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Martha Dickerson Eriksson College of Education

Continuous Accreditation Since 1954

A Message from the Dean

Welcome to the Eriksson College of Education.  I encourage you to explore our website, and I hope it provides you the news, information, and resources you need to discover all that the College of Education has to offer. As you move through the College of Education website, you will find an array of opportunities to prepare teachers for children and youth ranging from pre-school through high school.

Our departments of Teaching and Learning and Educational Specialties offer undergraduate and graduate degree programs that meet state  certification and accreditation requirements. Our various Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) programs provide multiple avenues for career changers and college graduates in other disciplines to prepare themselves for their particular niche in the teaching profession. Whether you are a prospective or current student, a College of Education alumnus, a professional colleague, or a community member or supporter, we welcome your inquiries and your feedback.

Prentice Chandler 
Eriksson College of Education 

Job Openings in the
Eriksson College of Education

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Eriksson College of Education to Offer APSU's First Doctoral Program

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CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – Austin Peay State University took a major step forward today with the announcement of the first doctoral degree in the institution’s history. Beginning this fall, the APSU Eriksson College of Education will offer a Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) degree in Educational Leadership for K-12 professionals looking to advance their careers. Earlier this month, the program received its final approval from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) —the region’s higher education accrediting body.

 “The approval of the level change by SACSCOC marks a historic day for APSU as it joins the ranks of the nation’s doctoral universities,” Dr. Rex Gandy, APSU provost and vice president for affairs, said. “With this approval the University is better positioned to serve the educational needs of students at all degree levels.”

The University was previously classified as a Level IV institution by SACSCOC, which meant the highest degrees Austin Peay could offer were master’s degrees and education specialist degrees. With the approval of the Ed.D. program, SACSCOC has reclassified the University as a Level V institution, opening the door for doctoral degrees.

“The faculty and staff within the Eriksson College of Education saw the need for this degree more than a decade ago, and they’ve worked tirelessly to develop a program that will meet the needs of the educators in our region as well as transform this University,” Dr. Alisa White, APSU president, said. “I’m excited to welcome our first doctoral students to campus this fall and watch them, and this program, grow.”

The Ed.D. is designed to meet the needs of several groups of potential students, including:

The new degree, housed within the college’s Department of Educational Specialties, will consist of 60 credit hours beyond a master’s degree, with students taking classes in leadership theory and practice, research and statistics, organizational analysis and analysis of educational policy, in addition to writing a dissertation. The program will enroll 20 students into this fall’s initial cohort, with the department admitting additional students each subsequent year.

“Our University was founded by teachers, so it is fitting that our first doctoral degree program is in the field of education,” Dr. Prentice Chandler, dean of the Eriksson College of Education, said. “Today’s announcement is the culmination of a lot of hard work by our faculty and staff, and we are excited to start a new chapter in the college.

“Our Ed.D. will integrate knowledge of theory and research and applications of best practices, with special attention to strengthening the dispositions necessary for leadership in educational settings,” Chandler added.

The nation is expected to see a 6 percent increase in elementary and secondary school administrators by the year 2024. In Tennessee, this equates to 5,680 positions, with approximately 220 annual job openings.

College of Ed looks at China for potential students

Dr. Bruster with kindergarten teacher in China.
CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – Dr. Benita Bruster’s cell phone pings all day with messages from WeChat—a popular Chinese social media app. The Austin Peay State University professor and chair of the APSU Department of Teaching and Learning within the Eriksson College of Education downloaded the app earlier this summer, while on a recruiting trip to China, and now whenever she picks up her phone, she learns of another potential international student eager to study at Austin Peay.

“Chinese students want to come to the United States and have an international experience,” she said. “So in the spring, a plan was formed with department faculty and graduate assistants from China, to organize a recruiting trip.”

The University’s Center for Extended and International Education decided APSU’s Eriksson College of Education might appeal to students in that area, so in late May Bruster went on a 10-day recruiting trip through northeastern China. During her travels, she visited three universities and initiated potential 3-plus-2 partnerships with these institutions.

“With the 3-plus-2 partnerships, these students would finish three years of their education in China,” she said. “Then they would come here their senior year and stay at Austin Peay as graduate students.”

Bruster presented a lecture to more than 300 faculty members and students on literacy and language acquisition at Baotou Teacher’s College and Jining Normal University. Several students from both colleges are planning to enroll at APSU in the coming year, and Bruster’s trip might also bring some of the world’s top athletes to campus next year.

“We went to Beijing Sport University (BSU), where China sends a lot of their national athletes and trains Olympic athletes from all over the country,” she said. “Right now, there’s a proposed partnership with Austin Peay and BSU to send these students to study Health and Human Performance at Austin Peay.”

Since 2015, the University has moved aggressively forward in targeting international students. APSU’s international student recruiters have visited Mexico, Morocco, India, the United Kingdom and Vietnam, and they’ve worked on similar partnerships with universities in Taiwan, China, Japan and South America.

At the end of the recruiting trip, Bruster visited the Beijing Bokai Zhineng Quan’na Kindergarten, and that school is now planning to send four teachers to APSU this summer.

“In China, there’s an initiative for Chinese children to learn English,” she said. “The director wants to send his teachers here for graduate degrees in early childhood education.”

Bruster developed the recruiting trip with help from two of her colleagues, Dr. Ling Wang and Dr. Bing Xiao, and a graduate student, Ma Ji, who are all originally from China. Her husband, APSU computer science instructor Barry Bruster, accompanied her on the trip, and he was able to promote international opportunities to potential graduate students with APSU’s Department of Computer Science and Information Technology. He also presented a lecture to 40 faculty members at Jining Normal University.

Dr. Michael Shen, APSU associate professor of business, joined the Brusters on the trip to serve as a translator and guide.


Tracy Bettencourt teaching a special student in a class
Meet Tracy Bettencourt

"At APSU, they have a lot of amazing technology that I can't afford at home, but helps me learn through book scanners or screen readers or other resources that help us learn as well as anyone else. APSU gave me the same opportunity to succeed as any other student, and I would not change the experience there for anything in the world."