Vice President of Student Affairs, Dr. Leonard E. Clemons within his office in The Morgan University Center on September 7th, 2023 | RALPH ACOSTA, THE ALL STATE

With a new year starting at Austin Peay State University and a litter of incoming students, topics that consistently seem to come up are classes and student engagement on campus. This new semester brings new opportunities for students to get involved and find topics of interest on campus. Presenting these opportunities is a central goal of Vice President of Student Affairs, Dr. Leonard E. Clemons, and everyone involved in extracurricular activities on campus.

Dr. Clemons recently began his tenure at Austin Peay State University after a long career helping students find their fulfillment on the college campus. Over his career, he’s developed a passion for helping students and extenuating the college campus to assist in that goal. Dr. Clemons stated how his passion for the subject came from his own time as a college student. Being involved on campus himself, he’d wanted to contribute to students having a great college experience.

Clemons believes that student engagement holds great importance, saying, “I truly believe in some of the theoretical foundations that say that academic and social integration are equally important, that a student who is academically successful but not socially integrated, socially connected, and not tapped into developing as a person has just as high likelihood of departing as a student who is socially engaged, doing everything outside the classroom, but not thriving inside the classroom.” He further went on to say, “I’m incredibly inspired by the population of students that are at Austin Peay.”

Going forward, Clemons wishes to increase the presence and chances for students to get involved on campus, with the integration of many more events and exposure of many more groups on campus. Clemons mentioned how a committee, made up of different student leaders from different organizations on campus, was established to identify barriers to student engagement on campus.

“I can go through and work with them to figure out how can we start removing barriers for students to be more engaged,” said Clemons. Engagement of student organizations is a big initiative for the Office of Student Affairs, which would lead them to a strategic vision for this year.”

Dr. Clemons said, “Our vision is to inspire and transform the campus life experience of students through co-curricular engagement … that’s our vision … removing barriers for students to engage”.

Dr. Clemons stated how he wished to keep the ball rolling far after the initial welcome week, with many events and opportunities for fun to come to students in the following months. He’s enthusiastic about helping build a worthwhile college experience for students of APSU.