Inside Higher Ed | Athens State University

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Athens State University

Athens State University

Friendly, affordable, and convenient - three hallmarks that make Athens State University a great place for learners to continue their education. Athens State University is a public, upper-level institution serving the educational needs of transfer students. The University is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award baccalaureate degrees and masters degrees.

Established in 1822 as Athens Female Academy, the institution’s vision was to serve the educational needs of the women in the community as an institute of higher learning. Over the years, the ownership of the school was transferred to the Methodist Church, and the institution eventually became co-ed. While the name of the institution has changed several times (Athens Female Academy - Athens Female Institute - Athens Female College - Athens College – Athens State College - Athens State University), its mission has never wavered: to provide affordable, flexible, and high-quality options for all learners.


Athens State at a Glance:

-over 4,000 undergraduate students (2017 annual headcount)

-students are primarily from Northern Alabama and Southern Tennessee, but our distance learning program has allowed students from 21 other states across the country to take classes at Athens State

-15:1 student/teacher ratio

-81 full time instructors

-226 full time employees and 159 part time employees

-3 colleges: College of Business, College of Education, College of Arts and Sciences

-50+ undergraduate degree options

-3 graduate programs

-lowest cost of attendance in the state of Alabama


The University strives to maintain a visible presence in the community and collaborate with local and regional economic development organizations. Athens State has a strong partnership with Calhoun Community College in addition to other regional community colleges. The Alabama Center for Arts, the region’s premier art center and degree program, continues the long-standing collaborative academic effort between Athens State University and Calhoun Community College and serves as a model of academic institutional cooperation for the state. In addition, Athens State has several off-campus learning centers, such as the Center for Lifelong Learning in downtown Athens, to aid in the transfer process and students’ academic needs.

As an institution dedicated to producing workforce-ready individuals, Athens State University is committed to assisting local employers and industries by offering industry-minded programs that are designed to immediately meet employer needs. The University actively collaborates with Alabama employers using a needs-focused approach where industry leaders are able to outline desired skills for the workforce and assist in building business and career programs offered by the University. This flipped model creates a framework for value-based academic programs that achieve the highest levels of workforce readiness and meet both present and anticipated workforce requirements. As a strategic partner, Athens State serves as an innovative ally for the citizens and employers in the state of Alabama to provide opportunities for students to fully realize their career goals, achieve successful job placement in the field, and enjoy highly competitive levels of compensation, all while generating revenue within the state.

As the only institution in the state of Alabama offering upper division degree programs and services, Athens State University continues to enjoy the important and unique position that it has always occupied within the community. The University understands that career opportunities rest on a student’s college education. Students far and wide have selected Athens State because of its neighborly environment where over 50 different majors and degree options are taught by an understanding and high-quality faculty. Whether students are full-time or part-time, Athens State offers a course schedule to meet their needs, whether it be day, night, weekend, or distance courses.

As Athens State University approaches its Bicentennial, it is reminded of its rich and storied history and the many inspiring people who have passed through its historic columns. In its nearly 200-year history, the University has successfully navigated through epidemics, wars, and economic downturns. The institution has not only endured these events, but has grown into a highly respected university. The foundation that was laid in 1822 continues to support an institution that has grown strong both in students and facilities.

Located in historic Athens, Alabama, Athens State University is located in north Alabama equidistant between Nashville, Tennessee and Birmingham, Alabama. Athens is home to several events and festivals that have been featured as the Southeast Tourism Society’s “Top 20 Events in the Southeast” including the Athens Storytelling Festival and the Tennessee Valley Old Time Fiddlers Convention.


Diversity Profile: Athens State University

Athens State University embraces its mission statement and is committed to providing a supporting environment for all who work and learn at the University through knowledge, respect, civility and inclusion. A vibrant campus community includes respect for, and civility toward, one another.

The University respects the right of expression as a symbol of learning, and values intellectual freedom, tempered with respect for rights of others. It is our expectation that individuals and groups should not feel intimidated or be subject to retribution for voicing concerns or for participating in governance or policy making.

We believe individuals have a right to be safe from harassment, in any form, regardless of their beliefs, values, or ideas. Nonetheless, being safe should not be construed as a form of protection from opposing ideas or beliefs that may differ or cause discomfort. Likewise, safety extends to protect the rights of participants and non-participants alike in situations involving protests or campus unrest.

Athens State recognizes that the way we interact and communicate with one another is critical to cultivating a respectful, meaningful, and effective intellectual environment. As a community, we have a collective responsibility to refrain from behaviors that demean or stigmatize individuals or groups of individuals whose perspective may differ.

The Univeristy remains fully committed to promoting a culture of respect, civility, and inclusiveness and seeks to sustain a culture that is respectful of both differences and commonalities.


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