Nine podcasts to check out to connect with VCU people, ideas, research and events

From the history of Richmond’s cemeteries to helping students cope with day-to-day life outside the classroom, these VCU podcasts explore a range of issues.

A person wearing headphones and holding a coffee cup and smartphone.
Numerous departments, faculty, staff and classes at VCU are using podcasts to teach and investigate concepts. (Getty Images)

Podcasts have taken off as a way to entertain and inform, with numerous departments, faculty, staff and classes at Virginia Commonwealth University embracing them as another way to disseminate ideas, teach and investigate concepts. While some of these digital audio files stand alone, others work as a series. Some act as vehicles to circulate notions in particular fields such as medicine or science. Others are lively conversations that juxtapose experts from different disciplines. 

A few of the podcasts on this list were recorded at The Workshop in the James Branch Cabell Library. While in-person help is unavailable until the university reopens, Eric Johnson, head of innovative media at VCU Libraries, said The Workshop staff is available to help anyone interested in working on podcasts. 

“There are a lot of clever approaches to recording at home and the like, and we're glad to share what we can. The Audio Production guide we've put together is just the start; we're also happy to consult,” Johnson wrote in an email. 

This array of podcasts provides access to the world of inquiry and knowledge as well as offering much to think about.

1. Abstract: Exploring Issues in Education is the podcast of the Metropolitan Educational Research Consortium at VCU where staffers and students explore issues in public pre-K through 12th-grade education with a special focus on the school divisions in the metropolitan Richmond area. The podcasts shine a light on equity issues and social justice. Notable for highlighting VCU School of Education’s reach and involvement in the community and drawing attention to key people in the Richmond education scene.

2. Civil Discourse is a podcast created by Nia Rodgers, public affairs research librarian at VCU Libraries, and John Aughenbaugh, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the Department of Political Science in the College of Humanities and Sciences, that uses federal documents to spark conversations about the workings of the government.

3. CompassPoint, from the Center for Public Policy in the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs, shines a light on government-focused research and programming.

4. EI on the Fly features voices of early intervention specialists. The counseling-focused content is a collaborative effort of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services through a contract with the Partnership for People with Disabilities, an affiliate of the School of Education at VCU. Speakers delve into issues such as functional assessment, implicit bias, active listening and intentional observation.

5. Richmond Cemeteries project created by students of Ryan K. Smith, Ph.D., a professor in the VCU Department of History, offers guides to individual graves in Richmond’s cemeteries and the history and dynamics of the city’s past. 

6. VCU Center for Sport Leadership features events and alumni of the program conversing about their journey in the world of athletics, coaching and the administration of sport.

7. VCU Health Podcasts feature “experts who share practical tips and the latest in technology, innovation and research to help you achieve optimal health and wellness,” from seeking emergency care during COVID-19 to reducing the risk of heart disease.

8. VCU School of Business – Creativity at Work spotlights people on creativity in their profession. By speaking with business leaders, innovators, faculty and staff, the hosts share and explore the various ways creative energy is generated in the workplace.

9. What the Well? podcast from the Division of Student Affairs focuses on life’s challenges for students and tips for coping with issues such as relationships, sexual health and spring break safety.

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