As an alumnus of AP I will take an opportunity to say what I know from my own experience (5 years worth).
APSU is a liberal arts university located in Clarksville, TN. It is known for excellence in its nursing program as well as its department of education. It is also gaining recognition for its business program and the college of science has been showing some strong performance lately. The art and music departments have also been known to generate some impressive results.
Currently the university boasts Centers of Excellence in Creative arts and Field Biology. The former is constantly hosting noteworthy performances and exhibits, and the latter is a nationally-known source of research, mostly performed in the nearby Kentucky wildlife preserve Land between The Lakes.
In addition, APSU also holds the Roy Acuff Chair of Excellence in the Creative Arts (1984) currently held by accomplished playwight Arthur Kopit. The APSU Foundation Chair of Excellence in Free Enterprise (1987) is not currently occupied. The Harper-Bourne Chair of Excellence in business (1987) is also not currently held. Finally, the Lenora C. Reuther Chair of Excellence in Nursing (new, but exact date unknown) is currently held for the first time by scholar and author Dr.Joseph P. Maloney.
I was a Computer Science major at APSU. The CSCI dept in 1996 (my freshman year) consisted of approximately 70 students, and by the end of the year was down to about 50. My second senior year :) there were over 200 freshmen CSCI majors. This growth is being experienced campus-wide.
This growth, along with a devastating tornado spawned the recent rash of construction on campus. Not only were several buildings in need of new roofs and walls, but new facilities were needed to contain and accomodate APs new large population. Since January, 1999 the campus has been one big construction area. Red mud and orange cones have been a constant presence on campus. By May of 2000 the tornado repairs were complete. Then began what many believe to be the biggest mistakes in APSU history.
Construction began on two new buildings simultaneously. A new, very large and very impressive science building was built along with a new, large and impressive student center. Both buildings are beautiful and certainly worth the inconvenience of further construction. However, the problem is that it basically drained APs bank account. The school is completely broke now. My sister attends and tells me that professors are rationed a certain number of copies in the copy machines. There is no money for anything. As a result tuition has been raised for the 4th time since I started school. And for the first time in years APSU saw a decline in enrollment. Many predict a long period of hard times for the school.
Socially the university is not much to speak of. The vast majority of the students commute, so there arent as many students living on campus as one might expect. The fraternity and sorority scene is dominated by 2 or 3 groups and is very elitist (as I suppose all fraternity/sorority scenes are all across the nation). On top of that, for whatever reason most of the on-campus students leave for the weekends. So after 5 and on the weekends, the campus is basically a ghost town.
The close proximity to a military installation (Ft. Capmbell, KY) brings lots and lots of retired soldiers and retired soldier's wives to APSU seeking education and a second career after the military under the GI Bill. I heard one rumor that when you add all of APs students (including the ones attending the on-base campus at Ft. Campbell) you see that over half of them are "non-traditional" (which is the universities PC way of labelling the students who are as old as most of the professors). Of the on-campus student body though I would estimate the non-traditional population to be roughly a third.
I personally like this aspect of APSU. I made many friends who were as old as or older than my father. Their point of view and generally laid-back attitude was refreshing. I find its really hard to stress out a war veteran with a calculus test. And their stress-free attitude helped me maintain a perspective that I found to be helpful.
The sports teams at APSU have been cursed with what I claim to be the stupidest mascot and team name of all time. The Governor. Austin Peay is the name of one of Tennessee's governors and thus our mascot is a tall lanky southern gentleman in a suit, wearing a top hat and a monocle. Its actually pretty humorous. Which is probably one of the reasons for APSU's generally light-hearted attitude about sports. Basically, we know we suck. But we just dont care. Our cheers at sporting events were funny things such as "Lets go Peay!" and "We've got Peayness, yes we do. We've got Peayness, how 'bout you!". There really is something hilarious about seeing a PhD walking around in a sweater that says "Lets go Peay" on the back.
APSU's only real performer when it comes to sports is the basketball team. I cant quote you any statistics or anything, as I admittedly don't keep up with basketball. I do know, however that the team performed very well for several years in the Ohio Valley Conference. I also know that one of the players, Bubba Wells, was drafted into the NBA.
In 1997 (I think) the scholarship program for the football team was canceled. This lead to an 11 or 12 member football team. Iron man football. the way it was meant to be played. :)
My opinion, as a graduate
Despite the fact that I hated the politics and BS of AP. And despite my constant complaining and belly-aching as a student. I hold a special place in my heart for AP. I hope the administration finds a way out of the current troubles. I am generally proud to be an AP grad. I miss it, but I would never go back. So take what you will from that.
Boring historical stuff from apsu.edu
The University began as Austin Peay Normal School when it was created as a two-year junior college and teacher-training institution by Act of the General Assembly of 1927 and named in honor of Governor Austin Peay, who was serving his third term of office when the school was established. Limited in purposes and resources initially, the school gradually grew in stature over the years to take its place among the colleges and universities under the control of the State Board of Education.
In 1939, the State Board of Education authorized the school to inaugurate a curriculum leading to the Bachelor of Science degree. The degree was first conferred on the graduating class at the 1942 Spring Convocation. By Act of the Tennessee Legislature of February 4, 1943, the name of the school was changed to Austin Peay State College. In 1951, the State Board authorized the College to confer the Bachelor of Arts degree and, in 1952, to offer graduate study leading to the degree of Master of Arts in Education. At the November 1966 meeting, the State Board of Education conferred university status on the College, effective September 1, 1967. In February 1967, the State Board of Education authorized the University to confer the Master of Arts and the Master of Science degrees. In 1968, associate degrees were approved. The State Board of Education relinquished its governance of higher education institutions to the Tennessee State Board of Regents in 1972. In 1974, the Tennessee State Board of Regents authorized the Bachelor of Fine Arts and the Education Specialist Degrees. In 1979, the Bachelor of Business Administration degree was approved as a replacement for traditional B.A. and B.S. degrees in various fields of business. In 1979, the Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree was approved. In 1983, the State Board of Regents approved the Master of Music degree, and Master Arts in Education.