Accreditations, chairs, new plant species and space talk


A new species appears. The engineering degree in physics obtains accreditation. A staff member is honored and Science on Tap gets a triumphant return.

Check out the latest news from Austin Peay State University in Clarksville.

Engineering Physics Degree Program Achieves ABET Accreditation

Austin Peay’s Bachelor of Science program in Engineering Physics has just received accreditation from ABET’s Engineering Accreditation Commission.

Accreditation ensures that programs are able to meet standards that prepare graduate students for critical technical areas, so they can be at the forefront of innovation and the needs of well-being and public safety.

As a global accreditation, it is a voluntary peer review process that adds value to academic programs in technical fields.

“With the program’s accreditation, APSU engineering students can be confident that their educational experience meets the global standard set by ABET and enhances their career opportunities upon graduation,” said. Dr. Russ Longhurst, professor in the Department of Physics, Engineering and Astronomy at APSU.

New recipient of the Leorna C. Reuther Chair of Excellence

Dr. Debra Rose Wilson has been announced as the next recipient of the Leorna C. Reuther Chair of Excellence at the Austin Peay School of Nursing.

As part of a gift that enabled Austin Peay to establish his first endowed chair for the School of Nursing, the chair was created and honors the university’s top faculty.

Wilson came to Austin Peay in 2017, the same year she was awarded America’s Holistic Nurse of the Year for her outstanding innovations through researching, teaching, and promoting the science of holistic nursing. She also received the university’s Richard M. Hawkins Award for displaying outstanding academic and creative behavior.

New species of beaksedge described by APSU Alumna

The Stiletto Beaksedge is a newly described species that is found in sunny, moist grasslands in only seven locations worldwide.

Claire M. Ciafré, former student of Austin Peay, and co-author Robert FC Naczi recently described a new species of beaksedge, found only in seven locations worldwide, the Stiletto Beaksedge.

The species was first collected by Ciafré in early 2019 while she was studying rivers for plant communities as part of her master’s thesis.

“I wasn’t sure if I had found something new, an existing species that hadn’t been found in North America yet, a hybrid or just a wobbly individual – it’s amazing what fungal infections, insect galls or stress can sometimes do to the plants.. But I think the uncertainty made everything even more exciting,” says Ciafré.

After extensive work, the description of the new species was published on August 16. This is a vulnerable species that is only found in sunny, moist, calcium-rich but nutrient-poor habitats.

Science on Tap is back!

New image of the planet Jupiter taken by the James Webb Space Telescope.  This photo was taken by NIRCam telescopes which have three specialized infrared filters that show detail on the planet.

Austin Peay’s Science on Tap at Strawberry Alley Ale Works returns September 6.

Dr. Spencer Buckner will talk about the first months of observations from the James Webb Space Telescope.

The telescope is the largest sent into space. The 5:30 p.m. presentation will cover the financing, construction, launch and operation of the telescope, as well as a comparison between the James Webb and Hubble telescopes.

Buckner is an associate professor in the Department of Engineering Physics and Astronomy at the university

Contact reporter Marissa England at or (615) 823-9868. To support his work, subscribe to a digital subscription for


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