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Wesch podcast launch is a must-hear

August 29, 2016

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Make good decisions, but make better stories

That’s a quote from one of the students featured in Life101, Michael Wesch’s new podcast. The words are particularly apt, as the program takes a sort of “reality radio” format, intertwining student stories with insightful commentary from the mellifluous Dr. Wesch. In his words:

I started sitting down with my students to hear their stories …  This is where you get to hear some of those stories, and hear stories about my latest endeavor of becoming a student again.

A Chronicle article/podcast about the program says Wesch was trying to get to know his students better, but in this podcast I hear someone grappling with a midlife crisis. Looking through the lens of a participant observer, he compares his personal struggles with what students face outside the classroom in their college years. I found the program moving. It’s perfect for a college faculty member at the beginning of a new school year.

I normally can’t listen to a podcast for an hour straight. In this case the pacing is excellent, the audio is authentic, and the program is technically well-edited. I’m not surprised that it took six months to produce. The only downside for an old guy like me is that you hear a lot of “like”.

I’m a fan of Dr. Wesch, who is an anthropology professor at Kansas State. His teaching was recognized nationally in 2008 with the Carnegie Professor of the Year award, and he has done a lot to help college faculty understand what’s going on in students’ heads. Mike isn’t promising when the next episode will  appear; he’s hoping it might only take two months. As one would expect from Wesch, the podcast website has a place for listeners to contribute their own stories.

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