Faculty Podcasts as Program Promotion

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Dr. David Peña-Guzman, Assistant Professor in the School of Humanities and Liberal Studies at San Francisco State University, and Dr. Ellie Anderson, Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Pomona University, joined the podcast to talk about creating academic podcasts for both curriculum and course promotion.

I was confronting this question of howto make my course more personalized than to create some semblance of human human interaction, especially in a course that was entirely asynchronous. You're listening to enrollment growthuniversity from Helix Education, the best professional development podcast for higher education leaders lookingto grow enrollment at their college or university. Whether you're looking for fresh enrollment growthtechniques and strategies or tools and resources, you've come to the right place.Let's get into the show. Welcome back to enrollment growth university, aproud member of the connect e Tou podcast network. I'm Eric Olsen with HelixEducation, and we're here today with Dr David Painna Guzman, assistant professor inthe School of Humanities and Liberal Studies at San Francisco State University, and DrEllie Anderson, Assistant Professor in the Department of Philosophy at Monty University. Ellie, welcome to the show, and David, welcome back. Thank you. Thanksfor having us. Yeah, I'm glad to be back. So excitedto have you back into to meet Alie. So excited to talk with you bothtoday about creating academic podcasts for both curriculum and course promotion. Before wedig in, can you provide the listeners with a brief intro on yourself,starting with Ellie? Sure so. Yeah, I'm Ellie Anderson. I started toDrop Amona College this fall. Is Assistant Professor and prior to that Iwas visiting Assistant Professor at Pitsur College for a few years. I specialize intwenty century continental philosophy, including deconstruction, phenomenology and existentialism, and I alsowork on feminist philosophy and David Pinyaguzman and I am an assistant professor in theSchool of Humanities and Liberal Studies at San Francisco State University. I teach numberof courses, primarily in the history of science, the philosophy of Science andcontemporary humanities. And, like Ellie, I have a background in European philosophy, which we both share on account of having been graduate student buddies back whenwe went to emory in Atlanta, Georgia. Awesome, awesome and and obviously Icould not be more excited about this topic. Personally, I think we'vechosen the perfect venue in form to have this conversation, to give us somebackground. David, during Covid I think we've all seen a greater need topersonalize and humanize our courses when we can't all be together in order to bestengage our students. Talk about one of the solutions you've found this year inmini podcasts. Yes, so, I think about a month into the fallsemester I was confronting this question of how to make my course more personalized thanto create some semblance of human human interaction, especially in a course that was entirelya synchronous meaning that at no point that the whole class come together tomeet, let's say, own a zoom...

...meeting. And one of the solutionsthat I found was to stop relying on text communication and move over to minipodcasting, which is, I think it's a term that I've invented. Idon't think I don't think it's in common use that yet. But so,for example, in terms of communicating with the class, instead of sending themalong email with bullet points, I would record myself talking to my phone andsend them, let's say, a five seven minute recording giving them all theinformation they needed for a particular week. And the feedback that I got frommy students is that they really liked it. And so I started doing lectures inthe form of many podcasts. I started doing really most of the teacherstudent communication in this form and and the feedback was so positive that I decidedthat I will continue to do that even in the future when we're no longerteaching under conditions of distance learning. It's a really creative idea and a superhelpful background, as we talked about utilizing podcast to create more personalized communications andmore with that Allie, can you give us a high I level overview ofyour new podcast, overthink, and why covid specifically maybe the perfect time forstudents to wrestle with these ideas that you wrestle within the show? Yeah,so overthink is a podcast where David and I have a conversation about a giventopic and draw on text and ideas from the history of philosophy. So,for instance, our episode on existential anxiety touches on Kureki, guard and startand Bovore and a number of other ideas. So we have some episodes that arepretty conceptually driven, such as that one, and then we have othersthat are more driven by current events, such as antimasking movements during Covid,and for that you'll hear us talking about the contrast between concept of freedom thatwe find in John Locke and one that we find in Hagel. And soin general we're looking to synthesize discussions of current events and pop culture with philosophicalapproach that draws on the history of philosophy and I think here, you know, one thing that really interested David and me was the fact that at thistime a lot of people are listening to podcasts in different ways, and sonot just students, all those students as well, but I think you know, a lot of folks no longer have the kind of commute that they usuallywould have had where they might listen to a podcast, but they're taking walksin their neighborhood very frequently. I think for students it's so important to getoutside side and whether you're listening to a short mini podcast like the one thatDavid talked about doing for his classes, or just finding a way to tryand think about some of the concepts you may have learned about in a classoutside of the classroom while you're on your neighborhood walk. A podcast is areally great opportunity to do that. Our episodes are about forty five to fiftyfive minutes long, and so they're a little bit on the longer side,you know, for an educational podcast,...

