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APSU Board of Trustees votes to join ASUN Conference during fall meeting


CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – On Sept. 17, the Austin Peay State University Board of Trustees voted unanimously to accept an invitation to join the Atlantic Sun Conference. The University’s Athletics Department, which has been a part of the Ohio Valley Conference since 1962, will now join the ASUN Conference on July 1, 2022.

“I could not be more excited to help lead Austin Peay into a new era of growth, which will help expand and enhance our brand, our footprint and the quality of our product both athletically and academically,” Gerald Harrison, APSU director of athletics, said. “As challenging as this opportunity is — and make no mistake, we are facing a step up in competition level — it's even more exciting to embark on this journey to elevate the profile of this department.”

The move is expected to increase the University’s brand visibility, with more than 10 million television homes – and 45,000 Austin Peay alumni – residing within the ASUN's seven-state footprint. More information on the conference is available at letsgopeay.com.

“I am excited to take this next step for the university and our athletics department,” APSU President Mike Licari said. “The ASUN Conference will help us showcase all of the great things we're doing athletically and academically. The ASUN will put us in new markets that will boost our recruiting ability and allow us to better engage our passionate alumni base. This is a move to position our University well both now and in the future.”

Strategic Planning

During Friday’s meeting, the board also received an update on the University’s strategic planning process. This fall, Austin Peay’s strategic planning committee will begin revising the University’s current mission statement, vision and values. The committee will submit these revisions to the board during its winter meeting in December.

“This opportunity allows us to explore our ‘why’ – why do we exist? Envision our ‘what’ – what will we become? And enact our ‘how’—how will we do it?” Dannelle Whiteside, APSU vice president for legal affairs and organizational strategy, said. “And that’s exciting work.”

In the spring, the committee will work at aligning the University’s strategic plan with the revised mission and vision. The updated strategic plan will be presented for the board’s approval during the summer meeting in June 2022.

COVID-19 update

Licari also updated the board about the University’s efforts to combat the spread of COVID-19 within the community. On Sept. 13, the University began offering COVID-19 testing to anyone, regardless of age, who lives with an Austin Peay student, faculty or staff member. This service was previously only open to APSU students, faculty and staff.

He also announced the University’s new “Govs Back the Vax” campaign – an incentive program that will reward individuals for getting a COVID-19 vaccine.

New board leadership

During Friday’s meeting, the board also elected Billy Atkins as its new chair and Don Jenkins as its new vice chair. Atkins is taking over for Trustee Mike O’Malley, whose term as board chair ended on Friday. Jenkins will replace Trustee Katherine Cannata, whose term as vice chair also ended. Both O’Malley and Cannata are still members of the board.

For more information on APSU’s Board of Trustees, visit www.apsu.edu/president/board-of-trustees.

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