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Austin Peay State University education faculty present at American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education Conference

Austin Peay State University - APSUIndianapolis, IN – Eight faculty members from the Eriksson College of Education at Austin Peay State University (APSU) presented at the nation’s leading teacher education conference, February 24th-26th.

The American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) Conference focused on the theme “Innovation through Inspiration: Remembering the Past to Revolutionize the Future.”

APSU faculty presented on a variety of topics applicable to educator preparation programs across the country, including diversity work, graduate programs, and teacher apprenticeships.

Sessions included:

  • “A College of Education’s Journey: The Growth of a Strategic Diversity Plan,” presented by APSU Assistant Professors Dr. James Thompson and Dr. Charles Gonzalez;
  • “Using Storytelling to Share Lessons Learned in Implementing an Innovative, Job-embedded, Online Principal Preparation Program,” presented by APSU Assistant Professors Dr. Laura Barnett, Dr. Sherri Prosser, Dr. Christi Maldonado and Dr. Andrea Lee;
  • “Growing the Profession Through Registered Apprenticeships: Models and Standards to Guide Program Development,” a panel discussion including Associate Dean and Director of Teacher Education and Partnerships Dr. Lisa Barron and moderated by Eriksson College of Education Dean Dr. Prentice Chandler.

“The highlight of the conference was getting to see our faculty present at the top teacher education conference in the country on the important topics of diversity, educational leadership and teacher apprenticeship models,” Chandler said. “It is a testimony to the great work that our faculty are doing and demonstrates that APSU is a national leader in teacher education.”

The Eriksson College of Education created a strategic diversity plan in 2020-21 as a way to prioritize diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts for students, faculty, and staff. Thompson and Gonzalez reviewed the college’s efforts and provided best practices on how other schools can implement what has been started at APSU.

“Our session really demonstrated how Austin Peay State University, and more particularly the Eriksson College of Education, is leading the way with DEI and antiracist work. The research shows that PK-12 classrooms are becoming more and more diverse – in all the different iterations of what that term means – and by doing the difficult and uncomfortable work of learning and unlearning as a college is one way that we are modeling for our students the importance of diversity, equity and inclusion,” Gonzalez said. “If we don’t truly see our students, how can we even start to teach them?”

Barnett is the graduate coordinator for APSU’s Master of Education in Educational Leadership Studies. Her presentation with several other faculty members reflected the comprehensive changes in this program over the past few years. The program is an accelerated, online model that equips aspiring principals with real-world experience and mentorship.

“Not only do we think outside of the box at Austin Peay State University, but we are also able to utilize all forms of capital to deliver an extraordinary program,” Barnett said. “Our program and capacity are significantly different today than in 2019, and it rivals any of the best programs in the nation.”

AACTE brings together more than 800 colleges and universities with educator preparation programs, and it provides professional development, advocacy, and resources for members.


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