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A ‘newcomer's view' -- Hall offers perspective in moving APSU forward

On Monday, Austin Peay State University celebrated not only the start of a new academic year but also the beginning of a new presidency.

APSU President Timothy L. Hall told faculty and staff during the Universitys annual Convocation that he will offer a newcomers view to help set a vision for APSU.

This is the one time Ill have a newcomers perspective, he said.
On Monday, Austin Peay State University celebrated not only the start of a new academic year but also the beginning of a new presidency.

APSU President Timothy L. Hall told faculty and staff during the University's annual Convocation that he will offer a “newcomer's view” to help set a vision for APSU.

“This is the one time I'll have a newcomer's perspective,” he said.

In the few weeks as APSU's chief leader, Hall said he has observed a university “that is better than it thinks … is poised on a significant brink of opportunity … and has opportunities coupled with significant challenges.”

Those assets will help APSU to remain steady, but the University needs refinement in other areas to help it grow for the future, Hall said. He outlined three key tenets: decentralizing decision-making, refusing to settle for merely “reasonable” expectations and cultivating a sense of affection for one another despite disagreements.

“We need creativity, energy and accountability at every level,” Hall said of decentralization. “We need to grant the power of authorship to all levels of APSU. The co-authored text will be richer and full of expertise.”

By refusing to settle for merely “reasonable” results, the University will have to think creatively, Hall said. He cited APSU's six-year graduation rate of 33 percent as a window of opportunity for unreasonableness — that is, looking outside the box to find how the rate could be improved.

“We should look at what peer institutions are doing to make their students graduate,” Hall said. “We may very well need to be asking more of our students, and not less of them.”

And in cultivating a sense of affection, Hall suggested disagreements be handled collegially, with all involved striving for a consensus and engaging in “passionate conversation.”

“A real respect for diversity will help to sustain passionate conversation,” he said. “People who think differently from us will help the University to move forward.”

In addition to Hall's speech, four faculty and staff members were recognized for 35 years of employment at Austin Peay. They are Dr. Phillip Kemmerly, professor of geosciences; Dr. Bert Randall, professor of history; Dr. Jim Ridenhour, professor of mathematics; and Charles Wall, director of information technology. -- Melony A. Jones