The University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) offers a variety of podcasts for faculty, staff, students, and alumni to enjoy. We asked the hosts of some of the University’s podcasts — “The UMB Pulse,” “The Table with the Intercultural Center at UMB,” “Moving the Needle,” and “Palliative Care Chat” — about why their podcasts started, memorable episodes, and memorable guests.
The UMB Pulse
Charles Schelle, lead social media specialist, UMB Office of Communications and Public Affairs (OCPA)
Dana Rampolla, director of integrated marketing, OCPA
Jena Frick, senior media relations specialist, OCPA
Description: This season of “The UMB Pulse” podcast is featuring stories about how UMB is taking creative action to overcome barriers and solve social problems through interviews with change makers — people making a difference in our community, state, country, and the world.
Episodes available (as of March 25): 14
When does it release: First Friday of the month
How did the podcast come about: It was born out of the desire to provide people with a regular audio recap of COVID-19 policy updates. Like with most news and information, you can’t just “feed people their vegetables.” You need to include something “sweet and savory to chew on.” That’s where the interviews came in — to bring life to what happens in person at UMB.
Purpose of podcast: At its onset, “The UMB Pulse” was a mechanism for people to obtain informative, timely, and transparent “Return to Campus” communications as faculty, staff, and students navigated from teleworking and telelearning to an in-person or hybrid model — a way to get back in touch with the heartbeat of UMB after more than a year of disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
It felt like we had COVID whiplash over the course of a semester-and-a-half with how everything locked down and opened up again. As time went on, we began focusing on UMB people and programs that are making an impact on people’s lives.
Memorable episode: The PATIENTS Program was a memorable episode because our guests shed so much light on not only what the PATIENTS Program is, but also how it came to be and how it is presenting opportunities for neighborhood residents.
Memorable guest: Meeting new employees at UMB is always exciting, especially when they’re breaking new ground upon their arrival.
Talking to Diane Forbes Berthoud, PhD, MA, vice president and chief equity, diversity, and inclusion officer, felt like we were hanging on every word she was saying. Her upbringing, her professional journey, her expertise in the field, and her hopes and plans for UMB inspired all of us, and we were excited to have a front-row seat to her arrival. We enjoyed it so much, it is our only interview to be divided into two episodes!
Anecdote: As hosts of the podcast, we really enjoy working with each other and meeting new people from in and around the UMB community, so this naturally comes with a lot of fun and funny moments. Oftentimes, once we stop recording, we get a bit more information from a guest, such as the continuation of part of an especially interesting conversational element. One time that involved ghosts in the Police Department building.
One funny and somewhat unfortunate moment happened when we were recording our episode with our guests from the UMB Council for the Arts & Culture. We were so pumped to record the episode that we just started talking and one of us forgot to hit the record button. We talked for 45 minutes without realizing that none of the conversation was being recorded. Once realized, we not only had to break it to our guests, but we also had to schedule a second interview with them. It all worked out because it gave us a chance to sit down with them again and learn even more about the council and its initiatives. And, fortunately, everyone was collegial, and it opened the door for more behind-the-scenes talk about our own blunders and mishaps at various times in our careers.
Where to listen: Available everywhere and at umaryland.edu/pulse
The Table with the Intercultural Center at UMB
Courtney Jones Carney, MBA, DPA, executive director of intercultural leadership and engagement; director, Intercultural Center; and program director, Intercultural Leadership Post-Baccalaureate Certificate and Master of Science in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Leadership
Rosemary Ferreira, MEd, associate director, Intercultural Center
Editor and Producer: Angela Jackson, senior marketing specialist, UMB Student Affairs
Description: “The Table with the Intercultural Center at UMB” is a podcast that unpacks questions regarding race, ethnicity, culture, norms, and current events.
Episodes available (as of March 25): 13
When does it release: We were previously releasing episodes monthly, but they are now released bimonthly.
How did the podcast come about: In fall 2020, Courtney Jones Carney wanted to develop a digital asynchronous learning experience for students, staff, and faculty at UMB to engage in topics related to racial and ethnic identity development. For many higher education professionals who create co-curricular programming such as Courtney and Rosemary Ferreira, the COVID-19 pandemic taught us the importance of digital asynchronous learning materials that could be easily digestible for listeners as they drove home from school or work, washed the dishes, walked their dog, or performed other everyday tasks. We dabbled with the idea of making short videos, but ended up deciding to create a podcast. We collaborated with Angela Jackson and made it into a reality!
Purpose of podcast: The purpose is to provide UMB students, staff, and faculty, as well as any listener who may or may not be affiliated with the University, with the opportunity to unpack complex topics related to race, ethnicity, culture, norms, and current events on their own time.
Memorable episode: One of our most memorable (and most listened to) episodes is the “Why Are White American Women Posing as Black and Latinx Women?” episode with our guest Kyla Liggett-Creel, PhD, LCSW-C, clinical assistant professor at the University of Maryland School of Social Work. The idea for this topic came from a conversation between Courtney and Rosemary in the fall of 2020 when news of a white woman, Jessica Krug, an associate professor of history at George Washington University, went viral after she had been exposed as posing as an Afro-Latinx woman. This wasn’t the first time that a white woman had posed as a woman of color to reap benefits such as grants, awards, and job positions that are limited to people of color. In 2015, Rachel Dolezal also was exposed for posing as a Black woman and becoming a professor in African American studies and a chapter president for the NAACP. We wanted to unpack this phenomenon and to think critically about how race, ethnicity, gender, power, and privilege overlap. We had a wonderful guest, Dr. Liggett-Creel, who shared her personal lived experiences as a white woman living and working with communities of color. The three of us were able to theorize on why white women were posing as Black and Latinx women, which included discussing the discomfort that many white people experience when asked to think about their race and how posing as Black and Latinx women allowed white women such as Krug and Dolezal to not have to confront their whiteness.
