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Perspective was a 27-minute weekly public affairs program hosted by Richard Baker and distributed to radio stations throughout the state. Below are the final episodes of the program.

Richard Baker retired from Kansas State University at the end of 2018 after producing Perspective for more than four decades. To learn more about him and his work, see this Kansas Profile story and listen to him look back as his career on an episode of The Extension Files podcast.

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

To subscribe to Perspective and have episodes download to your smartphone or tablet automatically, use any of these services:

iTunes  |  Google Play  |  Stitcher  |  TuneIn





Program Date

Segment Title
and Description

Listen and Download



THE HAVES AND HAVES-NOT DIVIDE– When we think of philanthropy, we tend to think of a desire to promote the welfare of others, of benevolence, generosity, social conscience, charity, and brotherly love, all promoted by the generous donation of money to good causes. However, Edgar Villanueva, vice president of Programs and Advocacy at the Schott Foundation for Public Education, says that is simply not the case.PER 12-21 


SECRECY AND SCIENCE– Both sides during the Cold War worked very hard to manipulate science to their advantage. That effort came despite a cherished belief by many in the United States that science should not serve a political agenda. On today’s Perspective, historian Audra Wolfe looks at the Cold War struggle to control science, and the impact that struggle left us today.PER 12-14 


THE LUMBEE INDIANS: AN AMERICAN HISTORY– Thanksgiving, an annual event centered on the myth that forms the beginnings of the United States of America, is once again behind us. The idea of friendly natives who ventured forth and helped the European settlers in their time of need…and then sat down around a communal table to celebrate their efforts and friendship. However, Malinda Maynor Lowery, an associate professor of history and director of the Center for the the Study of the American South at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, says the history of the Lumbee tribe of North Carolina tells a different story.PER 12-07 


ISLAMOPHOBIA– A Gallup Poll conducted between 2001 and 2007 revealed that 93 percent of the world’s Muslim population believed the 9-11 Attacks were unjustified. Another study found that one-in-three al-Qaeda terrorist plots were disrupted with the aid of Muslim Americans. Muslims speak out against terrorism all the time, yet, public officials often ask the same question: “Why don’t Muslims speak out against terrorism?” According to Todd Green, an associate professor of religion at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, it really isn’t a question but a condemnation, because it “wrongly assumes Islam is the driving force behind terrorism.” PER 11-30


THE IMPACT OF SCHOOL GRADES– Joe Feldman, a former educator, believes the K-12 grading system must be changed to reflect equity. He says that system, for the most part, has systemically retained achievement and opportunity gaps – even though they are thought to benefit students and be neutral – actually enable teachers’ unconscious biases to infect the system. PER 11-23


COMPREHENDING THE UNIVERSE– How often have you laid under a night sky and wondered what is or might be out there in the endless tracts of space? Are there neutrinos passing through your body as you lay there? Are there places just like earth far beyond what you can see…are there other beings there, and will we ever be able to converse with them –or do we need to fear them? Dr. Jo Dunkley, professor of physics and astrophysical sciences at Princeton University, delves into some of those thoughts. PER 11-16


GLOBAL FOOD PROBLEMS– There have been various warnings of a global food crisis for almost 10 years. In fact, many believe that by 2050, worldwide production of food will have to increase by 70 percent. However, Sara Menker, founder and CEO of Gro Intelligence, a company that pulls and consolidates data from around the world as it pertains to agriculture, thinks the food crisis could arrive as soon as 2027.PER 11-09


VOTING IMPACT OF DIVERSE AMERICANS – Despite the fact that whites, both male and female, comprise only 63 percent of the U.S. population, 81 percent of Congressional members are white males. Those numbers are also closely mirrored in elected officials in state and local offices. However, Sayu Bhojwani, founder and president of New American Leaders, the only national organization focused on preparing immigrant leaders to run for public office, feels that could change in this year’s elections.PER 11-02 


FREEDOM TO VOTE– The freedom to vote in the United States is under attack, and according to Rock the Vote president and executive director, Carolyn DeWitt, many Americans – young and old alike—are already finding it harder to enter a voting booth. She says not only do we need to begin to take our civic responsibilities seriously, we also have to do a much better job of teaching civics in our public schools. PER 10-26


REAL AMERICAN HISTORY– Bestselling and award-winning author, James W. Loewen, examines American history…what we know and what we don’t know…what is right and what is wrong…and why. He provides a look at American history that may surprise you or may anger you…or both.PER 10-19


