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Perspective is a 27-minute weekly public affairs program hosted by Richard Baker and distributed to radio stations throughout the state. Below are recordings of recent programs.

Send comments, questions or requests for copies of past programs to ksrenews@ksu.edu.

To subscribe to Perspective and have each new episode download to your smartphone or tablet automatically, use any of these services (podcast episodes are released every Monday):

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Program Date

Segment Title
and Description

Listen and Download



THE ROLE OF SHIFTING DEMOGRAPHICS IN THE U.S.– According to the Pew Research Center, the United States is undergoing some major changes. Not only is the country growing in numbers, it is also becoming more diverse, both ethnically and racially. Kim Parker, director of social trends at the Pew Research Center, and Juliana Horowitz , associate  director of social trends at the Center, look at not only the trends, but what they may portend for our country.PER 07-20


POWER, RACE AND HIGHER EDUCATION– For far too long the subject of race has been a thorn in the side of mankind…and even today, it seems little closer to being solved. One of the difficulties surrounding race is that it carries with it privilege and power. And keep in mind, there is only one race…the human race. Kansas State University professor in the College of Education, Kakali Bhattacharya, who earlier this year was honored by Diverse Magazine as one of the 25 influential women in higher education, offers some thoughts on race.PER 07-13


THE FARM BILL– The Senate passed its version of the Farm Bill June 28th. That follows the House effort which passed earlier in the month. The end result is that Congress appears headed for fights over farm subsidies, food stamps, and conservation. Despite appearances, Kansas State University agricultural economist Art Barnaby feels Congress will be forced into getting the next Farm Bill passed…and passed on time.PER 07-06


IS GOVERNMENT BROKEN?– The Electoral College is one of a litany of problems many see confronting a United States government that is floundering. The two main political parties, grassroots institutions and special interest groups, along with the media are also viewed as potential problems which have led to confrontations between conservatives and liberals, legislative gridlock, threats of government shutdowns, and a mistrust of those running the country. John Lawrence, a historian and visiting professor at the University of California's Washington Center, offers his thoughts and insights on today's government.PER 06-29 


THE DILEMMA OF GENDER (Part 2)– Few of us can imagine the stress involved in being a transgender child. Think for a moment about what it is like to be asked again and again, “Are you a boy or a girl?” Or think about what it means to have your deepest sense of self questioned by many of the adults in your life. Ann Travers, associate professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada, explores  that dilemma in the conclusion of a two-part series on what it means to be transgender.PER 06-22


THE DILEMMA OF GENDER (Part 1)– At one time, gender structure was a stable fact of life. Boys were boys and girls were girls. No questions asked. Each sex was raised differently, depending on their gender, and they were expected to live their lives differently, depending on that gender. Now, for the first time, many young people are pushing the boundaries of what is appropriate behavior for females and for males. Some are even asking to be identified without gender at all. Barbara Risman, distinguished professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Illinois-Chicago, says the very meaning of gender is up for grabs. PER 06-15


THE DANGERS OF SUMMER PESTS– The drabness of winter has given way to the green lushness of late spring and summer. It has also given way to the many pests of summer…like fleas, mosquitos, ticks, and mites. According to Kansas State University entomologist Raymond Cloyd, not only are these pests aggravating, they can present some very real dangers. PER 06-08


ROBERT KENNEDY (Part 2)– In the second of a two-part series, author , journalist and Nieman Fellow at Harvard University, Larry Tye, explores some of what drove U.S. Senator Robert Kennedy to evolve from a hard-driving conservative to a fiery liberalPER 06-01


ROBERT KENNEDY (Part 1)– About a year before he was shot and killed, U.S. Senator Robert Kennedy traveled to the Mississippi Delta to confront the face of hunger. During that trip, he saw children so malnourished that most would have thought such a thing was not possible in the United States. In the first of a two-part series on Robert Kennedy, author and journalism instructor at the University of Mississippi, Ellen Meacham, looks at some of the changes he went through…from counsel to Senator Joseph McCarthy to fiery liberal presidential candidate. PER 05-25


