In 1964, Antioch College—pioneered one hundred and twelve years earlier by Horace Mann in Yellow Springs, Ohio—stretched its educational reach beyond undergraduate instruction and launched a new graduate school charged with a unique mission. The school, dubbed Antioch-Putney, would not just simply educate students, it would also put that education into action for the betterment of the community by making hands-on, “real world” application of its teaching a part of its degree programs.
That first class of roughly two dozen students, all pursuing master’s degrees in education, were sent to schools throughout the region not only to gain experience in the practice of teaching but also to provide instruction to underserved, rural communities.
Today AUNE is flourishing near the banks of the Ashuelot River in a remodeled furniture factory in Keene, New Hampshire and is better known as Antioch University New England, a thriving institution of 1,000 students that contributes roughly $30 million a year to the local and regional economy.
Students in all thirteen master’s degree programs and three doctoral programs offered at AUNE complete as many as 600 hours of practical experience related to their fields. Examples of this work range from students in the Environmental Studies program helping local towns protect drinking water supplies to psychologists in training offering low-cost counseling services to all who seek them. This allows AUNE students to make a difference while they are in school.
Antioch University New England’s community service doesn’t stop with its students. The institution, itself, has also pledged resources and its considerable brain trust to enhancing civic institutions and participation both in the Monadnock Region and across the globe. Perhaps the most concrete example of that commitment is the Antioch New England Institute (ANEI), which was launched eleven years ago to encourage greater community engagement in such areas as local government, education, and environmental protection.
Much has changed since the early days but Antioch University New England’s vision remains unchanged. In 2009, Antioch University transferred ownership of Antioch College of Ohio, allowing it to become independent of Antioch University, yet founded upon a shared history.
Today, Antioch University is a five-campus university located in four states. Each campus has its own distinct academic programs, community life, and regional or national identity. Antioch University is founded on principles of rigorous liberal arts education, innovative experiential learning, and socially engaged citizenship.