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About Grinnell

These are essays about Grinnell that did not naturally fit into other categories.

How has Grinnell changed in the past twenty years? (Essay #79)

My answers to a question I’ve been asked a few times.

10/10 (Essay #78)

Okay, 10/10 isn’t really all that important an issue. But I couldn’t think of another place to list this essay.

Grinnell Football (Essay #90)

Thinking about the team, the sport, and some history.

Mastering Grinnell (Essay #91)

How does one learn and keep track of all that is happening at the College?

Faculty Lines and Zero-Sum Games (Essay #150)

The joy of limiting tenure-line faculty.

Should Grinnell be tuition free? (Essay #158)

Reflections on a question from about a decade ago.

The divide between varsity/club athletes and other students (Essay #160)

An issue we probably need to address.

Helping our students speak persuasively (Essay #167)

One of our primary goals as an institution.

The size of the College (Essay #169)

Something it appears we are being asked to reconsider.

The recent history of Grinnell’s mission statement (Essay #170)

How we got to the mission statement we have.

Grinnell’s Board of Trustees (Essay #171)

Thoughts about the folks who govern the College

Grinnell traditions I miss: National pipe cleaner day (Essay #204)

A day of joy and creativity

Grinnell traditions I miss (but shouldn’t): Bakery run (Essay #205)

What could be better than fresh baked goods?

Grinnell traditions I never witnessed, but miss anyway: The Cross-country team’s naked run (Essay #207)

It brings new meaning to fun run.

Grinnell traditions I miss (and mostly missed): Graduation pranks (Essay #217)

Ferguson, fish, and failure.

New Grinnell traditions I appreciate: The Grinnell lecture (Essay #234)

Celebrating scholarship.

Grinnell traditions I despise: The Noyce/Cooper cookout (Musing #276)


Branding the College (Essay #218)

Can we find another term?

The department’s restricted fund (Essay #228)

Or unrestricted fund, as I like to think of it.

Designing a handbook for our Student Educational Policy Committee (Essay #230)

Helping our SEPC help themselves.

A draft handbook for the Computer Science SEPC (Essay #255)

Further help.

Grinnell’s 2017 Kinetic Sculpture Competition (Musing #291)

Yet another thing I enjoy about Grinnell.

Student wages (Musing #299)

An extended reflection with no real point.

The Staff Handbook (Musing #304)

They asked for suggestions.

Campus rumors (Musing #324)

Students come up with the strangest rumors. But some might be true.

Advising at Grinnell (Musing #457)

My response to a request from the Dean to reflect on advising at Grinnell.

Endowed chairs (Musing #461)

Wow, they’re expensive.

The role of the humanities in a Grinnell education (Musing #485)

Oh, that’s right. I need to explain this to some of my students. Core is probably a good summary.

Double majors (Musing #492)

Why students might choose more than one.

A prologue to some notes for external reviewers about Grinnell (Musing #543)

I think the title says it all.

About Grinnell (some draft notes for external reviewers) (Musing #544)

Why do I end up drafting institutional documents?

Expanding the faculty (Musing #603)

How I’d allocate new positions, if we had them.

Conflicting values (Musing #604)

What do you do when two core values come into conflict?

Just another Saturday at Grinnel (Musing #608)

Too much to do!

Unpacking quantitative reasoning (Musing #623)

Reflections on a core element of a Grinnell liberal-arts education.

Marketing Grinnell (Musing #625)

How do you convince folks to consider this gem of an institution?

Grinnell’s location (Musing #628)

Drawbacks and benefits.

Changing Grinnell, take one: Alumni mentors (Musing #629)

A suggestion on how to distinguish the College.

Our better Grinnellian story (Musing #631)

Positive comments on (and a few small criticisms of) our new admissions site.

Our new banners (Musing #639)

Trying to find some meaning in a confusing campaign.

Noyce third (Musing #659)

My favorite place on campus.

The cost of attending Grinnell (aka exponential growth) (Musing #746)

Outpacing inflation.

Grinnell’s 2019 U.S. News ranking (Musing #747)

Why the jump?

Go Forth Grinnellian (Musing #788)

Our new tagline.

Grinnell ephemera (Musing #790)

Discovering new things about the College.

Increasing class sizes (Musing #831)

Why it’s hard.

Meaningful, flexibile, and educational work (Musing #834)

An excellent goal.

Centering the humanities (Musing #849)

It’s complex.

Our new dean (Musing #884)

We’re lucky to have found her.

Writers at Grinnell (and other events at Grinnell) (Musing #890)

A highlight of the Grinnell calendar.

A last-minute innovation-fund proposal (Musing #903)

Beyond bean counting: A more humanistic approach to assessing Grinnell students’ individual curricula.

Another last-minute innovation-fund proposal (Musing #904)

Recentering Scholars’ Convocation.