...but I think they really sit squarelyin the kind of range. Those are time range that you would find formainstream podcast and that was very much of interest to us. So, contentwise, huge, huge overlap with what you both teach. Let's dig into yourshow goals here, David. Are you hoping to send existing students to theshow as part of your course curriculum? Are you hoping that the show mightrecruit listeners as brand new students into your departments? What are your what areyour high level goals here? I think both of those are right. So, on the one hand, we want to give our current students the linkfor the podcast and let them know, hey, even if you're going togo out in the world after the end of the semester, even after yougraduate, hopefully this will be a tool that will help you still be apart in some way of the kinds of conversations that we were already falstering inclass. So discussions about the radical concepts, about philosophical problems and trying to putthose in dialog, whether that be with current events or with contemporary culture. And so one goal that I think Ellie and I share certainly is toshare this podcast with our students so that they can see the kind of applicationthat we make of the philosophical content that we read in class. So,once you step outside of the classroom, Wa are some of the things thatyou can do with the tools that you've acquired. But I think, especiallyin my case, I am interested in the second part of the question,which is bringing new students to my classes, and so I do think of thispodcast as something that can potentially make students who may otherwise not think abouttaking the kinds of courses that I teach. It might make them interested in potentiallyenrolling in one of my courses, whether that be a course that Iteach on French philosophy or a course that I teach on the history and philosophyof science or a course that I teach on mind, brain and culture,because a lot of those interests that drive my teaching and that drive my researchare certainly reflected in our conversations in overthink so I would say that those twothings are equally important goals. To work with current students and make the podcastavailable to them and also to bring in new students into the classroom visa youthe podcast. Yeah, the enrollment group goals are are super interesting and I'massuming you're going to see some interest from your own institutions or excitement about thisshow as you can grow its listenership organically in through your classes. Is theresome kind of institutional support that you're hoping for in the future, whether itbe from an equipment standpoint or a budget standpoint or just from a broader institutionalsupport from a promotion standpoint? Are you...

...hoping that they see this show asa brand build for them? Well, I think that there are good reasonsto think of this podcast as a brand builder, if we want to usethis term, both for SFSU and for Pomona, in so far as itputs the spotlight onto young, upandcoming professors who are trying to bridge this gapor trying to bridge their research, their teaching and their service. Because whenyou think about something like a podcast, and for people who don't know that, behind the scenes operations of academia, most professors are typically evaluated on threecategories. We're evaluated on our teaching. That's one third of our job.We're evaluated on our research, which is another third and finally, on service, and this podcast, I think, connects those three in a very interestingway, and so that's one reason why I hope that our institutions take aninterest in the podcast and provide some form up support down the road. Weare certainly very new. We have just launched a couple of weeks ago,three four weeks ago, and we haven't yet gotten to the point where wehave made any formal requests for institutional support and hopefully, when that happens,the universities will be a receptive seeing the possible impact that something like podcasting canhave on enrollment, but also just on student engagement more generally, especially whenwe think about the fact that this podcast puts our institutions also on the mapin the sense that a lot of people who are not either at Pomona orat SFSU or even in California at all, will be listening to faculty members fromthese institutions. Yeah, and we were originally going to record actually atPomona. The Claremont colleges, of which pomona is a part, has areally excellent recording studio called the high that's a sort of not only a recordingstudio but also place for creative collaboration, and we were planning to use theirspace, including their fancy microphones, and because of covid been an able todo that, and so I think definitely there's a hope that one's campus realand you know, we David, can come down to southern California and spendsome time recording in the studio there or we have gotten support, though,from Pomona in the form of a research assistant who's helping us with the podcastproduction, and so I was actually able to realize some of my start upfunds, which were originally intended for conference travel, to a student production assistant, because obviously conference travel is not happening right now, and so we hada little bit of leftover money there. So that's been really nice. Ialso wanted to quickly circle back to Eric your previous question about the show goals, because I know if I sort of drop the ball there when you pauseto see if I wanted to add anything.

