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APSU education professor to moderate panel at SXSW EDU® 2024

By: Megan Simpson October 31, 2023


Dr. Cheryl Lambert, chair of the Department of Teaching & Learning at Austin Peay State University, will moderate an upcoming panel in March at the SXSW EDU® Conference & Festival in Austin, Texas. 

The panel, “Addressing Inequity in Rural Education Through Collaboration,” will be one of hundreds of sessions featured during the four-day event.

The session was selected from more than 1,600 other submissions using PanelPicker®, an online voting platform that allows people to vote for what they would like to see during the event. Lambert’s panel will be featured in Equity & Justice, one of 12 conference tracks available for the 2024 event.

SXSW EDU® is an offshoot of the renowned South by Southwest® festival founded in 1987, which combines film, music, technology and more in an immersive experience. 

Lambert is excited about her panel’s selection, and she hopes it will elevate the discussion about rural education. The panelists will discuss how collaboration and partnerships help create more post-secondary education and career opportunities for rural students, and they will speak from personal experience about how to implement these efforts. These collaborative structures often include the establishment of partnerships between school districts, universities and workforce leaders. Austin Peay State University’s Eriksson College of Education is a national leader in this work, as evidenced by the establishment of the Grow Your Own Teacher Residency program with several rural school districts, and the ongoing work of the Center for Rural Education.  

“We're thrilled to share our insights and ignite a spark that will illuminate the path to better rural education for all,” she said. “From my work in rural schools and now at Austin Peay, I understand how intentional partnerships make for better educational and career outcomes. I look forward to chatting with the panelists about their varied experiences.”

Challenges common for rural schools include teacher shortages, limited resources for innovation and technology, as well as declines in the overall student population. However, Lambert sees many benefits to rural education, and she credits the teachers for what they do to facilitate strong learning environments. 

“In the heart of every rural school lies the resilience to thrive amidst change or adversity,” Lambert said. “Rural teachers are dedicated members of their communities, who play a vital role in preparing the next generation of community and workforce leaders.”

Lambert is the founding coordinator of the Center for Rural Education at Austin Peay. The mission of the center is to support the needs of rural educators in Tennessee, particularly the nine rural Tennessee counties that comprise the River Ribbon Collaborative — Houston, Benton, Humphreys, Decatur, Perry, Wayne, Hickman, Lawrence and Lewis. The Center for Rural Education can provide customized professional development for teachers, as well as age-appropriate activities for PreK-12 students. For more information about the Center for Rural Education, contact Lambert at lambertc@apsu.edu or (931) 221-6195.

SXSW EDU® will feature a variety of speakers, panels, workshops and presentations, March 4-7, 2024. Featured speakers include renowned author and Stanford University professor Carol Dweck, who writes extensively on growth mindset and its effects on student learning. Registration is open now.

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