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Antioch University, AUM changes

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2011 was a year of growth for both Antioch University Midwest and Antioch University. The end of year brought the announcement that AU Chancellor Toni Murdock would be retiring in June after six years at the head of the university.

Moves, changes

In March, university leaders announced an impending move for the university. After considering the option of leaving Yellow Springs, AU officials decided to stay in the village “for now,” according to Chancellor Murdock. But because the university administrators needed more space, they announced a move from current offices in the Kettering Building to unused space at Antioch University Midwest. As well as gaining space, the move would benefit the university by putting leaders in closer contact with the Midwest staff and students, Murdock said.

The changes also included a move for WYSO Public Radio, currently housed in the Fels Building across from the Antioch College campus. Due to the station’s need for more space, leaders announced it would move into 15,000 square feet on the first floor of the Kettering Building, including the vacated former offices of university officials. The station move would include revamping current studio space and would cost about $900,000.

However, by the end of the year the moves had not yet taken place, and some plans had changed. Because the area available in the AU Midwest building turned out to be insufficient for its needs, the university announced that it will instead move in early 2012 into the former Creative Memories building, across the street from Midwest. The space is part of the area that was made available this year when Creative Memories was offered a $30,000 loan from Village Council to subdivide its large, open office area in order to meet the needs of the local business e-Health Data Solutions. After the administrative offices move to Creative Memories, the WYSO move is scheduled to take place as originally planned.

In another administrative change, the university in the spring announced the hiring of Pari Sabety of Columbus as its new chief financial officer. Sabety, the former CFO for Ohio Governor Ted Strickland, replaces Tom Faecke, who was retiring and moving to Minnesota.

New programs

In the spring AU Midwest announced the launch of two new undergraduate programs and the revamping of a current program. Beginning in the fall of 2011, the school would offer undergraduate degrees in sustainability and in creative writing. Also, the masters in conflict resolution program has been revamped in recent years, according to its director, Richard McGuigan, who said that program’s number has tripled.

In July Midwest held its 2011 graduation, offering bachelors in arts degrees to about 60 undergraduates, masters in arts to 46 students and masters in education degrees to about 160 adults.

In August Antioch University held the graduation ceremony for 20 adults in its PhD program in leadership and change, in the AU Midwest auditorium.

Midwest’s program in Healthcare Consumer Advocacy in August sponsored a forum for the purpose of strengthening collaborations between area health care workers.

In September, the new undergraduate program in sustainability, led by Dr. Joseph Cronin, held an organizational meeting for community organizers interested in preventing the controversial gas drilling technique of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. Some area farmers had been approached earlier in the year with offers of cash for the chance to drill for gas on their land.

In November the school graduated its first 10 students from the Healthcare Consumer Advocacy program.

Murdock retires

In September the university found itself in the public eye nationally when 13 out 18 members of the Antioch University Los Angeles board resigned, citing recent changes in university bylaws that board members alleged stripped them of their powers. According to Murdock, the bylaw changes were not significant.

In November Chancellor Murdock announced she would be retiring in June, after 40 years in education and six as head of Antioch University. Murdock had presided over significant changes at the school, including the decision to close Antioch College in 2007, and the transfer of the college to its alumni board in 2009. During her tenure the university adopted a new governance system, introducing regional boards for each campus, in addition to the overarching university board of governors. In an interview with the News, Murdock said that the university had grown during her tenure and, partly due to divesting itself of the college, was in stronger shape financially.


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