So I might say a quick thingabout that now. Sure please. Yeah, I mean, because Iwork at a small liberal Arts College. It's a very tight knit community andso it's really common for students to recommend professors to each other, and Ithink that's that word of mouth is the primary thing that brings students to classes. Even more than Oh, I want a major in such and such adiscipline. It's actually the reputation of professors that is often the driving factor,is at a small liberal arts college and enrollments. And so I think frommy perspective, especially as a new faculty member, podcasting is a really excitingway for a student to be able to tell another friend, Hey, youshould take a class in the philosophy department with Professor Anderson, and not justhave of their you know, and not just have the student take their wordfor it, but also be able to say, listen to this podcast episodeand see what you think. And, more broadly speaking, even aside fromreputation as a single professor, David and I have so much confidence in thediscipline and philosophy and in the humanities as a whole, and so I thinkto be able to show that we're doing exciting things that go beyond the boundsof the university, hopefully even within the university, can be exciting for studentsand draw them to our classes. Yeah, and I think I can add tothis. The kind of dynamic that you see on air between Ellie andI is reflective of the kind of energy and personality that we bring individually tothe classroom as well. So, at least for me, I don't seea big difference between my personality in the podcast and my personality in front ofthe classroom. So, in terms of thinking about the image that studentsket ofme in this project, I see it as continuous with my personality as aprofessor. And so I do want students to talk about the podcast, becausewhat they get into podcast is what they get in a slightly different form inthe classroom. Let's take into that for a second, that idea of adifferent form. When you're thinking about content, when you're thinking about classroom content versuspodcast content, are you trying to be more inclusive? Are you tryingto be, you know, more aligned with the Cultural Zite guys to drawstudents in? Do you think of it pedagogically different, you know, yourpodcast audience versus versus your your traditional course students? HMM, I would sayfrom my perspective I definitely think of them as different, because a lot ofthe classes that I teach our survey courses in a particular school of philosophy ora particular period. So, for instance, continental thought is in Nineteen and twentycentury, continental European Philosophy survey course. A student coming into that course isgoing to expect to be reading people cable and Nietzsche and Phonon, andso they're sort of led by an interest in the topics and the text ina way that I don't expect from a podcast listener. I expect a podcastlistener to be more driven by the topics and the text. Thinkers and theoriesare coming second and so I would say...

...in both my pedagogy and in thepodcast there's an interweaving of those different elements, but I definitely front load the topicsmore in the podcast than I would in a classroom setting. Yeah,and I think to that I can add aside from what gets put in theforeground and what gets put in the background, there is also, at least inmy case, a difference just at the level of content, because althoughI am a philosopher, I am trained us a professional philosopher like Ellie,and that's, as I said, something that we share in common. Iwas is hired at San Francisco State University to teach primarily the history of scienceand that's simply not the theme of the podcast. And so that sometimes comesin and I will inject little insights here and there from my research and myteaching about the history of physics or the history of biology or the history ofneuroscience. But there is a limit to how much I will do that becauseI do think of our podcast audience as having a less as being more interestedin the theory, the philosophy, the culture more so than necessarily in whateverscientific interests I might have. And you know, sometimes also when you teacha class, you really for students to deal with a specific text for along time, to do close readings, sometimes readings that are quite demanding andquite rigorous, and one of the things that we wanted from the very beginningwas to avoid having a podcast that was to professorial. There are plenty ofpodcasts out there that are highly educational and that have much more of a lectureformat where one person, you know, talks for forty minutes about a subjectin great detail, and that's great, that's that has a lot of pedagogicalvalue, but we wanted a much more conversation all approach that is lighter,more dynamic, a little bit more organic and that's, honestly, just alittle bit more fun. That was an important move to have something that anybodycould relate to, even if they are not, let's say, a graduatestudent in the humanities like the ones that I teach. HMM. Yeah,I think there's less buy in initially for a podcast listener in terms of theactual theories involved then I'm able to expect on a small liberal arts college where, you know, in my case, students don't have a lot of requirementsand so they're usually coming to my classroom out of a sheer interest in thetopic. If they do have a requirement, it's a requirement for their philosophy degree, and so they're already interested in philosophy. And with podcast listeners,you know, it's a totally different context there, Kellie, for those facultylistening thinking, boy, maybe I should start a podcast and want to learnoff your curve and the thought that's gone into it that you've expressed today.Any any next steps advice for them starting out? Where should they start first? I would start off with a great...

