The dean of Richmond College, Joe Boehman, has long been dedicated to connecting with students regarding anything from academic inquiries to personal struggles. In July 2023, he embarked on a brand new journey to reach as many students as possible by starting a podcast series.
He created “Deanology” to expand on the topics covered in the “Good Morning, Spiders” series (daily videos on the Richmond College Instagram) making the podcast episodes “bite-sized” so that they could be listened to while on the go, he said. He chose a format of ten-minute segments because he would not have to try to stretch the topics beyond their natural ending point. To date, he has released twenty episodes.
The idea for the podcast came to him while contemplating holding his first-year seminar entitled “How to College”. He struggled to come up with ideas, finding that nothing he tried to develop piqued his interest.
“If it doesn’t grab you as a professor, it won’t ever grab your students,” Boehman said. “When I commit to something, I commit to doing it full-on, and being a dean is a huge commitment.”
Junior Sydney Boehman, Dean Boehman’s daughter, is excited to see how the podcast may impact the community.
“It is helpful for students because he talks about a lot of life advice and just general things that I think students need,” Sydney Boehman said. “Plus people can always suggest something if they want to have him discuss it. I also think it makes him seem less ‘scary dean’ and more ‘let me help you’ kind of dean.’”
Boehman said he understands that his advice may not be pertinent at that exact moment an episode airs, but that listeners could use what they heard from him in the future and understand his perspective.
“Hear me now, listen to me later, believe me next week,” he said, quoting the SNL duo Hans & Franz. He always tells students something hoping they hear it, listen to it later and then implement it afterward.
One recent episode focuses on creating “intentions” for the new year instead of the popular idea of resolutions. In the episode, he also discusses creating intentions at any time, not just at the beginning of the year or the semester. He mentions “screen-free Saturdays,” money-saving strategies and “Morning Pages,” inspired by Julia Cameron’s book “The Artist’s Way.” He describes it as writing “three pages of stream-of-consciousness thoughts every morning” to “declutter your thinking” and “generate creative ideas.”
Roben Farzad, a podcast host and journalist-in-residence at the Robins School of Business, finds that Joe Boehman’s choice to split the podcast into 10-minute episodes is a great fit for this new age where everyone is constantly on the move. Farzad’s podcast episodes are up to 52 minutes long, which he believes can be a long commitment for listeners, especially students.
Farzad believes it would be helpful for a student to be connected to someone like the college's dean in this way.
“Dean Boehman’s podcast transcends the hierarchy that exists between administrators and students,” Farzad said.
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The next episode of “Deanology” will air on Feb. 7, 2024.
Contact writer Lukyan Oppedisano at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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