Last week’s Scholars’ Convocation (Musing #906)

A good reason to recenter Scholars’ Convocation.

Volleyball (Musing #922)

Another successful season.

R.I.P. GrinCam (Musing #924)

Something I”ll miss.

Choosing courses (Musing #929)

Too many great options!

Grinnell’s persistence rate (Musing #931)

We need to improve it.

Persistence rates, continued (Musing #935)

More thoughts on the issues.

Cuts, closes, and balances in CS for Spring 2020, revisited(Musing #936)

Unexpected challenges.

What would Joe say? (Musing #940)

Seeking the opinion of a respected leader.

Grinnell’s student workload (Musing #941)

How do we make it more reasonable?

Grinnell’s next president (Musing #943)

Some charactistics that I’d like to see.

Grinnell gossip: The (potential) new residence hall (Musing #951)

Is this news?

SEPC funding (Musing #956)

Am I permitted opinions?

The honor of giving to Grinnell (Musing #975)

Fun with donations.

Dear Concerned Alumni (Musing #976)

Please donate.

Honoraria and Memorials in the Honor Roll (Musing #977)

Fun things to read

A draft memo regarding the celebration of fifty years of Grinnell’s Tutorial and the Open Curriculum (Musing #982)

There’s only one fiftieth anniversary; let’s not waste it.

MLK Day 2020 (Musing #989)

How should we celebrate?

Credit where credit is due (Musing #990)

I am humbled and inspired by your work.

Elections for the chair of the faculty (Musing #996)

So many potential candidates!

The joy of cool friends (Musing #1003)

Can I count alums as friends?

Trustees and the Grinnell student union (or vice versa) (Musing #1012)

A good rationale and some hope for positive directions.

A response to an angry alum (Musing #1013)

I am not a College spokesmodel.

Trend lines (Musing #1014)

Two billion is less than you think.

Growth in the number of staff (Musing #1020)

It’s not a simple matter.

Updates on the chair of the faculty (Musing #1021)

Yet another pointless musing.

Advising (Musing #1023)

What is my approach?

Revising the Faculty Handbook (Musing #1026)

Contemplating changes.

Classes of students (Musing #1027)

Or something like that.

A short tribute to the Grinnell College class of 2020 (Musing #1031)

Not a good alternative.

Summer 2020 MAPs (Musing #1038)

Let’s go virtual!

A list of Grinnell’s Summer 2020 classes (Musing #1061)


Questioning the fall (Musing #1064)

Advice, of sorts.

Questioning credit hours (Musing #1068)

Feeling like a broken record.

Summer courses, post-preliminary-registration (Musing #1069)

What next?

Notes for a letter that I will not send to the BoT (Musing #1071)

Can’t we just call of the search?

ShutDownGCCS (Musing #1082)

How I spent my day.

Fall planning (Musing #1088)


Scheduling fall terms (Musing #1089)

Starting chair duties early.

Circles: Restorative justice, community building, and more (Musing #1114)

Give ’em a try!

What’s the largest major at Grinnell? (Musing #1133)

Approximate data, at best.

Summer workshops (Musing #1145)

Trying to cut back.

Breathe in, let go (setting aside institutional issues, take one) (Musing #1155)

Good advice.

First-Year Registration, Fall 2021 (Musing #1163)

Not a derecho, but perhaps some other kind of storm.

New faculty lines (Musing #1166)

Why do I always see the negative?

Dinner with trustees (Musing #1186)

Feeling conflicted.

Young alumni weekend (Musing #1192)

YAW! Who?

Title IX, Men’s Soccer, Women Coaches, Grinnell, and Such (Musing #1207)

The newspaper of record needs to get its records right.

On group advising (Musing #1220)

I don’t get it.

Another dinner with Grinnell’s Board of Trustees (Musing #1227)

Always fun (these days)

Salaries (Musing #1228)

Why do I care?

Student wages (Musing #1235)

Some back-of-the-envelope calculations.

Mixed messages (Musing #1238)

Are different sections of the same course equivalent?

A curmudgeon attends Grinnell’s 2023 graduation (Musing #1239)

Why can’t I just be happy?

Scholars’ Seminar, Abbreviated (Musing #1245)

Things all faculty should know

A bit of joy (Musing #1246)

Such wonderful colleagues.

Updating Grinnell’s Academic Honesty Handbook (Musing #1247)

A bit of bragging.

Major counts, more or less (Musing #1249)

Terrifying data.

Sam attends student supervisor training (Musing #1250)

More enjoyable than I’d expected.

Placement in CS (Musing #1255)

It’s complicated.

The (Dis-)Honor G (Musing #1260)

Harm is not marketing.

My latest advising statement (Musing #1273)

It’s complicated.

Declaring a CS major (Spring 2024) (Musing #1276)

A sensible process.

Registration priorities (Musing #1280)

Amazingly, not a rant.

Gaining seniority (Musing #1289)

Or just getting older.