PRESERVING LOCAL NEWS– A former media executive and Knight chair in journalism and digital media economics at the University of North Carolina, Penelope Abernathy, says this country faces the growing threat of news deserts – areas that are not served by any kind of news outlet. She discusses the impact that would have on the community, news availability and media literacy.PER 05-18 


THE LEGACY OF DINOSAURS– Countless dinosaur movies have been made over the years. Movies where dinosaurs were roped by cowboys, lived side-by-side with humans, and where dinosaurs lunched on humans. Beyond the movies, there are natural history museums to awe the young and old. But after all that, what is really known about dinosaurs and their place in history? Even though most scientists know quite a bit, Steve Brusatte, a paleontologist at the University of Edinburgh, says the average person is not that knowledgeable.PER 05-11


KANSAS WATER CONCERNS– In early April, over 200 people gathered in Garden City to examine some of the concerns about the Ogallala Aquifer, a source of groundwater that underlies some 112 million acres in parts of eight states, including Kansas. The Ogallala supports around 30 percent of all U.S. crop and livestock production – and that translates to an estimated 35-billion dollars in agricultural products every year. Dan Devlin, director of the Kansas Water Research Institute at Kansas State University, looks at the future of the Ogallala Aquifer and water in general in the state of Kansas.PER 05-04


THE IMPORTANCE OF SCIENCEManhattan recently saw a march for science by a diverse, nonpartisan group that was not only calling for science that upholds the common good, but also for political leaders and policymakers to enact evidence-based policies in the public interest. Kansas State university scientists, Brett DePaola and Chris Sorensen, look at science as a pillar of human freedom and prosperity.     PER 04-27


WHERE IS COMMON CORE?– In a speech earlier this year, the U.S. Secretary of Education called Common Core a disaster. In addition, Secretary Betsy DeVos said, “at the U.S. Department of Education, Common Core is dead.” Despite that proclamation, Nicholas Tampio, associate professor of political science at Fordham University, says Common Core is very much alive, with 24 states reviewing and revising their English and math standards under Common Core.PER 04-20


NAVIGATING DIFFERENCES– Some 15 years ago, Kansas State Research and Extension became part of a national effort to increase its audience base. Nozella Brown, Director of Wyandotte County Extension and Charlotte Shoup Olsen, a family systems specialist with K-State Research and Extension, say the idea was not simply to increase numbers but to learn how to effectively interact with the many ethnic, cultural, racial, and religious groups across the state by navigating differences.PER 04-13 


POVERTY AND INEQUALITY OF GOING TO COLLEGE– For far too long there has been a belief that kids who grow up in poverty or kids who grew up confronting inequality can overcome the obstacles of getting into college if they just work at it…if they simply persevere. But Dr. Linda Nathan, executive director of the Center for Artistry and Scholarship in Boston, says that is a myth…a myth about equality and opportunity!PER 04-06 


DEALING WITH TECHNOLOGY– We are surrounded by computers…at the bank, at work, at home, in our cars, on airplanes, and even on our wrists. So what happens when computers get hacked by thieves or a foreign government? Brian McClendon, former vice president of engineering at Google, takes a look at the technology around us, and whether or not we are keeping it safe.PER 03-30 


SEVERE WEATHER SEASON– Severe weather season is underway in Kansas…which means it’s time to  think about what you’re going to do if and when some kind of severe weather arrives. Chad Omitt, the weather preparedness meteorologist at the Topeka office of the National Weather Service, discusses the upcoming severe weather season and the steps you can take to protect yourself.PER 03-23 


MAKE FOOD GO FURTHER– March is National Nutrition Month, an effort to get Americans to ‘Go Further with Food.’ One of the campaign efforts is reducing food waste. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations reports one-third of the food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted – that’s about 1-point-3 billion tons of food globally. Sandy Procter, assistant professor in the department of Foods, Nutrition, Dietetics and Health at Kansas State University, looks at how this nutrition education effort also aims to just get people to eat better, and in turn, improve their health.PER 03-16