PHYSICS AND RACE– Today’s Perspective program was originally to be about string theory and the teaching of physics in the United States. Instead, S. James gates Jr., a well-known physicist and newly-elected American Physical Society vice president, leads us from string theory to how America stands in the study of physics worldwide, and then into American racial problems. PER 10-12


FEEDING A GROWING WORLD POPULATION– The world’s population currently stands at somewhere around seven-and-a-half billion people – a number we often struggle to feed adequately. Experts say the population will double to about 15 billion by 2050. The question then becomes, if we struggle to provide adequate food now, what will we do in 32 years? A four million dollar grant from the National Science Foundation has been awarded to a team led by Kansas State University to address that question.PER 10-05


PROACTIVE POLICING– For over 40 years, there has been a call from certain sectors for police departments in the United States to become more proactive. However, along with that call comes some questions. First, what is meant by proactive policing? And secondly, does it work? David Weisburd, a Distinguished Professor at George Mason University, says there is evidence that a number of proactive policing practices are successful in reducing crime and disorder, at least in the short term, and that most of these strategies do not harm communities’ attitudes toward police.PER 09-28


HIDDEN MEMORIES OF WORLD WAR II– The memories of World War II lead us down lots of different paths, some of which many would rather forget, while in others we find unsung heroes…some of which will never be remembered. But thanks to three Kansas high school students and their teacher, one of those unsung heroes has been immortalized. PER 09-21 


THE ROLE OF SHORT LINE RAILROADS– Most of us have absolutely no idea what a short line railroad is – or its importance to the economy. According to Dr. Michael Babcock, an economist at Kansas State University, short line railroads have historically played an important role in the transportation of agricultural products.  PER 09-14


RACE IN THE SCHOOLYARD– A professor of African-American Studies at the University of Illinois-Chicago, Dr. Amanda Lewis, says something happens in schools – especially elementary schools – that forms and changes people in racial terms. And those changes lead to some interesting questions, such as “why are there racial gaps in achievement, despite the fact that racist theories of genetic inferiority have been disproven?” She takes a closer look at what goes on inside school buildings and in schoolyards.PER 09-07


WHITE KIDS GROWING UP– Have you ever wondered how we learn about race or where our perceptions and understandings about race, racial differences, and racial problems come from? More specifically, what do white parents teach, or not teach, their children about race? And just how all of that goes into how white kids come to see black and brown people as different? Margaret Hagerman, an assistant professor of Sociology at Mississippi State University offers some thoughts and answers from a study of white children in upper-middle-class white families in a medium-sized mid-western city…thoughts and answers that may surprise you. PER 08-31


WHITE SUPREMACY– In 1846, James McCune Smith, an African-American physician, abolitionist and author, told a white friend what had to be done to convince Americans of, as he put it, “the eternal equality of the Human race.” However, Katharine Gerbner, an assistant professor of history at the University of Minnesota, says that simply hasn’t happened. PER 08-24 


A LOOK BACK AT CHERNOBYL– In April of 1986, a devastating explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant laid the groundwork for many problems that continue to haunt us today. According to Harvard professor Serhii Plokhii, the immediate cause of the Chernobyl accident was a turbine test gone wrong. But he says the roots of that disaster lay in the interaction between major flaws in the Soviet political system, as well as in the nuclear power industry.PER 08-17 


THE USE OF ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE– Everyday, countless numbers of us use devices incorporating artificial intelligence, or A-I, such as Siri. Tatyana El-Kour, a technical officer at the Office of the Regional Director in the World health Organization Regional Office in Cairo, Egypt, says we need to realize that more and more we are immersing ourselves in technologies that are changing how we live, learn, work and engage…and that A-I is at the heart of that change.PER 08-10


KIDS COUNT DATA BOOK (Part 2)– Education is one of four areas covered in the 2017 Kids Count Data Book. And even though Kansas ranks 13th nationally in the overall well-being of kids, it ranked 21st in educational outcomes, and 23rd in family and community. The advocacy group, Kansas Action for Kids, says it is a good news-bad news scenario for the state. John Wilson, vice president of Advocacy for Kansas Action for Children, looks at what put Kansas at 13th nationally. PER 08-03


KIDS COUNT DATA BOOK (Part 1)– For some time, the Annie E. Casey Foundation has been keeping track of just how well the United States takes care of its kids through their Kids Count Data Book, in which they annually rank the states on overall child well-being. In the first of a two-part series, Laura Speer, associate director for policy reform and advocacy at the Foundation discusses what the Kids Count Data Book says about how Americans are currently taking care of their children.PER 07-27


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 


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