“This is remarkable,” Op/Ed by Tony Dallas

Having watched Antiochians over the past fifty years, it has been my experience that while Antioch has gotten smaller–as a direct and indirect result of the ’73 Strike, the 25% cuts in faculty the year after (financial desperation has never worked as a recruiting tool), lingering on the edge of bankruptcy and oblivion, presidents who have not been fond of the institution and have tried to change it into something more marketable and mainstream, shrinking resources and departments (we all know the story)–the students who have come out of Antioch over the years (and those now at NonStop) continue to be, more or less, of the same cloth. Folks, this is remarkable. And the reason for this is the faculty, staff and the smart students who saw through the absence of trappings to something genuine that would engage them.
To be an effective teacher at Antioch demands a dedication and malleability on the part of teachers most institutions don’t require.
I am in the midst of a long essay on Antioch. I have interviewed 20 people, each person for about two hours: from students in the 1930s to current students at NonStop, as well as a number of faculty and two presidents. I think this bit of transcript from my interview with English Professor Jean Gregorek more than makes my point.
JEAN: I was teaching 19th Century British Lit. 20th Century British Lit. Post-Colonial Literature. Literary Theory. Contemporary Drama. African Literature and Caribbean Literature. And Detective Fiction.
ME: Boy, that’s a lot.
JEAN: (Laughs.) In my line of work it’s unheard of. I’m a complete anomaly. No one tries to cover that much…A normal English Department at a small school is, you know, six or seven people.
(Actually, after I interviewed Jean, I checked both Oberlin and Kenyon’s Websites: they both have between 15 and twenty instructors in their English departments. Antioch in its last year had two and a half.)
The point I am trying to make is this: these teachers are not only damn good in their fields, they take on an extraordinary amount of extra work because of their devotion to the ideals of Antioch and because they get a charge out of the students (OK, not all of the students: but even the difficult ones, they are there for them). Teachers for Antioch are as self-selecting as the students. And if outside proof were needed to make this point clear, let me direct you to the 2000 and 2001 National Survey of Student Engagement-sponsored by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Pew Forum on Undergraduate Learning.
Antioch College ranked number one among 470 institutions in “Level of Academic Challenge” and “Enriching Educational Experiences” and in the top 10% in “Active and Collaborative Learning,” “Student Interactions with Faculty Members,” and “Supportive Campus Environment.” And, according to the Franklin and Marshall study of Baccalaureate Origins of Doctorate Recipients, Antioch College was among the top twenty undergraduate institutions whose graduates went on to earn Ph.D.s.
Loren Pope, in his 1996 addition of Colleges that Change Lives, says of Antioch College: “Antioch is in a class by itself. There is no college or university in the country that makes a more profound difference in a young person’s life, or that creates more effective adults. None of the Ivies, big or little can match Antioch’s ability to produce outstanding thinkers and doers…For decades this yeast of American higher education…has produced higher percentages of future scientists and scholars than any Ivy League university except Princeton.”
Between 1985 and 1990, according to Ph.D. data supplied by the National Science Foundation, in overall Ph.D. output (in all fields) relative to total undergraduate enrollment, Antioch College outranked M.I.T., Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Stanford, Cornell, U. California-Berkeley…and the list goes on.
It is past time we stopped this self-flagellation. The problems of Antioch are not and were not the quality of its faculty. The NonStop faculty and staff is the DNA of Antioch College. And without that DNA what you have is little more than an instruction manual.
Let us not forget the passion and dedication from which NonStop was born. Let us remember were it not for the threat of a lawsuit by the University, Nonstop would have been called what it has always been in reality: Antioch College in Exile. And let us remember the Alumni Reunion of ’07 and how for so many of us it was the assault on the faculty that galvanized us into action. Or as Emeritus Dance Professor Dimi Reber articulated our collective concern in her eloquent letter on behalf of the faculty: “I am writing because current faculty are facing possible layoffs and the elimination of tenure and feel unprotected…Our dignity as faculty is at stake, the definition of what Antioch is and has been is hanging in the balance.”
At this crucial time of transition we must support what is the mind, heart and soul of Antioch College–the staff and faculty of The NonStop Stop Liberal Arts Institute. More than support them, we must celebrate them!
Make your donation now to NonStop to guarantee the future of a vibrant and prosperous Antioch College! (secure.imodules.com/s/1050/qs1_index.aspx?sid=1050&gid=1&pgid=310&cid=809)
Carpe diem!

