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Austin Peay State University’s LaNeeça Williams named to state’s Maxine Smith Fellows leadership program

Austin Peay State University - APSUClarksville, TN – LaNeeça R. Williams, chief diversity officer and Title IX coordinator at Austin Peay State University (APSU), is among the 21 faculty and staff members from colleges and universities across Tennessee selected to participate in the 2021-22 Class of the Maxine Smith Fellows program.

LaNeeça Williams
LaNeeça Williams

The program provides professional development, training, and advancement opportunities for participants from traditionally underrepresented groups at Tennessee’s locally governed public universities and the community and technical colleges governed by the Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR). Members meet monthly for a year, starting this month.

“Maxine Smith Fellows alumni have advanced to senior leadership positions, including seven Fellows who have gone on to serve as presidents at colleges and universities in Tennessee and in other states,” Dr. Wendy J. Thompson, the program’s administrator and TBR vice chancellor for organizational effectiveness said. “Many of them have said that the Maxine Smith Fellows experience contributed to their success.”

In addition to the professional development of class members, the program stimulates increased collaboration among institutions, the development of a statewide network for program participants, and an overall increase in the diversity of ideas, thoughts, and experiences within senior leadership ranks at Tennessee public higher education institutions.

“One essential component of the program’s success is the continued support and engagement of college and university presidents, as well as other higher education leaders from across the state of Tennessee,” Thompson said.

Presidents nominate eligible faculty and staff from their campus for consideration for the program.

“I am thrilled for LaNeeça, and her selection is a reflection of her professional expertise and her commitment to serving everyone in the APSU family,” Dr. Michael Licari, APSU president, said. “Our campus is diverse in a number of ways, and her role is vital to ensuring a supportive environment where our students, faculty and staff can be successful. Her selection as a Fellow will help her advance in her role.”

The program is named in honor of the late Maxine A. Smith, who headed the Memphis Branch of the NAACP for 33 years and was a member of the Tennessee Board of Regents from 1994 to 2006. This year’s class is the program’s 15th cohort.


Members of the Maxine Smith Fellows Class of 2021-22 are:

  • Antija Allen, Pellissippi State Community College
  • Charria Campbell, Tennessee Tech University
  • Sean Chism, Tennessee Board of Regents system office
  • Richard Garvin, Jr., Nashville State Community College
  • Daniel Green, Middle Tennessee State University
  • Quincy Jenkins, Chattanooga State Community College
  • Kiana Johnson, East Tennessee State University
  • Brelinda Johnson, Middle Tennessee State University
  • Shayla Kolheim, Southwest Tennessee Community College
  • Deidre’ Kyle, Walters State Community College
  • Erica Lee, Motlow State Community College
  • Tongai Maodzwa, Northeast State Community College
  • Adrian Montague, Jackson State Community College
  • Arlene Nicholas-Phillips, Tennessee State University
  • Barbara Scales, Motlow State Community College
  • Cheryl Seay, Tennessee State University
  • Tanya Shephard, Roane State Community College
  • Eric Stokes, University of Memphis
  • Sharron Taylor Burnett, Dyersburg State Community College
  • LaNeeça Williams, Austin Peay State University
  • Johnny Wyatt, Columbia State Community College

For information about the program, contact Dr. Wendy Thompson at .


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