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Diversity Initiatives

Antiracist Statement: The Austin Peay State University (APSU) Eriksson College of Education is committed to anti-racist, anti-bias (ABAR) initiatives in each of our teaching and learning programs. We are committed to examining and disrupting/dismantling the history, biases, and exclusionary practices that hinder the integrity, dignity, and inclusion of all students.  We prioritize learning opportunities focused on culturally and racially diverse backgrounds that promote respect, empathy, equity, and ethical learning within each course. We will take action toward these commitments by: 

  • Using inclusive, people-first language;
  • Discovering ways to be(come) activist and abolitionist educators;
  • Calling others in when we encounter bias/racism; 
  • Engaging in professional development and reflection to increase our own knowledge;
  • Recognizing and privileging the voices and work of Black, Indigenous, and other educators/researchers of color;
  • Supporting students and partners in developing their own capacity in ABAR work;
  • Purposefully and intentionally seeking out learning and unlearning opportunities

College of Education Strategic Diversity Plan

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Austin Peay State University’s Eriksson College of Education has composed a collaborative and purposeful Strategic Diversity Plan which was developed to expand on the recognized needs and successes of our College. With our self-initiated external diversity report from TECA fresh in our minds, a group of CoE faculty (now known as the first CoE Diversity Council) volunteered in the spring semester of 2021 to work together on cultivating and growing the Eriksson College of Education’s engagement with and commitment to diversity. This plan describes the goals, action steps, and projected outcomes that the faculty and staff will strive to reach during the 2022-2023 academic year and beyond.

We acknowledge that we are guests who are gathering and moving upon the ancestral land of the Tsalaguwetiyi People, who have stewarded this land throughout the generations. We give thanks to the larger Cherokee nation and other Native nations for making the presence of this place currently known as Clarksville possible. We acknowledge the legacies of violence, displacement, migration, and settlements that bring us together here today. We will work towards restorative learning, understanding, and dismantling the truths of colonization that were and are still present in this place, which is an ongoing process. We also acknowledge the capital and infrastructures of this land that were extracted from the nonconsensual work, forced labor, and stolen knowledge and skills of enslaved Africans whose descendants are still awaiting justice. With reverence and respect, we acknowledge the oppressive dynamics that have historically occurred in this place and continue into today, and which make this Strategic Diversity Plan even more relevant and urgent. 

The document that you are reading is a first in the history of Austin Peay State University and the Eriksson College of Education. Never before has a group of dedicated staff and faculty made such a commitment to the issues of diversity, equity, access, and inclusion in our College. This commitment is highlighted by the fact that our inaugural Strategic Diversity Plan (SDP) was driven and created by our faculty and staff. However, this document is not a panacea. This document is not perfect. There is no document or report that will solve centuries of injustice and inequality. But this document is a necessary step in moving our College closer to the social justice that our profession and our world demands.

As is the case with nearly every other college of education in the country, we were not moving the needle on these important issues facing the field of education. Then something happened that separated us from other colleges and universities. We collectively came to the conclusion that we could do better when it came to this work. In the summer of 2020, amidst the national conversation around race in America, we decided to take an approach that differed from many colleges across the United States. We decided to act instead of talk. The willingness of our faculty to address these issues and have necessary but difficult conversations has made all the difference. Following a collegewide meeting that summer, we decided to engage in a series of actions that have brought us to the present moment: the creation of an Antiracist Study Group, partnering with the Tennessee Educators of Color Alliance (TECA) for an external stakeholder report, naming the first Coordinators of Diversity Initiatives, approving a diversity statement, increasing professional development in DEI, establishing the first BIPOC student group, recruiting more diverse candidates into our programs, and creating the first College Diversity Council.

Our faculty and staff leaders have been at the front of this work, changing how these issues are discussed, conceptualized, and addressed in the College. Most importantly, this work has culminated with a living document that has the potential to change the face of our College. This work has been a collective effort, and it is clear that if we get to a better place, it won’t be alone – it will be together. Diversity work is a core part of what we do. In the Eriksson College of Education, this sentiment is now a reality. I fully endorse and support the work of the Diversity Council and the Strategic Diversity Plan in the Eriksson College of Education.

Prentice T. Chandler, Ph. D.
Dean, Eriksson College of Education
Austin Peay State University

If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together.”


Serving the Austin Peay State University campus community as the inaugural chief diversity officer is an honor and privilege. In this role, the goal is simple: establish a campus environment where diversity is natural and business as usual. It is not required or meant to cause resentment. Diversity will connect to oneness and fairness, not be a bridge to acrimony. Austin Peay is where we all work together, yet we experience life differently. We hope our campus members, especially our students, have an opportunity to see life from a new perspective and experience a new world they did not see before.

Following a lengthy planning process, the College of Education (COE) has launched its five-year strategic plan for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), filled with a blueprint for resources and access. This plan signifies a renewed pledge to developing a diverse COE learning community while creating an inclusive and equitable campus environment for all. The College of Education is building on the premise that diversity is an action, inclusivity is cultural, and belonging is a feeling. During the implementation of the plan, there will need to be an understanding that the contributions of students, faculty, and staff will be essential in helping to guide the DEI process towards creative and successful outcomes.

As the demographics of our world become more diverse, institutions of higher learning must reflect this diversity. The first step we need starts with acknowledging that some change is necessary. Along with change, significant work has been done so far at Austin Peay State University; however, much more is to come! With the five-year strategic plan in full force, the COE will be able to provide resources that better equip students, faculty, and staff with information that matters and helps to promote transparency in their DEI work.

The COE has made several commitments to make the College a more inclusive, equitable, and diverse community. Diversity enhances the learning experience for all campus members by exposing and challenging us to reflect, assess, and value the opinions, experiences, and practices of others different from ourselves. The College strongly believes that we must create the best possible educational environment for students whose lives will likely be significantly changed during their time at Austin Peay State University. As the Chief Diversity Officer, I fully support the five-year strategic plan. I will continue to be interested in and partner with the COE as they keep our campus apprised of their progress and their work aligns and advances these critical DEI efforts across the campus community.

LaNeeça R. Williams
Chief Diversity Officer and Title IX Coordinator
Austin Peay State University


Outline of diverstiy plan setps for action and measureview of the campus from above

our trajectory so fartrajectory timeline

statue on apsu campus

bigideas to develop and preserve a culture where differences are recognized
to eliminate opportunity gaps ans sytemic barriers for marginialized students
To rebuild our curriculums so that they do not uphold white supremacy, intolerance, and bigotry and so they are culturally relevant, historically responsive, and anti-racist.
Commitment 4 to provide continual advocacey for social justice and equity across the college.
These four commitments represent the forthcoming efforts of the faculty and staff of the Eriksson College of Education. To reach the outlined commitments, we will collaborate, engage stakeholders and community partners, and evaluate our individual and collective progress. In sum, implementation of this plan will contribute to Austin Peay State University’s institutional objectives and fulfill the goals of APSU’s Strategic Plan to prepare students to work and to serve in a global community.