- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 13, 2008

DAYTON, Ohio | Former faculty members at Antioch College, which is temporarily closing because of financial problems, plan to teach in coffee shops, bookstores and parks to keep alive the spirit of the private school known for its pioneering academic programs.

Scott Warren, former associate professor of philosophy and political theory at Antioch, said 22 ex-faculty members have formed the Nonstop Liberal Arts Institute in the village of Yellow Springs, where the college is located.

Mr. Warren said the institute will follow the Antioch formula of offering progressive liberal arts courses while encouraging learning for life, humanitarian acts and collective decision-making.

“It’s an educational vision that keeps the DNA of Antioch College alive pending its resurrection,” he said.

While the institute has Antioch’s goals, it doesn’t have its stamp of approval.

Toni Murdock, chancellor of Antioch University, which oversees the college, said Thursday the university has sent letters to students and their parents, telling them the institute is not sanctioned by Antioch.

Ms. Murdock said she applauds the group’s passion, but the institute is not accredited. She fears some students might wrongly assume that courses taken at the institute could be applied toward graduation at other schools.

Mr. Warren said the institute’s brochure and Web site make it clear the institute is not accredited.

“We’re being very up front,” he said. “We have no interest in misleading anybody.”

Mr. Warren said he believes the institute will be accredited by the end of the school year, with accreditation possibly being made retroactive to include the fall semester.

In the meantime, he said, students would get the benefit of the courses and be able to put that experience and faculty references on college applications.

Nancy Crow, president of the Antioch College Alumni Association, said her group supports the institute, seeing it as a way to keep together faculty members who can be used as a teaching nucleus when the college reopens.

Located about 15 miles east of Dayton, Antioch College is known for producing students with a passion for free thinking and social activism. Famous alumni included Coretta Scott King, “Twilight Zone” creator Rod Serling and evolutionary scientist Stephen Jay Gould.

The college is the flagship for Antioch University, which also has campuses in Seattle, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, Calif., and Keene, N.H.

University trustees announced in June 2007 that they planned to close the Ohio college temporarily, citing declining enrollment, heavy dependence on tuition and a small endowment.

Art Zucker, chairman of the university’s board of trustees, said the goal is to reopen a sustainable Antioch College as soon as possible. Last month, the trustees invited alumni to submit a plan to operate the college independently of the university. Trustees have since held informal discussions with them, Mr. Zucker said.

Meanwhile, shutdown of the college began June 30.

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