...cohost like David. I mean Ithink one of the biggest things that David and I have had to realize isthat in becoming podcasters it's actually been not just about becoming voiceover actors, butit's also been about becoming editors. So I think the biggest surprise for meis how much editing I've had to learn. So I would start with the technologyor APP that's going to enable your editing services, probably also microphones.We haven't gotten that far yet. About a podcast is that there's a reallylow barrier to entry and there are a lot of really good apps and distributionplatforms that make that easy. But I think it's also require a lot moretime than David and I realize for actually learning that stuff and also for buildingour on Air Dynamic. I think we originally just thought, Oh, wehave this great chemistry in real life that will automatically translate over into a podcast, and about month to really get solid on that. Yeah, now,that's right. I think there is a learning curve on the one hand tothe intrapersonal dynamic on air if somebody wants to do a podcast with another person. But then there is again at the behind the scenes operations which, asEllie points out, we didn't expect. So the amount of time that ittakes to really edit a podcast in order to create a polished, semi sophisticatedproduct, even while working with relatively limited resources, as in our case.Right we don't have to hire an audio editor, for example, and sowe're doing all that work ourselves. And so for somebody who is thinking shouldI jump into this podcast business, I think the most important question up frontwould be to be clear about what your goals are. So if you wantto create a brand, which is what Ellie and I are trying to do, something that requires, you know, a good amount of editing, thatrequires social media presence, then be aware of the fact that it will requirework. If what you want is something like my mini podcasts with my class, the requirements are our significantly less demanding. Right I would just record into myphone and then send whatever I recorded and the students liked it, butit was just a different kind of thing. So I think the most important thingthat those people who are on the fence might want to get clear aboutis exactly what their goals are, because one is a very easy, lowcost, high value project. The other one is also a high value project, but that requires much more commitment. MMM Yeah, definitely agree with that. Ellie David, thank you both so much for your time today. What'sthe best place for listeners to connect with you if they have any foll upquestions and where can they find the show? Beginning with Allie. Yeah, well, they can find us just about anywhere you find your podcasts, especiallyapple podcast and spotify. Were not on...

Google, but I think you know, besides that we're pretty broadly available and feel free to email us at dearoverthink at gmailcom. We've also got a great instagram run by one of ourstudents, and that is overthink, underscore pod and they can also always findour professional email addresses by googling our professional websites. So, Ellie Anderson,football safe at Pomona College, and David Pennagusmun School of Humanities and Liberal Studiesat San Francisco State University, Awesome. Go Subscribe, folks, and thankyou both so much for joining us today. Thank you. Are Greed to talkto you. Thank you so much. Attracting today's new post traditional learners meansadopting new enrollment strategies. Helix educations, data driven enterprise wide approach to enrollmentgrowth is uniquely helping colleges and universities thrive in this new education landscape,and Helix has just published the second edition of their enrollment growth playbook with fiftypercent brand new content on how institutions can solve today's most pressing enrollment growth challenges. Downloaded today for free at Helix Educationcom. Playbook. You've been listening to enrollmentgrowth university from Helix Education. To ensure that you never miss an episode, subscribe to the shown itunes or your favorite podcast player. Thank you somuch for listening. Until next time.

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