President

Mark: my words

Mark: my words is a blog penned by President Mark Putnam meant to encourage civil discourse, explore important issues, and stimulate creativity and innovation. Created in 2010, many blog entries make their way into new and traditional media outlets. Members of the Central College family, higher education professionals, students and casual readers have used the blog to teach, start conversations and reflect on life patterns.


Taking an Off-Ramp

We live in a society with high expectations for success – personal, relational, financial and professional. Though defined in many different ways and set in many different contexts, our pursuit of success is animated by both opportunities and threats. Some of us are motivated more by opportunities and channel our ambition through creativity and innovation….

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Prone to Wander

Expectations for being right the first time are becoming very high – perhaps too high. We are told to pursue efficiency, productivity and to avoid risk through seasons and circumstances of life that are inherently messy. Limiting the scope of our ambitions and resisting the temptation to explore are often recommended strategies for success. While…

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Gathering String

A recent article in the New York Times entitled, “How to Cultivate the Art of Serendipity,” has stirred my thinking. The author, Pagan Kennedy, draws our attention to the importance of finding fresh ideas hidden in the ordinary stuff of life. Among the many historic examples of serendipitous discoveries she describes, she reminds us of…

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Confessions of a Resolutionist

  . . . I can’t resist. I hear the beguiling voice of a fresh opportunity as I turn the page to a new year. I will resolve to change . . . well . . . something. Maybe. I haven’t figured that part out yet. But I mean it this time. It’s too important…

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Lifting the Fog of Cynicism

  Cynicism is cunning. It moves freely and quietly like a dense fog over a darkened horizon. Vision becomes limited, even distorted. Movement is slowed in its grip, cautious of what may be hidden. Uncertainty impairs judgment and entangles reason. Sometimes everything stops. Most of us have seasons of cynicism when the circumstances of our…

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It’s Time to Be Educators, not Survivalists

Every once in a while I check in with those who live a bit more on the intellectual fringes of American society. It’s not that I intend to follow the patterns of extremism, but I learn something about my own thinking as an educator when I look through the lenses of others. Extreme positions, while…

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Technology’s Native Speakers

I first sat down in front of a personal computer in 1987. It felt strange to see the things I typed actually appear on a screen. I remember being stunned as I saw the text fill the first line I typed and the cursor magically jumped to the next line allowing me to keep typing….

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A Big Part of Life is Getting it Wrong

I have a friend whose philosophy of life is: “In the end, people do what they want.” When you first hear these words, they seem a bit cynical and narcissistic. We quickly interpret the words to say, “In the end, I get what I want.”  That’s not what he means. His expression is actually much…

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The Legacy of Norman Borlaug

Sometimes I ask friends and colleagues, who have spent significant portions of their lives working among those in poverty in developing countries, a single question: “If you were to bring friends from the community you are serving to the United States, what would they find most surprising?” The answer is almost always the same. “A grocery store.”

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Embracing Change

Most of us would agree change is inevitable. Some see it coming. Others eventually acknowledge change by looking to the past to interpret a new reality in the present. A few look bewildered and simply ask, “When did things change?” or ”Why did things change?” or “Who changed things?”

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