Lehigh University’s radio station, WLVR 91.3 FM, is featuring a new segment that gives listeners a chance to learn more about Lehigh’s professors.
Called “Prof Talk,” this segment gives a different professor the chance each week to discuss his or her work inside and outside of the classroom.
“We interview Lehigh professors whose careers may seem more interesting and students might not get to speak with them on a regular basis if they’re not in their classes,” said Michael Procida, ’15, a member of the WLVR executive board and a disc jockey on Wednesday nights.
The “Prof Talk” segment was not Procida’s idea, he said, but he did recommend the segment’s first guest: John Grogan, an adjunct professor in the department of journalism. Procida is taking Grogan’s first-person nonfiction narrative writing course and thought he was a professor with an interesting career who Lehigh students would like to hear about. Grogan was receptive to the idea and the first segment aired on April 12.
Grogan is a journalist and writer of the books “Marley & Me” and “The Longest Trip Home.” His interview on “Prof Talk” covered the process of writing “Marley & Me” and his involvement in the movie adaptation. Grogan also discussed how he wrote “The Longest Trip Home” in Linderman Library, which led to him becoming an adjunct professor here.
One lesson he hoped to impart on listeners was the difficulty, yet importance, of being able to write.
“It takes a lot of hard work and discipline, but every person, regardless of your discipline, needs to be able to communicate in writing and the effective writers are the ones who go places in this world,” Grogan said. “So it doesn’t matter if you’re an English major or a chemistry major, good writing matters.”
The second guest to appear on “Prof Talk” was adjunct professor Dr. Silagh White, the director of arts engagement and community cultural affairs at Lehigh. In addition to her administrative role, she also teaches two courses in entrepreneurial communications for creative industries and art, entrepreneurship and community. White was approached to be on the segment by WLVR station manager A.J. Fritzinger during a panel for her class at Godfrey Daniels music listening room. She told Fritzinger, however, that she was not a full-time professor.
“My teaching is very much not a part of my job description at all,” White said. “I just have this wonderful opportunity to share what I do in a practice to give students a perspective of not just theory, but application.”
She and Fritzinger discussed the campus environment in regards to supporting the arts and the relationship between Lehigh and the community, a topic that is important to White. They also talked about her work and how she came to teach at Lehigh. She said she rarely talks about how she came to Lehigh, so she enjoyed getting to discuss it.
Both Grogan and White said they did not receive any feedback from students, faculty or staff because they don’t know if anybody heard their segments. Procida said he was told his segment with Grogan went very well and that WLVR received calls of praise from listeners when the segment first aired.
Grogan thinks “Prof Talk” is an important feature to introduce the Lehigh community to a variety of voices that students might not get to hear otherwise.
“I think it’s great to open the discussion up and let everyone meet and get to know different professors around the campus community,” he said. “I think it’s important for the people who live around the university to get a taste of what goes on here.”
White said he hopes the series takes off because he thinks it’s interesting to talk to faculty members and get to know them better.
The final segment of the semester is planned to air May 3 at 11 a.m. and feature journalism professor Imaani El-Burki.