Informal Education is a new University of Calgary podcast that will broadcast voices of the university community. The first episode was launched on Feb. 13. New episodes will air every Wednesday and are 50 to 110 minutes long.
According to third-year English student, host and creator of Informal Education Kelsy Norman, there are large gaps between faculty, administration and students. Informal Education, however, will work to close these gaps.
“I look at a problem at the U of C and I feel that we could work on building a better community,” said Norman.
Norman, a faculty of arts representative and avid listener of podcasts, felt he could use his connections on campus to build a platform for exploring the lives of community members.
“I wanted to create an outlet to bridge these gaps by allowing students to get to know administration and profs a little bit better, to create a better sense of connectedness and a better sense of community,” said Norman.
He said that communication between instructors and students can often be one-sided.
“If you’re a student and you’re in a classroom of 200 people, the professor has no idea who you are. You can be an amazing student, you could have accomplished amazing things, but the professor doesn’t know that and I think the professor should know that,” said Norman. “We are made very aware of who the professor is and their accomplishments, but it only goes one way.”
Norman said it is important to also give insight into professors’ lives on a personal level.
“I want to ask profs what they do for fun, what they do on the weekends, what they are interested in, what they did when they were younger and in university,” said Norman. “They weren’t always a professor at the U of C and, given that opportunity, it is important to students as well to see that side.”
So far, Norman has interviewed U of C associate professor Patrick Finn, Dino and Olympic wrestler Leah Callahan and senate representative Matt Diteljan. He will also be speaking with professor Ronald Glasberg and wants more involvement from students and staff. Students can get updates about the podcast by following @informaled on Twitter.
“I really want people’s feedback about [the podcast]. I want to know what students, professors and administration think about it and connect with me because I want to know who people want to hear on the podcast,” said Norman. “I am not doing this for myself, I am doing this for the community and I hope it can be positive. I want to hear from my listeners.”
Norman will also begin a monthly “Freshman 15” edition podcast where he will speak with first-year students.
He said the first few episodes have received a positive response.
“Anyone I have reached out to to have a conversation with has been really fired up about it,” said Norman.