Editorials & Commentary Archive

Why have liberal arts colleges become a model for successful undergraduate science education? How does liberal learning better prepare graduates for the workforce of today and twenty years from now?

These are but two of the many questions asked and answered in the Editorials & Commentary archive. College News collects opinion pieces, printed transcripts of noteworthy speeches, smaller versions of occasional papers, and reprinted articles from a number of its member colleges and reprints them here to help provide a more subjective view into the world of liberal arts education. The diversity of voices, topics, and opinions found in these editorials and commentaries speak to the continuing vitality and importance of the residential liberal arts college community and its contributions to higher education and society.


FCC Chief Sets New Standard for Passing the Buck on Indecency

President Harry Truman famously displayed a sign on his desk that read, “The buck stops here.” There surely is no such sign on the desk of Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski.

Originally posted: May 4, 2013

TV News in Rapid Decline

Former FCC Chairman Alfred Sikes gave an address in 1992 in which he claimed television news was too superficial and too focused on visuals, asking the broadcast news community to “rise above the limitations and conventional wisdoms” and “reinvent itself.” Now 20 years later, television remains the primary source of news for most citizens – but for how long?

Originally posted: April 14, 2013

Top Colleges, Please Recruit More Veterans

President Catharine Hill writes today in the Wall Street Journal, “Colleges and universities lately have been sending out their offers of admission to the Class of 2017. Far too few of these offers, especially from selective schools, will be sent to America’s military veterans.”

Originally posted: April 12, 2013

In Defense of 138

It seemed that no sooner had Grinnell College men’s basketball player Jack Taylor swished his final free throw, giving him an NCAA record-breaking 138 points in a Nov. 20 game against Faith Baptist Bible College, than the critics began their barrage against the undersized guard.

Originally posted: April 8, 2013

LA Times Story on NBC Late Night Switch Quotes Prof. Jeff McCall ’76

“Jimmy Fallon may have been crowned the new king of late-night TV this week, but he owes a lot to the man behind the throne: Lorne Michaels,” begins a Los Angeles Times article. Scott Collins writes, “Fans of Saturday Night Live will recognize Michaels, the show’s creator, as the grumpy paterfamilias lurking in the wings […]

Originally posted: April 6, 2013

‘America’s Sputnik Moments’

Ohio Wesleyan University professor and global security expert Sean Kay, Ph.D., says America’s “failure to adjust to repeated shocks to the system” – such as the 9/11 attacks, financial collapse of 2008, and 2011 Arab Spring – has led to “strategic paralysis at a key moment of systemic international change.”

Originally posted: April 5, 2013

TIME cover features alumna rocker

Kristen Ellis-Henderson ’92 and her wife, Sarah Kate Ellis-Henderson, appear on the April 8 cover of TIME, with a callout that reads, “Gay Marriage Already Won,” the magazine’s response to the Supreme Court hearings happening this week on Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

Originally posted: March 31, 2013

‘Major’ TV Networks on Verge of Fading to Black

Network broadcast television has been in a downward spiral for years, but the recent disastrous ratings from the sweeps period had to shock even the most hopeful executives of the big four networks. Networks ratings dropped 23 percent compared to a year ago, and all four broadcast networks experienced losses. Viewers are ditching ABC, NBC, […]

Originally posted: March 30, 2013

“Welcome home. Look around.”

After a lifetime of looking directly in front of me, three months in Tanzania taught me to look around.

Originally posted: March 27, 2013

LA Times Story on Future of ‘Tonight Show’ Cites Prof. Jeff McCall ’76

“NBC‘s Tonight Show may soon be switching hosts — and coasts,” reports the Los Angeles Times this morning. “The long-struggling network is finalizing plans to replace Jay Leno with Jimmy Fallon in 2014, people close to the situation said Wednesday. And in a blow for Southern California, the strategy also calls for NBC to move […]

Originally posted: March 21, 2013

Reforming entitlement programs

Recently appointed to the National Academy of Social Insurances, Provost Mick Smyer discusses some of the problems with the country’s major entitlement programs, and some potential solutions.

Originally posted: March 19, 2013

Salman Khan’s Educational Genius

That’s where the genius of Salman Khan, of the Khan Academy, comes in. He is striving to level the playing field, in particular, in math and sciences such as biology, chemistry and physics. One of his foundational strategies is offering accessible videos, available through YouTube, that hold students’ attention.

Originally posted: March 18, 2013

What to ask – and what not to ask – on the campus tour

In New York Times education blog, The Choice, Dean Martha Merrill ’84 shares tips that help prospective students make the most of campus tours.

Originally posted: March 13, 2013

Effects of Media Violence Can’t Be Denied

The media industry wants to “make a positive contribution to the national conversation on violent behavior.” So, groups such as the National Association of Broadcasters and the Motion Picture Association of America are banding together for an “awareness” campaign to help parents manage the media consumption of kids. These benevolent characters are also developing “public […]

Originally posted: March 8, 2013

Should We Plug the Brain Drain?

If rigid limits to immigration are in tension with individual freedom, why not compensate underdeveloped countries for depriving them of their human capital?

Originally posted: February 23, 2013