Planned leadership change at Great Books college stirs angst

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Tiny St. John's College offers the most venerable of liberal arts educations: a course of study founded firmly on discussions of the Great Books of western civilization.

These days, though, some say the college's Board of Visitors and Governors has strayed from the college's spirit of inclusive dialogue as it made plans to consolidate leadership. The board proposes naming one president over the college's two campuses in Annapolis, Maryland, and Santa Fe, New Mexico, instead of the current two presidents.

Critics say the plan took shape behind closed doors without sufficient student and faculty input, contrary to St. John's tradition.

Board members say they aim to improve the college's fiscal health by being more efficient, not change its unique curriculum.