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10 ways APSU embodied its new “community-minded” mission in 2022

The Speech-Language and Swallowing Clinic

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – For more than 90 years, Austin Peay State University’s faculty, staff, students and alumni have worked to make the world a better place, and last December, the APSU Board of Trustees made that giving spirit a central focus of the University by unanimously adopting Austin Peay’s new mission statement.

With this new mission, Austin Peay will become a “community-minded institution that provides transformational experiences through innovative, creative and scholarly activities. We welcome and inspire an inclusive community of learners to make a positive impact regionally and globally.”

A year has passed, and during this season of giving, the University is looking at how it became a more “community-minded institution” in 2022. Here are some of the stories from the last year that demonstrate how Austin Peay is embodying its new mission.

1. APSU Spanish class keeping community safe through translation work

In Fall 2022, students in the APSU Spanish 4900: Spanish Internship course helped both the Clarksville Area Urban Ministries’ SafeHouse and the Clarksville Department of Neighborhood and Community Services by translating important documents into Spanish.

For years, the Urban Ministries SafeHouse has provided a protective sanctuary to domestic violence survivors and their children, but the organization’s English-language materials often prevented Clarksville’s Spanish-speaking population from using this important resource.  The Department of Neighborhood and Community Services also worried that many non-English speakers were unaware of the dangers of lead paint in older homes.

2. Nursing now offering medication management clinic

This fall, the APSU School of Nursing received a grant from Clarksville Montgomery County Community Health Foundation to open a medication management clinic for mental health at 510 College Street.

Office visits will start as low as $5, and the medication management clinic has the option to provide clients with a bill if they need to submit it to insurance for reimbursement. In addition to supporting the local community, the clinic will provide a training site for a new psychiatric nurse practitioner degree program.

3. APSU officially unveils Governors Military Hall of Fame with induction of inaugural class

On Nov. 5, APSU officially unveiled the University’s new Governors Military Hall of Fame, honoring 13 individuals connected with APSU who selflessly served their country.

When the Austin Peay Normal School first opened nine decades ago, the University embraced the World War I veterans who joined its faculty. In the years since, the campus has produced some of the finest individuals to serve in all branches of the United States Military.

With the new Governors Hall of Fame, the honorees’ names and stories will remain permanently on display inside the William E. & Sadako S. Newton Military Family Resource Center, the largest military student center in the state.

4. APSU and SGI Celebrating 5 Years of Saving Southeastern Grasslands

Austin Peay’s Southeastern Grasslands Initiative (SGI) celebrated its fifth anniversary in October. As part of that celebration, SGI announced that it is changing its name from the Southeastern Grasslands Initiative to the Southeastern Grasslands Institute. However, its mission of saving the forgotten grasslands of the Southeast hasn’t changed.

On Oct. 5, 2018, SGI was officially formed as a branch of the Center of Excellence for Field Biology at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tennessee. Its formation was made possible by a generous donation from the BAND Foundation.

Over the last five years, SGI has worked tirelessly to conserve, restore, and promote native grasslands throughout the Southeast. This work is critical because less than 1% of Southeastern grassland communities remain, and they are home to some of the most imperiled plants and animals, including monarch butterflies, American bumble bees, and northern bobwhites.

5. White House eyes APSU’s Grow Your Own

In August, the White House announced an innovative new plan aimed at tackling the national teacher shortage, and a key component of that plan – teacher apprenticeship programs – was originally developed at Austin Peay State University.

In 2019, the APSU Eriksson College of Education and the Clarksville-Montgomery County School System (CMCSS) launched the state’s first education residency program, providing 20 recent high school graduates and 20 CMCSS teacher’s aides with an accelerated path to become full-time teachers in local schools. 

Three short years later, in August 2022, the program’s first participants graduated with a bachelor’s degree from APSU and a guaranteed job in local public schools.

6. APSU now offering free speech-language and swallowing clinic for local community

A new, state-of-the-art medical clinic is now open in Clarksville, serving everyone from infants to senior citizens, and most people are shocked when they learn how much the clinic charges for its services.

Austin Peay State University is inviting the community to use its new Speech-Language and Swallowing Community Clinic, at 255 Marion St., for free. The 2,000-square-foot space offers treatments for everything from speaking and swallowing issues to memory loss and other cognition problems while providing APSU’s newest graduate students with the training they need to become the next generation of speech-language pathologists.

7. Austin Peay first Tennessee university to offer in-state tuition to ALL military-affiliated students

In July 2022, APSU became the only Tennessee university to offer in-state tuition rates to all the nation’s military-affiliated students, which includes active-duty military personnel, veterans, reservists, National Guard members and their eligible family members. The University announced the creation of special financial awards to ensure these students receive this tuition rate, which is one of the lowest in the state.

The announcement means that military-affiliated individuals assigned to installations such as Fort Hood, Texas; Fort Bragg, North Carolina; or Fort Knox, Kentucky, can now pay the same tuition rate as Tennesseans wanting to enroll at Austin Peay.

8. APSU raises $27.6 million during highest fundraising year in University history

Austin Peay State University recently experienced the highest fundraising year in the University’s history. During the 2022 fiscal year, APSU raised $27.6 million in gifts and pledges from 2,367 donors. That amount represents a 47% increase in the average annual fundraising amount over last year’s $14.6 million and a 31% increase over the last five years.

Throughout the year, roughly $5.1 million in endowment funding was committed and 35 new endowments were funded or established. Community members and alumni also gave to various projects and programs across all areas of the University. A historic $15 million gift was pledged in 2022 to the APSU Department of Athletics by Joe and Cathi Maynard. It is the largest single gift in the history of Austin Peay, and it will be used to further the objectives of Austin Peay athletics’ “Total Gov Concept” by assisting with facility upgrades to all athletics facilities, expanding the commitment to student-athlete performance excellence, the development of the student-athletes and the recruitment and retention of coaches and staff among other objectives.

9. APSU home to state’s only Institute for National Security and Military Studies

Earlier this year, Austin Peay State University officially launched the Institute for National Security and Military Studies, the first of its kind in the Southeastern United States. The Institute will build upon Tennessee’s position as a national leader in collaborating with the military and educating military and veteran students. The Institute not only provides military-focused education while supporting faculty’s research but also works to fill the gaps in outreach to military families and military programs.

In addition to offering a bachelor’s degree in National Security Studies, the Institute’s faculty will engage in research that broadly addresses the dynamics of military life, particularly in higher education, psychology and counseling, service members and families transitioning to civilian life, and workforce development

10. APSU College of Business offers free, virtual tax prep to qualifying individuals

One of Austin Peay State University’s most popular community projects – the College of Business’s free tax preparation program, Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) – continued during last spring’s tax season.

For the last five years, APSU has offered the VITA program as part of a service-learning course that provides an important community service while also giving APSU accounting students practical, real-world experience. The program is open to anyone with an annual income of $66,000 or less, and their taxes are prepared by APSU students who are all IRS-certified volunteers.

“This is such a great program for both students and taxpayers,” Jennifer Thayer, APSU assistant professor of accounting, said. “Students are getting practical application and communication skills while taxpayers are receiving free tax preparation services.”

For more examples of how APSU is a “community-minded institution,” visit www.apsu.edu/news.