INCLUSION AND DIVERSITY– Inclusion and diversity are buzz words in both industries and higher education across this country. But according to industry expert, Natacha Buchanan, in too many industries and on too many university campuses, we talk a lot about inclusion and diversity – but all we do is talk – when we need to look at what has been done, what is being done, and what remains to be done.PER 03-09


2018 FARM BILL– Work is currently underway in Washington on the 2018 Farm Bill…a measure that touches just about everyone in this country, one way or another. Art Barnaby, professor of Agricultural Economics and Mykel Taylor, associate professor in Agricultural Economics, both at Kansas State University, look at the implications for farmer and non-farmers alike.PER 03-02 


CHILD NUTRITION PROGRAMS– The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service has selected Kansas State University to direct the Center for Food Safety in Child Nutrition Programs. Kevin Roberts, associate professor of hospitality management and Kevin Sauer, associate professor of food, nutrition, dietetics and health, both at Kansas State University, say the research resulting from this partnership will help improve food safety in all of the USDA’s child nutrition programs – which serve billion of meals to children each year.PER 02-23


PROSPERITY IN KANSAS AND THE NATION – A report by Prosperity Now says despite lower unemployment, a booming stock market, and a modest decline in the poverty rate, there is growing evidence that positive economic gains at the national level are not widely shared by those of low and moderate income nationally, or in Kansas. The organization says unemployment in Kansas is currently at its lowest rate in more than a decade. In addition, the income poverty rate decreased slightly in the last year. However, despite those gains, Solana Rice, Prosperity Now's director of state and local policy, says the richest 20 percent of households now earn over four times more than the poorest 20 percent.PER 02-16 


THE CHANGING ROLE OF EXTENSION– The United States Extension Service was established in 1914 by the Smith Lever Act to work with land-grant universities. The idea was to apply research and provide education in agriculture. However, that role has continued to evolve and expand. While the Extension Service still plays a major role in agriculture, Dr. Gregg Hadley, associate director for Extension at Kansas State University, says it has expanded its programming and services to meet the needs of those living in rural, urban and suburban parts of the country.PER 02-09


MAINTAINING OUR DEMOCRACY– The United States, this democracy we live in, is often viewed as being in disarray. Many seem paralyzed and unsure how to react to the problems we face, laying the blame on our democracy and the government it provides. Others seem intent on limiting the power of the ballot box and restricting governmental influence. Frances Moore Lappe co-authored a book about hope and optimism, and the effort to put resources into valuing our democracy.PER 02-02 


HISTORY OF THE WRITTEN WORD– According to Martin Puchner, the Byron and Anita Wien professor of English and Comparative Literature at Harvard University, literature, since it emerged 4,000 years ago, has shaped the lives of most humans on this planet. Literature has molded religion, politics and commerce, and turned our world into a written world. PER 01-26


THE END OF NET NEUTRALITY AND ITS IMPACT– In a December decision, the Federal Communications Commission officially repealed the 2015 net neutrality regulations. The FCC did so by passing the Restoring Internet Freedom declaratory ruling, which opens up potential changes to the way internet service providers deliver service in the United States. Sandy Davidson, curators' professor of communications law at the University of Missouri School of journalism, says those potential changes will have a number of impacts and do not serve the public interest.PER 01-19 


GROWING UP MUSLIM– Have you ever thought of just how hard it is to fit in a teenager…to be cool…to have romantic relationships? Now think about how hard it must be to be an American teenage Muslim boy. John O’Brien, assistant professor of sociology at New York University Abu Dhabi, spent three-and-a-half years of intensive fieldwork in and around a large urban mosque working to figure that out. And what he found was typical Muslim American teenage boys concerned with typical American teenage issues, but these boys were also expected to be good, practicing Muslims.PER 01-12


SEPARATE AND UNEQUAL SCHOOLS– The public school system is perhaps one of the greatest accomplishments made by the United States. However, Noliwe Rooks, director of American Studies at Cornell University, says an integrated education as the path to access equality for all Americans remains, in some ways, as remoted now as it was in the past. On today’s Perspective program a look at the corporate takeover of education and the privatization – and profitability – of separate and unequal schools. PER 01-05


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