Memorable guest: One of our most memorable guests was Rosemary’s mother, Maria Ferreira. The episode focused on social class and upward mobility and was organized as part autobiography, allowing Rosemary to examine her own story growing up working class, receiving a formal education, and becoming a higher education professional, and part interview with her mother. What we believe is so valuable about “The Table” is that we honor stories and lived experiences as valid forms of knowledge. While we have had experts in their fields with terminal degrees serve as guests, we also have had people like Rosemary’s mother, a working-class immigrant woman from the Dominican Republic, share her experiences with us as well.
Anecdote: During our interview with Reina Pomeroy, who was featured in the Colorism episode, the fire alarm went off in the SMC Campus Center. Luckily it was a drill, not an emergency, but we didn’t know that at the time. We had to quickly vacate the building, which cut the interview short. While we were obviously concerned about getting to safety, we also were moving down the stairwell discussing how we could get content for the questions we missed. It’s funny now because even in a pseudo-emergency, the podcast was given some priority.
Where to listen: Available on Apple, Spotify, and Google Podcasts; just search for The Table at UMB.
Moving the Needle
Host: Erin Hagar, MA, MFA, senior instructional designer/faculty development specialist, Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning
Description: When it comes to education these days, there’s a lot to think about: flipped classrooms, instructional technology, accreditation, authentic assessment, copyright, asynchronous learning, multimedia tools, hybrid learning. “Moving the Needle,” which premiered in December 2020, delivers frank conversations with instructors, learners, leaders, and creators about all things teaching and learning. Listen to their stories, learn from hard-won experience, and let these ideas help you move the needle in your own teaching.
Episodes available (as of March 25): 13
When does it release: Monthly (we took a break over the summer and may continue to do so during the summer)
How did the podcast come about and purpose of podcast: We wanted a more “on-demand” opportunity for faculty to engage with the center and connect with ideas for their teaching, as well as a way to showcase some of the interesting and transformative work that’s being done on campus and across the University System of Maryland.
Memorable episode: I’m a former Spanish instructor, and having Dr. Sandra Quezada talk about her experiences teaching medical Spanish for the School of Medicine was very memorable. We talked about the experience of being brand new at learning something and the vulnerability that comes with learning a language and how that can apply to other things we are teaching and learning.
Memorable guest: We just had our first non-UMB guest. Dr. Cynthia Cravens is the director of the Center for Teaching Excellence at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. We had a fantastic conversation about how something as seemingly perfunctory as the course syllabus can be a gateway into inclusive teaching.
Anecdote: I record out of my basement office, which was not designed for podcasting. Our producer, Sharon Gillooly, has been amazing at ensuring very high-quality audio. She’s sent me microphones and filters and all kinds of contraptions to help make sure we sound good. Because I am not gifted at mechanical things, every recording is this comical exercise in trying to attach the filter to my desk, which never works, and spacing the microphone and the papers just right and then turning knobs and dials on machines and twisting my body until the stars align and we finally sound good. It’s like a game of Twister with podcasting equipment. But we get it done, and Sharon is incredibly patient with me!
Where to listen: Available on all platforms
Palliative Care Chat
Host: Mary Lynn McPherson, PharmD, MA, MDE, BCPS, professor, University of Maryland School of Pharmacy, and program director, Online Graduate Studies in Palliative Care
Description: “Palliative Care Chat” is a podcast series that addresses all manner of topics and issues relevant to palliative care, which is providing supportive care for patients with serious illness and their families. We discuss the whole package — care of physical symptoms, psychological, social, spiritual, and programmatic issues. We’ve even developed a series within our podcast titled “Founders, Leaders and Futurists in Palliative Care,” interviewing approximately 35 professionals in the field. These individuals range from the early pioneers to those leading the profession today to the visionaries who can peek around the corner and see what’s coming.
Episodes available (as of March 25): 81. The podcast started in 2017.
When does it release: Approximately once a month
How did the podcast come about and purpose: As an idea to promote the field of palliative care, and to promote our outstanding graduate certificates, Master of Science, and PhD programs in palliative care.
Memorable episode: We’re particularly proud of the “Founders, Leaders and Futurists in Palliative Care” series. We interviewed every mover and shaker in the hospice and palliative care movement (except one who has passed away), and it’s truly a chronicle of the birth, evolution, and future prediction of this incredibly rapidly growing field.
Memorable guest: I was particularly taken with the conversation with Dr. Robert Twycross. Dr. Twycross was the protégé of Dr. Cicely Saunders, credited with being the founder of the modern hospice movement. Dr. Twycross is a huge data-driven individual, and he has had such an impact on the field.
Anecdote: It was just great fun hearing about how Dr. Twycross disproved the value of Brompton’s cocktail, and was influential, particularly from an evidence-based perspective, in the care of patients with a serious illness.
Where to listen: Available on all platforms