By: Melissa Bischoff

11 Must-Listen Higher Ed Podcasts

Check out this list of 11 colleges and universities creating unique, subscribe-worthy podcasts. It just might inspire a podcast of your own.

Marketing & Branding /
By: Melissa Bischoff

9 minutes

For schools serious about content marketing, podcasting is becoming harder and harder to ignore. According to consumer research from Edison, podcasting listenership has only continued to rise — 26% of Americans now listen to podcasts monthly and 44% of Americans have ever listened to a podcast. Even more compelling than the sheer number of podcast listeners is recent data showing this audience to be highly engaged. On average, 90% of a given episode is completed and 75% of listeners take action on a sponsored message, reports NPR.

Higher education may be notoriously slow to adapt to change, but that’s certainly not holding some schools back from reaching the growing audience of people regularly interacting with podcasts. After searching for schools getting their feet wet with podcasting and a lot of listening hours, we zeroed in on 11 schools using podcasting in new and creative ways. What follows is a list of colleges and universities creating unique podcasts worthy of hitting ‘subscribe.’

Longwood University

The podcast: Day After Graduation

What it’s about: Produced by Longwood’s Office of Alumni and Career Services, Day After Graduation shares the tales of Longwood alumni and friends’ real-world personal and professional experiences. From triumph to tribulation, episodes tackle topics including everything from a ‘17 U.S. Cyclocross national champion to the 20+ year unsolved case of an alum’s disappearance. With two seasons in the books, Day After Graduation continues to surprise and delight its audience by revealing the unique lives of their guests.

Who it’s for: Primarily intended to inform soon-to-be and recent grads, Day After Graduation casts a much wider net with its commitment to superior storytelling.

Why we love it: One thing’s for sure, this podcast boasts an impressive production quality — mirroring its format after the likes of NPR’s This American Life. Quality, combined with a healthy supply of thought-provoking topics, make for an undeniable recipe for success for Longwood.

“Telling the aha moments and unique experiences of Longwood alumni and friends has allowed us to tell stories that better explain life after college. Although producing the Day After Graduation has been extremely challenging and required acquiring lots of new knowledge, the show has brought great joy to our team and the Longwood community.” – Ryan Catherwood, Assistant Vice President, Alumni and Career Services

Bentley University

The podcast: Counter Offer

What it’s about: Counter Offer promises to help you learn to love Mondays by guiding you towards finding a career you truly love. Hosts Susan Brennan and Alyssa Hammond are both veteran career services professionals at Bentley University, and they use their expertise, along with input from special guests, to guide you step-by-step through everything you need to know to thrive in your career.

Who it’s for: The great thing about this podcast is that even though it’s hosted by the career services team at a university, it’s not focused exclusively on students looking for their first job. The issues and advice discussed on the podcast are relevant to people at all stages of their career.

Why we love it: Susan and Alyssa’s chemistry as hosts make this show just as entertaining as it is informative. The advice they give to job seekers is based on data and years of experience, which translates to real results for listeners.

Harvard Business School

The podcast: Cold Call

What it’s about: Using its legendary Case Method as inspiration, the team at Harvard Business School has launched the Cold Call podcast to shed light on some of its faculty’s most interesting and thought-provoking cases. Each episode aims to put you in the shoes of a decision-maker from one of today’s leading organizations in order to promote collaborative critical thinking. The Cold Call series offers everyone the chance to hear from the esteemed faculty at HBS as they share a behind-the-scenes look at the development of each case as well as the conversations that emerged while teaching it.  Hosted bimonthly by HBS Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, Brian Kenny, each episode only lasts 10-12 minutes — just enough time to get your own gears turning.

Who it’s for: While recommended for prospective students considering an MBA, this podcast can appeal to both novice and veteran business practitioners who crave the opportunity to continually learn.  

Why we love it: When you combine a knowledgeable host with accomplished faculty talking about highly-regarded and successful leaders in today’s leading organizations, it’s hard not to feel inspired and motivated. However, Cold Call goes beyond traditional thought leadership, offering insights into modern business challenges that resonate with diverse audiences and prompt further conversations among listeners.

