April 24, 2003
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Antioch names new dean

This week Antioch College President Joan Straumanis announced that, beginning this summer, Dr. Richard T. Jurasek will become the college’s new vice president and dean of faculty.

“I’m very pleased,” said Straumanis. “He brings with him a wealth of experience at a college similar enough to Antioch that we can consider him a pro. He also brings a judicious and patient personality.”

Straumanis also expressed appreciation for the search committee, led by faculty member Jill Yaeger and composed of students, faculty and staff.

“They worked hard, were extremely conscientious and came up with a wonderful dean,” said Straumanis.

“Jurasek” is pronounced with the emphasis on the first syllable, said Straumanis, “but he’s happy for us to call him ‘Rick.’ ”

Currently, Jurasek, 56, serves as dean at Augustana College in Rock Island, Ill., a position he’s held for five years. Previously, he served 22 years on the faculty at Earlham College, where he taught German language and literature and served as associate dean. While at Augustana, Jurasek also taught classes in film studies.

Leaving the job is current Dean of Faculty Hassan Nejad, who has held the post the last several years. A longtime college faculty member who teaches political science and international relations, Nejad has wanted for several years to return to full-time teaching, Straumanis said. After taking next year off on sabbatical, he will return to the department of social and global studies.

Jurasek, in a telephone interview, stated that he’s eager to begin.

“Out of the 600 liberal arts colleges in the country, maybe 100 are really strong and distinctive and a smaller set of only two or three dozen are truly historically unique,” he said. “Antioch has always been in my imagination one of those historically strong, unique institutions.”

Familiar with Antioch for more than 25 years, Jurasek was especially attracted to its tradition of co-op learning.

“For more than 50 years, Antioch has been defining quality experiential learning, both domestic off-campus and overseas,” said Jurasek, who listed experiential learning as one of his professional specialities.

His greatest challenge, Jurasek believes, will be doing his part to help increase student enrollment by strengthening the college’s academic program. “The college already has a good program,” he said. “We need to make sure the quality continues and that we get the good word out.”

A native of the Cleveland area, Jurasek received his bachelor’s degree from Ohio University and his master’s and doctorate from Ohio State. He has also studied at the Universities of Heidelberg and Leipzig in Germany, and Vienna in Austria. According to Straumanis, he has published numerous textbooks, articles and presentations, in the areas of German studies, film studies and educational innovation.

Jurasek will officially begin his duties on August 18. He and his wife, Barbara, who teaches German at Earlham College, plan to live in Yellow Springs and are currently house-hunting. The couple has a daughter, who will be leaving for college this fall.

—Diane Chiddister