The Appalachian Teaching Project (ATP) gives college students the opportunity to engage in research and community-centered projects to address challenges facing Appalachian communities. Led by the Consortium of Appalachian Centers and Institutes, and funded by the Appalachian Regional Commission, (ARC), the program involves active student research and participation with community partners in issues related to building a sustainable future for Appalachian communities. Faculty, students, and community partners develop projects tailored to the needs of targeted communities, many of which are in economically distressed counties. Students from throughout the member institutions come together to present their reports once a year in Washington, DC.
This interdisciplinary program teaches real-world leadership skills, taking students out of the classroom and into their communities. The research conducted helps guide communities toward local solutions that help solve significant problems in a sustainable way. The research presentations also challenge the ARC to take a fresh look at issues and solutions in the Appalachian region. Since the program’s inception in 2001, projects have addressed such issues as heritage tourism, preserving Appalachian agricultural heritage, local leadership development, regional history, promoting community assets, community health initiatives, environmental issues, and building community through the arts.
The ATP is administered by the Center for Appalachian Studies and Services at East Tennessee State University (ETSU). Fifteen institutions from 11 Appalachian states participated in the 2012 Appalachian Teaching Project: Alfred State College (New York); Auburn University (Alabama); Appalachian State University (North Carolina); East Tennessee State University; Emory and Henry College (Virginia); Fairmont State University (West Virginia); Frostburg State University (Maryland); Morehead State University (Kentucky); North Georgia College and State University; Shawnee State University (Ohio); Radford University (Virginia); Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University; Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College; the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford (Pennsylvania); and the University of Tennessee.