Go back

Eriksson College of Education

Vision, Mission, and Values Student poses in front of Claxton Building

Vision Statement

The Eriksson College of Education prepares dynamic teachers and educational leaders to positively impact communities and schools in the 21st century.

Mission Statement

The mission of the Eriksson College of Education at Austin Peay State University is to prepare educators who are ethical, engaged, and effective leaders. We do so by modeling reflective practice and connecting theory to student-centered learning. We leverage the strengths of our community to foster continuous improvement to reimagine how schools can work.


Promote Curiosity through Experiential Learning

Our student-centered programs, practices and curricula foster intellectual curiosity, problem-solving, and inquiry based on research and theory.

Support Reflective Practitioners

Our faculty and students engage in honest self-reflection and strive to meet the needs of a diverse society.

Empower Change Agents and Ethical Leaders

We are deeply committed to social justice.

Value Diversity and Equity

We seek opportunities to learn from multiple perspectives and diverse voices.

Foster Campus and Community Relationships

Our partnerships extend within and beyond the campus to build collaborative relationships with school districts and community leaders.

History of the Eriksson College of Education

APSU has a rich history as an educational institution. In fact, an educational institution has existed on College Street in Clarksville since 1806, when a private academy was established. The community has supported a college or university on the present campus since 1848. APSU was named after Governor Austin Peay, a Clarksville native who served as Tennessee’s chief executive between 1923 and 1927.

The state chartered Austin Peay as a normal school in 1929. From this date forward, the preparation of quality teachers for Tennessee schools has been a visible priority on the campus. Philander Claxton, in whose honor the present education building is named, served as Austin Peay Normal School’s president from 1930 – 1946. Claxton, who served as U.S. Commissioner of Education under Woodrow Wilson (1911-1921), was an able advocate for quality teacher preparation and quality public schools in the state. Toward the end of Claxton’s tenure as president the institution became Austin Peay State College, a four year institution with a more comprehensive higher education mission. Still, the 1952-53 Bulletin noted that “…the chief purpose of APSC is the education of teachers for the schools of the state.” APSU’s long-term commitment to teacher preparation is evidenced by APSU’s continuous national accreditation by the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) since 1952.

University status was conferred on the institution in 1967. Austin Peay’s posture as a regional institution has grown steadily since university status was awarded. In recent years, expansion of professional programs has complemented teacher education and liberal arts strengths in the institutional curriculum.

In 2009, the College was reorganized to include two departments: the Department of Teaching and Learning and the Department of Educational Specialties.

On April 30, 2013, the College of Education was renamed the Martha Dickerson Eriksson College of Education to honor Mrs. Eriksson, a 1962 graduate of Austin Peay and public school teacher for more than 30 years. Upon her death, Mrs. Eriksson's husband, Lars Eriksson, made a large gift to the university to provide scholarships to future math and science teachers attending Austin Peay. 

Through the years, the mission of the College of Education has expanded and the College now offers licensure in more than twenty different teaching areas at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Graduate programs advance professional skills in teaching, technology, reading, and leadership, and the Eriksson College of Education was the first at Austin Peay to offer a doctoral program (Ed.D.) in 2018. The College also launched the nation's first registered teacher apprenticeship, which was formally recognized by the U.S. Department of Labor in January 2022.

The Tennessee Early Childhood Training Alliance (TECTA) and the Full Spectrum Learning program are housed in the College of Education. The Eriksson College of Education faculty provides rich experiences for their students and valuable expertise for the community.