Washburn University | KCUR

Washburn University

Every college in Kansas is more expensive today than it was a decade ago.

Tuition and fees haven’t gone up every year — this year, the Kansas Board of Regents convinced most of the state’s universities to hold tuition flat — but that doesn’t change how expensive college has become.

Celia Llopis-Jepsen / Kansas News Service

TOPEKA, Kansas The road to democracy is paved in donuts.

At least that’s the case if you dropped by Washburn University’s Memorial Union for lunch on a recent afternoon, followed the “free donuts” sign and blaring rock music down to the lower level, where there were not just boxes of glazed temptation, but smiling faces holding out electronic tablets.

Celia Llopis-Jepsen / KCUR/Kansas News Service

TOPEKA — The glittery gold print on Cara Simon’s graduation cap begged — maybe only half-jokingly — for a break: “Can I take a nap now?”

Toilsome college coursework may have kept the Wichita native up at night, but looking for a job won’t. Simon lined one up at an emergency room before even graduating — one of the benefits of earning a nursing degree.

“It’s so versatile,” she said. “You can work in a million different places. You can work in any state. It’s exciting.”

Benjamin Todd Wills

Benjamin Todd Wills seems to understand that community is all-inculsive. That is, a community is not just made up of law-abiding families and hard-working citizens, it's also composed of those who've made grave errors and are paying the price.

For years, Wills, an art professor at Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas, has corresponded with inmates. After he mentioned to one man that he's a sculptor, the man sent a paper airplane with a note that read: “As far as a sculpture goes, this is the best that I can do.”

Ian Echlin / For KCUR 89.3

Despite smaller budgets than major college football teams, NCAA Division II football is in the midst of a sports facility “arms race,” and school administrators don’t deny it.

“It’s kind of like the Division Ones,” said Mel Tjeerdsma, Northwest Missouri State’s legendary former football coach and former athletic director. “You have to keep up with the Joneses. That’s what we’re trying to do.”

Crysta Henthorne / Kansas News Service

Sounds like …

Parents of dyslexic children have long pitched for a dramatic change to reading instruction and the extra teaching help needed to accommodate brains wired a little differently.

Celia Llopis-Jepsen weighs in this week with a story about how they’re on the verge of a breakthrough in Kansas that could bring more phonics-grounded reading instruction for all kids.

Segment 1: A new documentary illustrates the tension between police and African-American communities.

Black and Blue is a new documentary by Kansas City native Solomon Bass. In it, he follows a former police officer named Donald Carter, who struggles with the question of being both black and a police officer. Solomon Bass joins us to talk about the story behind the documentary.

Madeline Fox / Kansas News Service

Segment 1: After the incumbent's endorsement, Kris Kobach emerges as the GOP nominee to face Greg Orman and Laura Kelly in November's midterm.

With the field set for this fall's gubernatorial election in Kansas, the three campaigns left standing will turn their full attention to winning in November. Before we follow suit, we invited political watchers in Topeka to consider the implications a Kobach-Hartman ticket will have on down-ballot Republicans hoping to appeal to moderate voters.

Tristan Bowersox / Flickr, Creative Commons

California just passed a law establishing "yes means yes" as the statewide standard for consent, and President Obama recently issued a message to the nation calling assault on campus "an affront to our basic humanity." In the wake of some controversial local cases, where do local universities stand on this issue, and what are students saying?

Guests:

Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio

The official state Christmas tree ornament for Kansas this year recognizes the 150th anniversary of the founding of Washburn University, which is coming up in 2015.