A change at the top at Antioch University Midwest

Ellen Hall welcomes new president Dr. Karen Schuster Webb  

Dr. Karen Schuster Webb and Dr. Ellen Hall

Dr. Karen Schuster Webb and Dr. Ellen Wood Hall

“It’s been the hardest job I’ve ever had … But it’s also been the best job I’ve ever had and that’s a real tribute to everybody here,” said Ellen Wood Hall, Antioch University Midwest’s outgoing interim president.

She has moved on to retirement after two whirlwind years during which she served AUM as vice president of academic affairs and briefly as provost before accepting the position of interim president. President Karen Schuster Webb took over the helm in January.

Hall holds a Ph.D. in French literature from Bryn Mawr College and has served as both faculty and administrator in various roles for 38 years, including Westminster College, Agnes Scott College, and Wells College. She believes her greatest accomplishment at Antioch Midwest is a stable beginning foundation.

“The whole idea was to get people to try to work together more and to get more academic programs and new programs,” she said. “It’s been challenging because of all the changes (in the Antioch system). But with everyone working together we’ve made a great start.”

She pointed to the Antioch Midwest accreditation process from the Higher Learning Commission, which the University recently received. She added that we expect soon to receive approval for the accreditation of the School of Education by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education.

“I’ve been very involved in the accreditation process. Without it, you have no financial aid and you can’t get government grants. You want to be in the company of accredited institutions,” she said.

Hall believes that with the help of staff and faculty, the institution under her watch has “pulled it together,” particularly with regard to more collaboration between the faculty of different programs.

“I see more cooperation between faculty than before. There was a goal to add new faculty and that’s a good thing.”

Four new faculty members have been hired under Hall’s leadership: Mary Ann Short, Core Faculty, Chair, and Undergraduate Studies, Management and Human Service Administration, Judith Monseur, Clinical Faculty, Director of Field Experience, School of Education, Frank McGoron, Core Faculty, School of Education, and Sarah Ross, Teaching Faculty, Chair, and IMA, Conflict Analysis & Engagement, Management & Leading Change.

“My big issue was stability. It’s been a challenge. But Karen Webb has lots of great ideas. She is a terrific person.”

Webb heartily agrees with Hall about the need for cooperation.

“I want this to be a team approach. There are so many people here who are so competent and so committed. I’ve never been anywhere before where I’ve seen the commitment I see here – at all levels. It was one of the first things that impressed me,” said Webb.

She describes “the vision” for AUM as “becoming the destination for those who want to change their lives; to become a change agent in the global economy of the 21st century.”

The mission, as Webb sees it, involves providing that life-changing process for adult learners by “giving value for the process of learning: hands-on, holistic.” Antioch has been a pioneer since its inception in fostering these goals, she said.

She feels AUM is more than capable of maintaining and furthering this goal for many reasons, not the least of which is a commitment to its students.

“We believe in our students. We feel we are learning from our students. They have helped us to shape our progress. We want to provide access to the campus and outreach to the community; to continue to be a good community partner. We hope to become an even better community partner,” she said.

Webb would like to see the campus at 900 Dayton Street become a hub for community use when classes are not scheduled. Because classes are designed for working adults, the campus has space available during the day and she would love to see community organizations have access and “fill this building up.”

“In November we had five local precincts voting here and it was great to see that going on in the building,” she added.

Webb served in academic leadership roles at Southern University and A&M College, the University of Kentucky, Howard University, George Washington University, Indiana University, and Coppin State University. She recently worked for Alliant International University as both a professor and as founding dean of the school of education, and most recently, as associate provost for community engagement. She has a Ph.D. in applied linguistics, a Masters in education and urban and overseas English and a bachelor’s in Spanish.

She is widely published in urban education and teaching, bilingual education, and speaking and writing. Webb also is interested in literacy and the education of non-English speaking learners and serves on several boards of organizations that advance literacy and work with underserved populations.

About Antioch University Midwest: Antioch University Midwest is one of the five campuses of Antioch University, an institution proud of serving adult learners and their specific needs for twenty five years. Antioch University is a not for profit 501c3 multi-campus university of more than 4,000 students who study at the Antioch University Midwest campus in Yellow Springs, OH, and at campuses in Seattle, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, and Keene, New Hampshire, online and around the world!

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Christopher M. Williams
chris@cooksonstrategies.com
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