Reed (be)rates the rankings

In many ways this is the season we love to hate as Reed responds to the release of the latest college rankings and, to a somewhat lesser degree, the new college guides. This year the newest entrant into the college-guide "best colleges" sweepstakes is Choosing the Right College: The Whole Truth about America's 100 Top Schools, with an introduction by former U.S. Secretary of Education William Bennett, which includes Reed. (The kudzu of rankings seems to be creeping into every industry nowadays: the 100 best movies, the 100 best novels, and now two books of lists on the world's greatest works of art: Greatest Works of Art of Western Civilization by Thomas Hoving, former director of the Metro-politan Museum of Art, and Sister Wendy's Favorite Things, by Sister Wendy Beckett, the British nun, who according to the New York Times, has become a one-woman art industry.)

Reed remains steadfastly opposed to any rankings of American colleges and universities and sees them as distracting sideshows. At their best, rankings are based on inaccurate, incomplete, or flawed data and provide misleading information to prospective students and their parents about the comparability of institutions.

There is, however, an obvious advantage to the publicity that comes from being at the top of these lists, and the college is taking full advantage of the local and national media attention resulting from Reed being named first in the country for overall academics and first for quality of teaching in the newly released Princeton Review Best 311 Colleges college guide.

The Princeton Review lists were generated from student responses about their college experience to the Princeton Review student survey. Approximately 150 to 200 students from each school participated in the survey. The college is also #1 for "ignoring God on a regular basis," #3 for "reefer madness," #4 for liberal politics, #5 for student homogeneity, #7 for the amount of studying students do, #10 for professors' accessibility, #12 for encouragement of class discussion, and #22 for aestheticism.

In addition to continuing to decry the mania over rankings, the college is using the current spotlight to try to focus national attention on the important matters in higher education. To that end, President Koblik recently met with the publisher and editors at The Nation magazine at their editorial offices in New York. The meetings included his conducting an extremely animated seminar on the future of American higher education as part of the Nation Institute's Charles Lawrence Keith series.

This is also the fourth year that Reed has refused to return surveys to U.S. News and World Report for its annual "best colleges" rankings issue and college guide book. The magazine continues to use information gathered from non-college sources (we placed in the second tier of national liberal arts colleges) and touted Reed's refusal to inflate grades in a story on grade inflation. Other schools cited for sim-ilar commendatory behavior regarding grades were Swarthmore, Johns Hopkins University, St. John's College in Annapolis, and the University of the South.

Works of Haida artist guud san glans, Robert Davidson, featured at Cooley Gallery

From August 24 to October 11 the Douglas F. Cooley Memorial Art Gallery College presented an exhibition of the work of the distinguished Canadian Haida artist guud san glans, Robert Davidson. The exhibition had as its centerpiece Davidson's 20-foot totem pole Breaking the Totem Barrier, which was installed in front of Eliot Hall. A September ceremony included the performance of songs and dances by Davidson and the Rainbow Creek Dancers from his town of Masset in the Queen Charlotte Islands, which are called in their language the Haida Gwaii. As Reed's Stephen Ostrow Distinguished Visitor in the Visual Arts for the fall semester, Davidson also presented a public lecture that explored his use of the traditional Haida forms and the turning points of his career.

Focused on Davidson's work since 1985, the exhibition featured the majority of his maquettes and drawings for his totem poles as well as a selection of his masks, woodcarving, metalwork, jewelry, paintings, prints, and drawings. The exhibition was curated by Charles Rhyne, professor emeritus of art history.

Robert Davidson (guud san glans, meaning "eagle of the dawn" in Haida) is a descendant of a family of artists and is considered by many to be pre-eminent among artists of his generation. He has been active as an artist since the 1960s, is represented in numerous private and public collections nationally and internationally, and was given a retrospective exhibition at the Vancouver Art Museum in 1993. Davidson has been honored with the Order of Canada, the Order of British Columbia, and the Canadian National Aboriginal Achievement Award for Art and Culture.

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