Communication from the Chancellor
Dear Members of Antioch University’s Faculty and Staff:
We are moving into uncharted waters as an institution, a country, and a planet because of the risks of the COVID-19 virus. My paramount concern is the health and safety of our students, faculty, staff, and the communities we serve. We all have a social responsibility to not only protect ourselves but to also protect others around us, many of whom may be much more vulnerable.
Therefore, we have been monitoring the situation carefully and have reviewed the recommendations from the Center for Disease Control and other state and regional health agencies. We also have conferred with the leaders of other universities struggling with the same problem.
Based on these discussions and my own assessment of the unpredictability of this evolving situation, I have made the difficult decision to move to remote learning modalities for all courses for this term effective immediately. This decision applies to all campuses and programs of the University. This shift to remote learning is temporary, but will likely continue until April 30, 2020. Our leadership team will be continuously monitoring the situation to determine any possible future change of course.
Antioch faculty and staff have been hard at work designing and creating the best possible learning experiences under these circumstances. In fact, we have extensive experience across the university in providing excellent teaching and learning environments remotely through online and low-residency modalities, as well as with our on-site courses and programs. One example is this past week’s almost-immediate shift to Sakai and Zoom at our Seattle campus. Other examples are the creative ways in which Antioch University Santa Barbara quickly shifted to remote learning in 2018 when faced with the twin crises of fires and mudslides that prohibited students and employees from getting to campus. We also have a longstanding history with at-a-distance, low-residency graduate programs, such as Antioch LA’s MFA or the University’s PhD in Leadership & Change. All of these efforts have retained the personalized and mission-driven Antioch pedagogy for which we are known. I know we can meet this current challenge.
Campus facilities will be open during Spring term. University staff members will continue to provide full academic and student services, although many may be working remotely from home. Only courses and classroom gatherings are fully shifting to remote. While we may be doing things a bit differently in this unusual time, we will do all we can to continue to provide the highest quality service and support. We are committed to ensuring that all the university operations needed by students and faculty to continue their teaching and learning is uninterrupted. We will also be increasing IT and Academic Technology support to ensure rapid response to questions from students and faculty as we shift modalities.
Given the regional variations of our university campuses, the different start and stop dates of academic terms, and other germane local characteristics, the campus provosts will be the primary source of local information. Following this letter, each campus/unit provost will be communicating directly with you to provide more detailed information specific to that locale or program. If you have any questions, please contact your campus provost (see below). For those of you not engaged on a campus, please contact your appropriate senior supervisor. For non-campus specific questions or thoughts, please feel free to email the University’s Crisis Management Team ([email protected]).
I am so proud of how Antioch faculty, staff, and students have stood together through these and other challenging times. We are a resilient university. I know this is a lot of change and that you are all experiencing your unique levels of anxiety about your own well-being, and the impact of this public health crisis, but maintaining a certain degree of normalcy is important. We are committed to ensuring that you are all able to stay on track with your educational goals in what has become our new reality of social distancing.
I am confident we will continue to demonstrate our ability to provide a distinctive and progressive education with personalized teaching and learning. Our incredible faculty and staff are committed to serving you in your quest to advance justice locally, nationally, and across the globe. We care about you. Be well!
William R. Groves, JD
Ben Pryor, PhD
Laurien Alexandre, PhD
Graduate School of Leadership & Change
Mark Hower, PhD
AU Los Angeles
Shawn Fitzgerald, PhD
AU New England
Barbara Lipinski, JD, PhD
AU Santa Barbara
Terry Ratcliff, EdD
The 22nd President/Chancellor of Antioch University, Groves has served as Chancellor since 2016 and has focused on three priorities; to reclaim and advance its reputation as an innovator in higher education; to grow programmatically and geographically in ways that will allow Antioch to reach its full potential to advance social, economic, and environmental justice; and to advance and promote the University’s 170 year-long history and heritage around social justice and democracy building.