This month we feature Antioch University Santa Barbara graduate Sharon Woodlief (M.A. Class of 2005) in our spotlight on alumni.
Sharon Woodlief's interest in lifelong learning began in her hometown of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. After moving to Santa Barbara to pursue a graduate study program in Political Science she found herself drawn to Psychology.
Sharon researched graduate programs that could provide a course of study that was rigorous yet consistent with her personal philosophy of Social Justice and Experiential Learning. Once she found Antioch University Santa Barbara, Sharon knew she would be on the right course both academically and personally (an added bonus was the University was located around the corner from where she lived downtown).
"My classes at Antioch consisted of an array of diverse students, and the class environments were open to allowing all of those hungry and thoughtful scholars to think and challenge one another as well as being encouraged to challenge the brilliant faculty. I felt my knowledge base grow academically because the faculty was prepared to teach with skill and competence. Moreover, I felt my sense of intellect and self-confidence intensify, as I applied theories and ideas not only in my school work but in my community, and even with my family and friends."
"There is so much that I learned at Antioch that I still find myself routinely recalling themes and lessons, and in all manner of circumstances in my life. That is what education at Antioch is: taking what is learned in the classroom and applying what is learned throughout one’s life."
USA Today has named Antioch University one of the “Top 20 Colleges Most Committed to Community Service,” the second such major honor the college has received this year.
“Civic engagement is a key component of our educational values and deeply-held philosophy,” said Dr. Leffert. “We teach our students the importance of service learning in the classroom and the community. Being recognized as an educational institution for our service commitment is especially meaningful to us.”
Antioch University Santa Barbara is proud to host Karen Cator, the Obama Administration's Director of Educational Technology, US Department of Education. Cator's address to the Santa Barbara community is titled Transforming American Education: Learning Powered by Technology, and the event was held on Wednesday, March 2, 6:00 – 7:30 pm, at the Canary Hotel.
Karen Cator has been instrumental in shaping the Obama administration's vision of 21st century opportunities for students using technology to transform teaching and learning. She has been a leading voice at the intersection of education policy and research, emerging technologies, and the reality faced by teachers, students and administrators. Prior to joining the Department of Education, Ms. Cator directed Apple's leadership and advocacy efforts in education. She has been a leading voice at the intersection of education policy and research, emerging technologies, and the reality faced by teachers, students and administrators.
KEYT "Key News" Channel 3 was on the scene to cover the event – Here is the News Story on Karen Cator's visit to Santa Barbara.
Below is a video from the evenings presentation.
The event is a continuation of AUSB’s community collaboration surrounding the presidential inauguration of Dr. Nancy Leffert.
AUSB is proud to announce President Nancy Leffert was inaugurated on February 26, 2011. Watch the inauguration ceremony to hear Dr. Leffert's vision for a new era at AUSB and integral role in the Santa Barbara community.
Dr. Leffert’s inaugural comes at a time of dramatic change for AUSB. As resources for public education continue to decline, the 34-year old institution is moving aggressively to strengthen its curriculum and faculty, to revitalize its governance and leadership and to upgrade its physical facilities to better serve the rapidly changing needs of its students and the community.
The formal academic installation of Dr. Leffert is the first in a month-long series of public events hosted by AUSB that will highlight the theme of her inaugural – “access, engage, and collaborate.”
"Antioch has an important role to play in providing access to educational dreams. Students tell us they want and need flexibility," said Dr. Leffert in her inaugural address. "I am determined to ensure that motivated and qualified students have increased access to that transformative education experience."
Dr. Leffert had been Provost and Chief Executive Officer of AUSB for only three months when was asked to step into the role of Chief Executif Officer in 2009. She quickly met the challenge of her new role, and the Board of Trustees voted unanimously to appoint her president as of July 2010.
Prior to joining AUSB as its top administrator, President Leffert was the Associate Dean for Student Services and Program Evaluation in the School of Psychology at Fielding Graduate University in Santa Barbara. She is a nationally-known scholar of adolescent development, known particularly for her work delineating factors that contribute to the positive development of young people. One aspect of this work was the creation of the Developmental Assets framework, which is currently used across the country in over 500 communities as a tool to help mobilize around raising healthy children and adolescents. In addition to her lengthy list of published books and scientific articles, President Leffert has authored many reports and technical manuals, and has frequently been invited to give scholarly and community presentations.
“Dr. Leffert was unanimously selected by the Antioch University Santa Barbara Board of Trustees to become the new President,” said Victoria Riskin, chair of the AUSB Board of Trustees, noting the new president’s 35 years of experience in research, social service and higher education administration. The Trustees cited her impressive academic background, dynamic energy and passionate commitment to the growth of our campus in pledging their full and enthusiastic support.”
READ: Noozhawk.com published Dr. Leffert's op-ed piece titled "A Vision for Antioch University Santa Barbara."
Many thanks to the Santa Barbara Independent and Journalist Avery Hardy for her piece on AUSB's Inauguration titled "Springtime at Antioch" – University Elects Nancy Leffert as New President to Usher in a New Era.
Local News coverage of the Inauguration and colorful photos of the event were featured on Noozhawk.com in an article by contributing writer, Sonia Fernandez titled "Nancy Leffert Puts Own Touch on Inauguration as Antioch University's New President"
WATCH: Hosts Cathy Murillo and David Pritchett of the "Off-Leash Public Affairs" Program on Cable TV 17 & 21: The Santa Barbara Channels, documented the AUSB Inauguration Event at the Museum of Natural History with video footage and an interview with Dr. Nancy Leffert.
Here is the link to the full podcast: http://www.kcsb.org/news/kcsb-community-news-march-1-2011
Dr. Nancy Leffert was interviewed on the Mark Macintire, “Minds That Matter” Radio Program. She explains her vision for Antioch Santa Barbara's future and her philosophy of education.
To hear the interview click on the link: