The Nonstop Open Curriculum

Distinguished by an openness rooted in its experiential and experimental orientation, the Nonstop curriculum adheres to principles of excellence and rigor while exploring new educational frontiers. Our open curriculum is designed to provide flexibility and choice. Varied course structures that allow faculty to teach from their strengths and to student interest are augmented by local villager and alumni contributions. Students, faculty and other Nonstop community members pursue ongoing collaborations and actively engage our self-governance processes toward building a sustainable educational community. We re-envision education as a life-long, public good.

Our educational offerings follow a policy of open enrollment; we welcome anyone to participate on a course-by-course basis. However, our core student body consists of traditional college-age students who enroll full-time after being reviewed and recommended by the Application Review Committee.

Significant aspects of our curriculum are inspired by the interests and needs of the immediate Yellow Springs community and its environment. We are unique in that we operate with the support of Village businesses, schools, churches, arts and environmental organizations, and are developing community partnerships and projects that benefit our students as well as the Village of Yellow Springs. Our educational offerings are taught in a wide variety of local venues: bookstores, coffee shops, libraries, churches, schools, homes, art galleries, parks and the Glen. This unconventional situation creates educational adventures, and with them, the chance for building new relationships between communities.

Rooted in the influential models of education first implemented at Antioch College by Arthur Morgan and Algo Henderson, our curriculum emphasizes the powerful interconnections between classroom learning, co-operative education, and community self-governance. Our offerings help students develop diverse literacies across the liberal arts spectrum, moving beyond the development of skills and competencies into increasingly advanced engagement with contemporary discourses in the arts, science, social sciences, and humanities. Through multiple modes of engagement, we offer opportunities to rigorously and creatively negotiate the challenges of the 21st century’s social landscapes. In this way, students are able to reach beyond conventional learning to plan their own education and to participate fully in intellectual and civic life.

Work remains central to our education vision, as a way both to apply and test knowledge, and as a way for students to engage with and contribute to the world around them. Our co-operative education programming provides traditional-aged students with work experiences that encourage independence and self-discovery. Students, faculty and staff take active roles in community governance, assuming positions of responsibility in community management and formulating policy.

Participation in community self-governance means that students gain direct experience with the processes of democracy and consensus building while establishing a sustainable educational community. Our curriculum regards practice in governance as vital for the cultivation of effective civic leaders and informed citizens of the world.

This unusually broad-based educational approach has been proven to empower students with the knowledge and experience necessary to become “intelligent experimenters informed risk- takers, creative thinkers, and courageous practitioners” (Antioch College Catalog 2002-2005). We believe that Nonstop will carry Antioch’s unique educational model through this period of transition and lay the foundation for an independent Antioch College.


Primary courses are available over morning, afternoon and evening schedules augmented by some that meet only Saturdays. Daytime courses are thematically linked, meet twice a week and most often team-taught. Weekday Evening Individual Courses include semester-long study groups, tutorials, and independent-study options. They provide students with in-depth work in selected topics, themes, or skills and meet on varied schedules.

Each semester is divided midway by the Learning Festival Week followed by a weeklong Fall or Spring break. Additional educational offerings derive from the Nonstop Presents education events series, The Center for Community Leadership and a suite of certificate initiatives on topics including Social Entrepreneurship and Leisure Studies.

Evaluations of Student Learning

Given the transitional nature of the Nonstop enterprise, our educational offerings are not accredited, nor yet certified by Ohio Board of Regents (OBR) to grant degrees. A current priority is resolving the certification and accreditation issues as soon as possible and several initiatives regarding that are in progress.

In order to ensure that our educational offerings retain the excellence and rigor for which the Antioch faculty is recognized, each syllabus articulates specific educational objectives, pedagogical philosophy and method, expectations, and evaluation criteria. We provide on-going evaluation and responsive commentary throughout the semester. Final primary evaluations are narrative, detailing student’s performance, areas of strength and further suggestions for enhancement. Letter-grade equivalencies are available upon request. Since many of our offerings qualify for educational enhancement and professional enrichment, we anticipate offering certificates of completion where applicable.

What Students Say About Narrative Evaluations

“Evaluations are part of why [this education] changes lives.” Benjamin Fasching-Gray

“Narrative evaluations instilled in me the passion to empower myself as a conduit for social change.” Foster Neill ‘07

“Narrative evaluations meant that I had many, many letters of recommendation when it came time to apply to graduate school.” Innisfree Seyman-McKinnon ’96

The content, shape and contact hours of each course along with the assessments of students’ engagement match those of standard college-level crediting. Students compile a sufficiently detailed portfolio of their educational gains and works/performances for each course.

Responses to our inquiries indicate that many highly respected liberal arts colleges would consider crediting well-documented course work accomplished under the guidance of experienced teachers. Our goal is that transferring credits not be necessary and Nonstop students complete their education with us. There are concerted efforts underway to secure both certification and accreditation as soon as possible.