Tony Dallas

Antioch Panel Speaks at Wittenberg

“In my mind, Antioch has a soul,” mused Antioch College professor Scott Warren to a small audience gathered at Wittenberg University last Wednesday. Community members Jeanne Kay, Scott Warren, Scott Sanders, and Wittenberg professor and Yellow Springs resident Laurie Askland comprised the panel in order to openly discuss the circumstances regarding the closing of Antioch College.
The panel started off with college archivist Scott Sanders, presenting pieces of Antioch history to illuminate parallels between the college’s current financial situation and those of its past. According to Sanders, the year 1880 saw no graduates and concerned alumni and students met with the college’s Board of Trustees in order to prevent the closure of the college. Sanders also described the events of the summer that led to the announcement of closure as “surprising” and elaborated upon the efforts of friends and alumni of the College to prevent the suspension of operations that is planned for July 1, 2008.

Jeanne Kay, a second-year globalization major at the college, providing a student perspective to an intimate crowd in the Wittenberg auditorium, lamented the wave of “bad press” over the summer, following the announcement of suspension of operations. Kay stated her concerns about limited operations, facilities, and the number of students on campus, but she disputed the sentiment parlayed in newspapers across the country that campus culture has had a negative effect on the retention rate of the college. she pointed to the 100 percent retention rate of the incoming class and the fact that the second-year class has had half of its original students return to campus even after the news of suspension of operations as indicative of the environment of tolerance resplendent on campus.

Scott Warren reminded the audience of the economic implications of the college’s closure to the community of Yellow Springs and the Miami Valley. Laurie Askland, a town representative and professor of Women’s Studies at Wittenberg University described the college as the “heart” of the village. “It became clear to me how much the fabric the community I lived in was linked directly to the college,” she said.

Warren further described the measures currently undertaken by the campus community and Yellow Springs to prevent the suspension and panelists listed their favorite websites for news and background on everything Antioch.

A week after the event, it becomes evident the wave of direct action, generated by alumni and friends of Antioch college since this summer, has found its way to the Wittenberg community. Students that were present at the panel discussion have contacted Wittenberg faculty and facilitators to inquire after ways start campaigns to effective fundraise for Antioch College.

Antioch Internet Digest

This is your one-stop site for all things revival.  Antiochians.org should be your greatest resource for finding the latest banter between Antiochians, networking with alumni across the globe, and keeping up-to-date on all happenings of the Alumni board and their resolution.

Community access for all Antiochians.  Here you can discuss all things Antioch on a community forum, create a blog, and learn the latest.  The possibilities keep growing for this new virtual community. Continue reading Antioch Internet Digest

‘Social Networking Websites’ and Antioch College

With the recent popularity of ‘social networking’ websites such as myspace and facebook it’s inevitable that Antioch College communities, including current students as well as alumni have jumped on these sites in an effort network, communicate and socialize. However, you might not find some of these spots unless you know where to look. This article is not meant to be a complete list but rather a sampling of some of the ones I happen to have stumbled across. There are some that have a more interesting story behind them, like Friendster, while others are fairly self-explanatory. Probably the best thing about all these sites is that, at least as far as I can tell, no one ‘official’ from the college is running these virtual entities and thus some of the comments on these sites can get pretty interesting. Note, for many of these you’ll need to create an account to access them. Continue reading ‘Social Networking Websites’ and Antioch College