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APSU’s Eriksson College of Education hosts 2nd rural education conference

Dr. Cheryl Lambert

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – Last month, Austin Peay State University’s Center for Rural Education hosted its second virtual conference, “Raising Our Rural Voices: Highlighting Rural Education with Shared Stories, Teaching Opportunities and Community Experiences.” 

The event provided opportunities for rural experts from across the country to share innovative rural ideas and research. The center hosted 22 presentations, with more than 50 participants.

“It was a pleasure to conduct this shared research opportunity for the Austin Peay community and rural educators nationwide,” Dr. Cheryl Lambert, coordinator of the center, said.

In 2018, Austin Peay’s Eriksson College of Education opened the center to serve rural Tennessee school districts that experience “higher per-pupil costs, higher poverty rates, population decline, hard-to-staff positions with high teacher turnover, geographic isolation and resistance to innovation.”

In 2019, the center hosted a special, two-day STEM workshop for rural educators, and last year, it used external grant funding to develop its Rural Scholars Program. That program provides APSU junior and senior teaching candidates with support to complete their education degrees. These scholars then have the opportunity to commit to a teaching contract with a rural district. 

The presenters at last month’s conference tackled some of the challenges rural teachers face, with sessions like “Comparing Mentoring Experiences for Rural Youth as They Embark on STEM Learning Pathways” and “‘Struggling to Find Our Way:’ Narratives From Rural Community Educators.”

“I had a wonderful time attending and presenting at the APSU Rural Education Conference,” Stephanie Oudghiri, from Purdue University, said. “Thank you so much for organizing this conference.”

For information on the new Center for Rural Education, visit http://www.apsu.edu/education/ruraled.

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