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Friday Fora: Putting the Focus on the Theory and Centrality of Teaching

It's no secret that dynamic, effective, life-changing teaching is one of the most frequently overlooked, and difficult to define, elements of higher education.  Nor that the rewards systems in higher education too often ignore the intensity and creativity of what is both pure hard work and a labor of love.  Highly engaged and engaging teaching, which may or may not take place in a classroom, is at the heart of a liberal arts education and will be absolutely essential to the Antioch we are trying to rebuild.  

So, as we go forward in our planning the best curriculum for a revived Antioch College, this series, “Teaching Across Borders,” is an opportunity for the Morgan Fellows, along with the Yellow Springs community and the larger community of alumni, to focus our attention on new thinking about the practice and theory and centrality of teaching.

We have had two events in this series so far, both of which addressed multiculturalism in the academy today.  The first speaker, Professor Pranav Jani, an expert in postcolonial literature, spoke to strategies through which certain popular commercial film texts can bring students to increasingly complex understandings of contemporary racism, orientalism, and colonialism. The second presenter, Professor Chadwick Allen, Co-ordinator of the American Indian Studies Program at Ohio State, discussed the expansion of the new field of Indigenous Studies.  His talk explored indigenous knowledge and art forms both inside and outside of the academy, providing numerous examples of transnational projects and collaborations between indigenous peoples.  

Upcoming events in the series, “Teaching Across Borders” will address innovative campus-community teaching partnerships around local environmental problems.  More friday evenings devoted to higher education and issues in teaching are in the works for the fall.  All of these events are videotaped and available for viewing as podcasts on the Antioch College website under the button labeled “media.”  

Contact Jean Gregorek (jgregorek@antiochcollege.org) for more information or suggestions for future events.