NYU College of Global Public Health

The podcast: 5% and Falling

What it’s about: Brought to you by the NYU College of Global Health, 5% and Falling explores the public health crises that are threatening our families, our communities, and our collective future. Typically running 30-40 minutes long, each episode tells a story through the eyes of people devoting their careers to analyzing, uncovering, and inventing new solutions to specific health issues affecting our society.

Who it’s for: 5% and Falling isn’t just for people interested in the work of the NYU College of Global Health such as prospective students, students, and alumni. Rather, the breadth and depth of topics covered on the show make it a compelling listen for anyone passionate about public health.

Why we love it: This podcast covers complex topics in a way that is compelling and relatable. There aren’t many podcasts that focus exclusively on public health issues, which make 5% and Falling a welcome breath of fresh air in the podcasting space.

“Some stories don’t really fit within the typical 60-second social media snippet. Podcasting is a unique medium because it gives us the opportunity to highlight the amazing public health work of our faculty and alumni, and do so with the depth, intensity, and intimacy of long-form audio.” – Chris Alexander, Director of Communications and Promotion, NYU School of Public Health

Northwestern University

The podcast: Planet Lex

What it’s about: Podcasting from the Northwestern Pritzker School of Law in Chicago, Planet Lex is a series of conversations about the law today and its role within the ever-changing global, societal, and technological landscapes.

Who it’s for: Planet Lex handles the complex subject matter in a way that is accessible enough for prospective lawyers just dipping their toes into the legal world, but also sophisticated enough for more experienced lawyers.

Why we love it: Dean Daniel B. Rodriguez is a natural host, and discussions are based on timely topics related to law and the legal profession. This podcast gives prospective students a peek behind the curtain at the types of classroom discussions they would have as law students.

“The Northwestern Law community is full of legal minds with thoughtful and surprising insights into some of today’s most pressing societal issues. The goal of Planet Lex has always been to allow listeners outside the Law School to hear from the likes of Newt Minow, Scott Turow, and some of today’s foremost legal scholars and legal entrepreneurs, and it’s a joy to have the opportunity to ask questions and have meaningful conversations on behalf of our listeners.” – Daniel B. Rodriguez, Dean and Harold Washington Professor, Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law

Marquette University

The podcast: Marquette in Milwaukee

What it’s about: The name of this podcast really says it all. Marquette in Milwaukee is all about the connections between Marquette University and the city it calls home. Hosted by President and engineer Mike Lovell, topics of discussion include community engagement and economic development in Milwaukee.

Who it’s for: This podcast mainly appeals to people with close ties to Marquette University or the city of Milwaukee. Prospective and current students, parents, faculty, and alumni interested in topics shaping the future of Milwaukee will find this podcast engaging and enlightening.

Why we love it: President Lovell’s passion for civic engagement, the city of Milwaukee, and Marquette University shine through in every episode of this podcast, making it an authentic endorsement of the school itself and its commitment to cultivating a true community.

Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania

The podcast: Knowledge@Wharton

What it’s about: Broadcast live from the Wharton School’s historic Ivy League campus, Knowledge@Wharton is a business podcast featuring interviews with world-renowned Wharton professors, distinguished alumni, and accomplished guests. Hosted by Dan Loney, the show provides an expert analysis of current business trends and newsworthy topics.

Who it’s for: Anyone seeking up-to-date business insights and intelligence from some of the most knowledgeable people in the world will find this podcast useful. If you listen to NPR’s Planet Money or The Daily, from The New York Times, then chances are you won’t regret subscribing to Knowledge@Wharton.

Why we love it: Knowledge@Wharton is great because of how frequently the episodes are published. Since it’s broadcast daily, the show has the opportunity to touch on industry news and emerging trends while they are most relevant.

Skidmore College

The podcast: This is Skidmore

What it’s about: You could say we have a fairly intimate knowledge of the This is Skidmore podcast, having interviewed host Jackie Vetrano on our own Hashtag Higher Ed podcast. This is Skidmore invites guests from around campus and the community to share their stories about why they choose to study or work at Skidmore, what makes the College unique, and interesting research and academic work happening on campus.

Who it’s for: While geared primarily toward prospective students, their audience also includes alumni, faculty, and industry professionals.

