Antioch College Leader Reflects On Past Year And Future

Sep 7, 2010

One year ago this past weekend, Antioch University and Antioch College officially became two separate institutions. Next fall, the college plans to welcome students back to campus. As WYSO's Emily McCord reports, the plan is to start out small.

One year ago this past weekend, Antioch University and Antioch College officially became two separate institutions. Next fall, the college plans to welcome students back to campus.

The size of Antioch College's first class will be 25 students. It's a modest beginning, but that's the idea. School officials say they want to make sure they have enough resources to devote to each student. Also, the first class will participate in the development of the college. But the school won't be accredited for at least three years.

Interim President Matthew Derr says, that's why they're sweetening the deal, "One important element of this is that we intend for this first group of students to come to campus, and while they have room and board fees to pay, it will be a tuition free experience for them".

Derr says this past year has been exciting when it comes to financial support from Antioch alumni; they've raised $2.1 million for the annual fund. He says this level of engagement is better than it has been in a long time. That's important, he says, because he hopes that alumni support will allow the college to take a different approach to financing education.

"Families are not able to borrow from their homes in the way they were in the previous economy. The cost of an American independent liberal arts education is extreme. We're trying to imagine a different model", says Derr, "We hope that the alumni and supporters of the college will rally around that concept. Maybe we'll move to a model that tuition is greatly reduced, or a tuition free model.

The college is still finalizing the curriculum for next year's incoming class. Derr says the focus will be on a core group of liberal arts classes. He says a major part of the education will be the co-op program, where Antioch students will apply their studies by working in business, non profits and other organizations locally and globally. Derr says this past year of planning has been rewarding,

"I was walking to work and came into South Hall and as I did, I saw a car slowly creeping around the horseshoe with a mother and a 17 year old daughter in the car looking at the campus, and I thought, wow, this is the next phase. I'm really very excited to see the life of the campus come back," says Derr.

He hopes that will the case a year from now. In the meantime, Derr says the college needs to hire a new president, faculty, and begin the recruitment of students that will shape the next chapter of Antioch College.