CLARKSVILLE, TN — Last month, the Center for Rural Education at Austin Peay State University hosted its second virtual conference, “Raising Our Rural Voices: Highlighting Rural Education with Shared Stories, Teaching Opportunities and Community Experiences.”
The event allowed rural experts from across the country to share innovative rural ideas and research. The center hosted 22 presentations, with over 50 attendees.
“It was a pleasure to lead this shared research opportunity for the Austin Peay community and rural educators nationwide,” said Center Coordinator Dr. Cheryl Lambert.
In 2018, Austin Peay’s Eriksson College of Education opened the center to serve rural school districts in Tennessee that are experiencing “higher per-student costs, higher poverty rates, declining population, difficult to staff with high teacher turnover, geographic isolation and resistance to innovation.”
In 2019, the center held a special two-day STEM workshop for rural educators, and last year it used external grants to expand its rural scholar program. This program provides junior and senior APSU teacher candidates with support to complete their studies. These scholarship holders then have the possibility of entering into a teaching contract with a rural municipality.
Presenters at last month’s conference touched on some of the challenges facing rural teachers, with sessions such as “Comparing mentorship experiences for rural youth as they embark on STEM learning pathways” and “‘Let’s Struggle to Find Our Way:’ Stories from Rural Community Educators”.
“I had a wonderful time attending and presenting at APSU’s Rural Education Conference,” said Stephanie Oudghiri of Purdue University. “Thank you very much for organizing this conference.”
For more information on the new Center for Rural Education, visit http://www.apsu.edu/education/ruraled.