The End of College?

I found this interview with author Kevin Carey about "The End of College" to be very much worthwhile. He talks about shifting understandings of the value of higher education, the ways in which college replicates privilege, why college is so expensive, and what college might look like in a few decades.

Carey's main prediction is that a handful of very expensive and elite schools will survive in the traditional model while the rest of higher education shifts to online tools and offline experiences that aren't concentrated in a specific location.

Some sort of major shift seems inevitable. As I watch my own alma mater Earlham College wrestle with increasing costs against the backdrop of a highly competitive admissions landscape, I have to wonder if I would spend the money to send my own children to a place like it.

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Interview with author David Ebenbach

davidebenbachOne of the things I appreciate most about living near a small, excellent liberal arts college is that it brings amazing people with amazing talents into my community, even if for just a short while. Sometimes I only get to encounter them for a single lecture, presentation or performance, but other times I'm fortunate to make deeper connections that continue on.

I'm glad that when author David Ebenbach was teaching at Earlham College a few years ago, there were opportunities to become friends with him and his family, and to start to get a sense of his love of (and gift for) the craft of writing. David now teaches at Georgetown University and he has published a number of books including Into the Wilderness, a collection of short fiction, and The Artists Torah, a guide to the creative process. David's written many different stories, poems and essays that appear in print and online.

As someone who enjoys good writing, aspires to do more writing myself, and who follows some of the "behind the scenes" in the world of authors and publishing, I was excited for the opportunity to interview David. We got to talk about his experiences as a writer, his take on modern publishing, and his own creative process: Continue reading "Interview with author David Ebenbach"

Always and never: America's nuclear weapons

There are lots of things to be worried about. War, climate change, plaque buildup, unsanitized user inputs. But somewhere near the top of your list should probably be the thousands of nuclear weapons around the world that are one miscommunication or faulty electronics part away from unexpectedly killing many, many people.

I don't usually go looking for such perturbations, I promise, but when I happened upon this recent NPR interview with Eric Schlosser, author of Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety, I was captivated:

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Letting the land teach me who I am

Today I was honored to have two different speaking/interviewing events at Earlham College, both about my involvement in community building in Richmond.  In preparing, I returned to an interview that Vine Deloria, Jr. did with The Sun a while back, and was reminded how useful and meaningful his words have been to me in the last decade.

I thought I'd share the section of the interview that affected me the most:

Q: How does being in one place for a long time teach you who you are?
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NewsLink Indiana interview on Hoagy Carmichael mural

Hoagy Mural in a different lightWhen you hang around with Jim Hair, you sometimes find yourself thrust into the middle of interesting artistic and cultural experiences you hadn't planned on. That happened today, when he suggested I be an interview subject in a news segment produced by NewsLink Indiana out of Muncie about the forthcoming party to celebrate the new Hoagy Carmichael mural that's gone up in downtown Richmond. And so I was, and you can see the resulting video and news story on the NewsLink Indiana website. The piece is apparently just a promo for a longer news piece they'll produce on Saturday, so my sound bite is notably short and unsubstantial. But at least they didn't include the part where the interviewer cleverly asked me how much I know about Hoagy Carmichael, and I had very little to say in response (I think she was on to me), but that also means they left out my brilliant musings on the harm of homogenous community landscapes and the importance of creating vibrant destinations with this kind of cultural and artistic work. Sigh.

You can view other coverage of the mural: Palladium-Item article, Flickr photos, YouTube videos, and so on. Congratulations to all of the people who worked hard to make the mural happen, and certainly to Jim for bringing everyone to the table, er, canvas.