The University’s Office of the Provost debuted “Faculty in Focus” Oct. 6, a new podcast featuring conversations between some of the University’s most distinguished faculty members and Provost Richard Locke P ’18.
The podcast is intended “to strengthen awareness of our faculty and the consequential work that they do across fields and disciplines,” Locke wrote in an email to The Herald. While the podcast’s primary audience is the campus community and University alums, Locke hopes the podcast will reach the general public, including policymakers.
Marisa Quinn, chief of staff to the provost, hopes the podcast will serve as more than a discussion of academic research. “We wanted to make it about their research but also about what makes them tick,” she said. In one-on-one interviews with Locke, faculty members have the opportunity to offer personal insights on their research and its origins through a convenient, engaging medium.
In the inaugural episode, Locke sat down for a conversation with Tricia Rose MA’87 Ph.D’93 P’14, Chancellor’s professor of Africana Studies, associate dean of the faculty for special initiatives and director of the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America. Quinn invited Rose to be the podcast’s inaugural guest after she spoke at a “Faculty in Focus” lecture. Rose was “very happy to participate” in the podcast because “it’s a great community-building tool.”
“For students and even other faculty, we don’t often have the opportunity to learn about each other in ways that connect our research to who we are as people,” she added.
The episode began with a discussion of Rose’s path from her upbringing in the Bronx and Harlem to her studies at Yale and Brown, and she later delved into how her interest in researching hip-hop culture got started. Rose also discussed how she transitioned to other research endeavors, including her work on sexuality and intimacy among black women, as well as her research on structural racism.
The new podcast is part of a broader initiative to make faculty research more accessible through multiple channels, Locke wrote, including the staff-oriented lecture series Rose spoke at as well as the faculty-oriented lecture series “By Faculty for Faculty.”
The faculty-oriented podcast in particular allows the work and interests of faculty members to reach a larger and more diverse audience, Quinn said. “Especially among young people, … podcasts have really become a popular way to get the news and entertainment.”
Quinn said that Locke is “really intent on making sure people have an understanding of the research … to demonstrate the excellence of the work that’s done here, but also the impact it has had on the world.”
Because Locke already engages with faculty members about their research over the course of his day, recording the podcast was a natural transition. “Talking about their work is always so interesting and inspiring. I wanted to bring this experience to others,” he wrote.
The production team features the talents of University alums Megan Hall ’04 and Tom Van Buskirk ’04. Episodes of “Faculty in Focus” are available online via Spotify, Soundcloud and the Stitcher app, according to the Office of the Provost’s website.
Clarification: A previous version of this article described the podcast as featuring "conversations between the University's most distinguished faculty members and Provost Richard Locke P'18." It is more accurate to say that the conversations are between "some of the University's most distinguished faculty members" and Locke.