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'BG Ideas:' a must-listen higher ed podcast

BGSU podcast earns accolades for its interdisciplinary effort by Volt Magazine

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By Julie Carle

Nearly 80 million Americans listen to podcasts each week, according to the 2021 statistics reported by The Infinite Dial. The percentage of podcast listeners has increased by nearly 30% in the past three years, from 44% in 2018 to 57% in 2021.

As the podcast craze continues, Bowling Green State University’s 'BG Ideas' podcast has been recognized as a “must-listen higher ed podcast.”

Volt Magazine included BGSU in the list of 11 colleges and universities creating unique, subscribe-worthy podcasts, noting that they loved 'BG Ideas' for its “interdisciplinary effort.” The joint effort between the BGSU Institute for the Study of Culture and Society (ICS) and the School of Media and Communication “is shared, researched, written, edited and sound engineered by students, interns and graduate assistants.”

Dr. Jolie Sheffer, director of ICS and professor of English and American culture studies, hosts the higher education podcast. Throughout the three-season (and counting) series, she talks with academics, artists, activists and other professionals about their work for the public good. The podcast enlightens listeners about topics that range from “Shattering the Silence of Miscarriage and Pregnancy Loss” and “Rediscovering Europe’s Black Musical Past” to “Collaborative Design” and “Imagining Life on Other Planets.”

“The podcast was developed to share some of the amazing work that is being done in and around the University to help address social and cultural issues,” Sheffer said. “I wanted to bring these incredible stories to the wider community.”

The most recent season had a common theme, with each episode focused on topics related to COVID. Guests talked about COVID and comfort, food insecurity, resilience and mental health, social distancing, leadership, community and pedagogy.

The fourth season goes further, considering the pandemic’s impact on those with care-taking responsibilities, residents of elder care communities, creative professionals, and those fighting for equity and diversity. Episodes of the new season will be released weekly, starting in August.

“The humanities have a lot to contribute to this discussion,” said Dr. Amílcar Challú, chair of the Department of History and co-lead for a National Endowment for the Humanities grant at BGSU.

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“The humanities are relevant (during COVID), not only in terms of pedagogy and the student experience and analyzing the cultural and social impact of this moment, but also about those conversations about equity, accessibility and diversity, those lived experiences. Data can tell us a lot, but it can’t actually give us that kind of lived detail that is also so important,” Sheffer said.

The podcast team had to pivot because of the global pandemic, moving the interviews out of the studio to phone and online formats.

“Everyone did a remarkable job this year despite having to do everything remotely. We missed not being able to interact face-to-face, but listeners won’t know the difference. The conversations were compelling and provided lots of valuable insight into the impact the pandemic had on, not only the University community, but to humanity, in general,” Sheffer said.

She also praised the technical team from the School of Media and Communication for their talents and expertise at producing such a high-quality podcast for listeners.

All episodes are available wherever you find your favorite podcasts (such as Apple Podcasts, Google Play and Spotify) as well as on the ICS website. Subscribe on your favorite platform to make sure you never miss an episode.

Media Contact | Michael Bratton | mbratto@bgsu.edu | 419-372-6349