Making Ready the First C
Sara Black, assistant professor of visual art; David Kammler, associate professor of chemistry; and Geneva Gano, assistant professor of literature.
Eleven weeks, if truth be told, is not a long time, but it was all the time Antioch College’s new tenure-track faculty had to prepare for the arrival of the first class, Antioch’s first in four years.
Eleven weeks to get familiar with Antioch’s history, with its traditions, with the curriculum that they were hired to deliver. Eleven weeks to get to know each other and to establish the systems by which they would make decisions going forward.
Kristen Adler, assistant professor of anthropology.
Hassan Rahmanian, vice president for academic affairs, had been a tenured professor at the College prior to closure. He believed Antioch complex enough and unique enough to require an intense schedule of meetings, workshops, and discussions. The regimen, in the first two weeks, included meetings every day, five days a week.
“I want them to understand the history of the institution,” he said, “and to have a deeper understanding of why we’ve structured our programs as we have—and how what we do every day supports the broader mission of the institution.”
There were meetings with professors emeriti, tours of Glen Helen, sessions with community partners and Community Life Dean Louise Smith, crash courses in co-op and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) with Susan Eklund-Leen, dean and professor of cooperative education. And, of course, there was the matter of the press and the photographs, the longest shoot—with photographer Finlay Mackay for the New York Times Magazine—taking place on the lawn facing Corry Street with the heat index having risen to 96 degrees by 2:30 p.m.
Still, there were practical things to attend. The fall schedule needed to be nailed down. And these new Antioch professors needed to organize the Global Seminars, begin the institutional self-study for the application for candidacy toward accreditation, and write syllabi for their courses.
Anneris Coria-Navia, assistant professor of Spanish language.
Anneris Coria-Navia, assistant professor of Spanish language, had her own course to prepare, but was also charged with arranging for the instruction of French and Japanese, languages that students told her they were interested in studying.
Coria-Navia had taught Spanish and music at the high school and college levels. Most recently she’d taught Spanish at Wright State University and the Kettering College. She came to Antioch College, she said, because she was attracted to the way Antioch College connects second-language acquisition to the cooperative education program.
“When students have to use the language two and a half years into their studies in the work assignments, they see the real tangible objective for the language learning,” she said. The small classes and individualized language instruction seem “the most effective ways to teach language,” she said.
Geneva Gano, assistant professor of literature, said she finds the challenge of being among Antioch’s first faculty since independence thrilling. Because there are just six members of faculty, courses and curriculum are developed broadly. Syllabi are workshopped across disciplines. “You have to think about courses differently here,” Gano, who teaches the foundation course Literature and Science this fall, said. “Your courses need to have broader appeal than if you were writing a literature course in an English department.”
Al Denman, professor emeritus of philosophy, and Lewis Trelawny-Cassity, assistant professor of philosophy.
On campus and in the village, anticipation for the fall arrival of students was high. Sara Black, assistant professor of visual art, noted the change on the marquee at the Little Art Theatre. The sign reads: “Welcome Antioch Students.”
“It’s interesting how the shift in the physical environment always lends some symbolic significance to the start of a new academic year,” Black said. “As the air gets drier and cooler and the trees show signs of change, I always get a great sense of anticipation for new beginnings. This year at Antioch, it’s even greater. With the re-opening of the College and all of the heart and energy that has gone into this transition, this influx of students—and such a special group of students—means a great deal in the history of this institution. I can’t wait to meet them!”
Sustainability and Bees
The College hosted nationally renowned biodynamic gardener, beekeeper, and educator Gunther Hauk on August 30-31 for two days of events as part of its new sustainability initiative. Hauk joined the public for conversation following the screening of Queen of the Sun at Little Art Theatre and delivered a public lecture on beekeeping and issues related to sustainability.
Three new administrators joined the College’s Senior Leadership Team that reports directly to President Mark Roosevelt.
Cezar O. Mesquita, formerly at The College of Wooster, joined Antioch’s campus community in August as the dean of admission and financial aid.
Louise Smith ’77, former Antioch College professor of theater and a licensed clinical therapist, now serves as the dean of community life.
Scott Frasure is the College’s new vice president for finance/chief financial officer. Frasure will assume financial duties from Tom Brookey, who will continue as Antioch College’s chief operations officer.
The essay “Violence on the Home Front in Robinson Jeffer’s ‘Tamar’” by Geneva M. Gano, assistant professor of literature, appears in the recently published anthology Phantom Past, Indigenous Presence: Native Ghosts in North American Culture & History (U. of Nebraska Press), edited by anthropologist Colleen E. Boyd of Ball State University and historian Coll Thrush of the University of British Columbia.
Additionally, Gano and Charles C. Eldredge, who touched on Rex Slinkard’s work in his influential exhibition “American Imagination and Symbolist Painting” (1980), contributed essays to the catalog for the exhibition “The Legend of Rex Slinkard” at The Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University.
Lewis M. Trelawny-Cassity
Lewis M. Trelawny-Cassity, assistant professor of philosophy, will be organizing a panel at the Annual Meeting of the Classical Association of the Atlantic States titled, “Approaching Magnesia: Politics, Virtue, and the Soul in Plato’s Laws.” Trelawny-Cassity will discuss “Restoring Ploutos’ Sight through Shame: On the role of aidōs and timēmata in Magnesia.” At the annual conference of the Society for Ancient Greek Philosophy in October, Trelawny-Cassity will present his research on Plato’s Laws in the panel “Money in Plato and Aristotle.” In his current research, Trelawny-Cassity examines democratic and oligarchic tensions in classical Athens in order to reconcile Plato’s use of Solonic property classifications with his disparagement of wealth accumulation.
Sara Black, assistant professor of visual art, will present her work in two exhibitions. “The Perpetual Motion of a Still Life” at Ryerson Woods Conservation Area in Deerfield, Illinois, is an evolving performance installation that considers the exacting and extravagant beauty of landscape and still life imagery as held in a precarious juxtaposition with the fleeting, indeterminate, and transformative deep ecology of the Ryerson Woods. Black will also co-curate an exhibition of photographs, drawings, and paintings that further consider the historical role of still-life and landscape painting as an attempt to describe truth through imagery while delicately revealing a much richer world of fragmentation, transformation, and decay. An artists reception is scheduled for October 23 between 1:00-3:00 p.m.
Additionally, Black will participate in the experimental work “Two Histories of the World,” an exhibition in multiple phases unfolding a year apart at two contrasting locations. This October, the exhibition takes shape at William H. Cooper Warehouse in West Humboldt Park, Chicago. The artists are creating new works in response to the context and a vast stockpile of second-hand materials at the site. A second version, built around memories of the first show, will be presented at the Hyde Park Art Center in September 2012. The project is curated by Karsten Lund and also features artists Mara Baker, Laura Davis, and Mike Schuh.