to broaden our thinking about diversity, inclusion and social justice. Gaining input from all stakeholders in the college (faculty, staff and students) creates an inclusive plan. The goal of this plan is to help us build a culturally responsive environment in which our students, faculty and staff can thrive while feeling valued and included,” stated Gold.
Earlier this year, the college also launched an internal Antiracist Educators Study Group.
As part of that new initiative, faculty and staff are engaging in a group study of two books, “White Fragility” and “How to Be an Antiracist,” to develop a better understanding of race, white privilege and systemic racism.
“It’s rooted in the idea that if we want to change the world, a good place to start is with ourselves,” Chandler said.