Why we love it: Never short of interesting topics and boasting a variety of guest speakers, we also love this podcast for its dedication to telling an authentic story. Conversations are natural and organic, with limited editing, which ensures listeners hear anecdotes as they were told.  

“This is Skidmore is such a fun way to share what makes the college so amazing to be a part of. Each episode highlights something completely different about Skidmore than the one before it, so there’s something for everyone. Prospective students and families start to understand what it means to be a Thoroughbred, current students can hear their friends and valued professors, and alumni can stay connected to a place they call home.” – Jackie Vetrano, Online Marketing and Social Media Manager, University of North Carolina. Formerly Social Media Coordinator at Skidmore College

Stanford Engineering

The podcast: The Future of Everything

What it’s about: From “Frankenstein’s Impact on Science” to “Cybersecurity,” episodes of The Future of Everything discuss the evolution of technology, science, and medicine and how each affects our lives. Stanford bioengineer Russ Altman hosts this interview-style podcast alongside a variety of esteemed and passionate guests that will have you captivated from the moment you hit play.

Who it’s for: “Calling all curious minds!” The Future of Everything will entertain, inform, and inspire those with a passion for uncovering the why and how of anything tech, medicine, or science related.

Why we love it: Stellar production quality aside, we love this podcast for its commitment to relevant topics and its supporting cast of knowledgeable guests. Moreover, Altman’s tone and pace keep us thoroughly engaged throughout episodes and always excited for the next in queue.

“SiriusXM approached Stanford communications and they knew me well enough to know that I would likely be interested in this show. I am doing it because I feel it is important to make science and technology (as well as other pursuits within universities) understandable and relatable for the general public. I’m worried about public understanding of science, and thought I could use any skills I have in translating complex technical ideas into understandable content—and that it would be fun. It has been incredibly fun and I am gratified by the interest folks have shown.” – Russ Altman, Professor, bioengineering, genetics, medicine, and biomedical data science, Stanford University

Campbell University

The podcast: Rhymes with Orange

What it’s about: Launched in Fall ‘17, Rhymes with Orange explores the topic of people at Campbell University. Inspired by the “hallway stories” of extraordinary people at Campbell, co-hosts Billy Liggett and Leah Jarvis set out to tackle the art of storytelling around campus. Featuring guests ranging from professors and staff to students and alumni, Rhymes with Orange uncovers the who, what, and why behind their guests’ history with the small, private university in Buies Creek, North Carolina.

Who it’s for: Tailored to those with close ties to Campbell, Rhymes with Orange might also appeal to prospective students or faculty curious for an insider’s perspective.

Why we love it: Because the focus is on storytelling, one can’t help but get wrapped up in Billy and Leah’s charismatic demeanor and comfortable approach. The podcast also boasts a charming and diverse group of guests, each offering unique tellings of their experience with Campbell.

“Campbell University is a tight-knit community, and we wanted our podcast to show this and to become another way for us to share the stories of our faculty, staff, alumni and students. Everyone has a story. We’ve just been lucky that most of our guests have had pretty interesting ones.” – Billy Liggett, Director of News & Publications, Campbell University

Notre Dame

The podcast: Notre Dame Stories

What it’s about: Notre Dame Stories features interviews with faculty members who can offer insights into some of the major national and international stories of the day. The podcast also explores research done by faculty members and highlights the work and life of students at the University.

Who it’s for: While it’s still young and budding, the Notre Dame Stories podcast promises to be an excellent listen for anyone looking to stay informed and learn from nuanced and well-researched perspectives on current issues. 

Why we love it: We love the Notre Dame Stories podcast for its pursuit of timely issues through the research, lives, and stories of individuals at the University. We look forward to tuning in for future episodes!

Do you have a favorite higher ed podcast that isn’t on our list? Tag us on Twitter @eCityInteract to let us know what you’re listening to, and follow us by tuning in to the #HigherEd Podcast.

Melissa Bischoff

Melissa Bischoff

Content Marketing Specialist

Melissa Bischoff is a Content Marketing Specialist at eCity Interactive, a content-first digital agency. At eCity, she strategizes and implements a variety of digital marketing campaigns for the agency and its growing roster of clients. When she’s not busy blogging for work, Melissa enjoys hiking, traveling, and blogging for fun. You can connect with Melissa on LinkedIn.

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