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Antioch University Santa Barbara will welcome its new president in a ceremony at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History tomorrow at 2 p.m.
Nancy Leffert has 35 years of experience in education and administration and will be inaugurated tomorrow in the Fleischmann Auditorium. Leffert was unanimously selected by the AUSB Board of Trustees.
The inauguration kicks off a month of AUSB events, including a talk from Karen Cator — director of the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Educational Technology — on March 2.
“It’s rewarding to see the growth and change in Antioch after being there as a student myself,” Kristine Schwarz, AUSB alumna and associate director of Institutional Advancement at AUSB, said. “We now also have an unprecedented partnership with … a philanthropic group that buys buildings in order to lease them to nonprofit organizations.”
Schwarz said Leffert will address a plan to relocate the AUSB campus to another Santa Barbara location, as well as expand on the inauguration theme, “Access, engage, collaborate” in her speech tomorrow. Academic and Administrative Projects manager Cynthia Stewart said the philosophy allows Antioch to offer flexibility to its students.
“Engaging and improving the community have a very positive impact,” Stewart said. “Engaging in scholarly discussion and getting more actively involved with our partners and the community are other great ways to engage. Santa Barbara’s got a great community and working with partners in education, such as UCSB, is a way to positively collaborate.”
Graduating business administration major Makaila Thompson said she enjoyed her education at AUSB, but has suffered under structural change.
“[It is] a great school and I’d recommend it to anyone,” Thompson said. “But all of these changes have caused a bit of confusion, at least for me. My major, business administration, has apparently been taken away and I may be graduating with a degree in liberal studies with an emphasis in business.”
Antioch University serves over 4,000 students at five different campuses across the nation and through online courses. The Santa Barbara campus offers, among others, an M.A. in education with an emphasis on social justice to about 400 students.