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A spirit that is not afraid

College advisors launch academics podcast

<p>&nbsp;Meredith Powell (left) and Jonathan Hallford (right) host the "Advising 2 Bits" podcast geared toward Auburn students in need of academic advice.&nbsp;</p>

 Meredith Powell (left) and Jonathan Hallford (right) host the "Advising 2 Bits" podcast geared toward Auburn students in need of academic advice. 

Auburn University advisors from three different colleges have started an advising podcast to help students and parents prepare for their advising sessions.

Meredith Powell, undergraduate academic advisor in the College of Sciences and Mathematics, and Jonathan Hallford, an advisor for the College of Liberal Arts, host the podcast called “Advising 2 Bits” where they discuss topics including financial aid and scholarships. 

“It’s meant to enhance, not replace an advising session,” Powell said.

The podcast is a resource for students to learn more about topics in depth before meeting with an advisor. Powell said she believes the podcast is a starting point for students. The advisors have already made episodes on topics such as competitive majors.

“We have limited time with each student, so that gets them to a starting point that is a little bit deeper than starting from scratch when they walk in,” Hallford said. 

Instead of meeting and talking in person, they meet on Zoom and record audio for the podcast through their own computers.

Branden Farmer, student services coordinator for the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering, completes the trio and works behind the scenes, managing and editing the podcast. 

“If we didn’t have Branden, honestly I don’t know that this thing would have gotten off the ground,” Powell said. 

They chose the podcast medium because they said that students often ignore emails and newsletters. The podcast is another resource for students who may retain information better through listening.

“If you’re someone who learns better by reading than picking up a pamphlet or going to a website, that’s great, but there’s so many students that do better by hearing it and retaining it better,” Powell said.

Farmer said he believes the conversation aspect of the podcast can draw students' attention to the topics being discussed.

“Instead of hearing a story or hearing a blurb that’s been put into a marketing machine you’re actually hearing a normal personalized conversation which is so much easier to pay attention to,” he said.

The group tries to record and post each episode to match the academic calendar. For each topic and service, they invite informed sources to discuss the topic for that episode. 

“We use the resources we’ve gained, the connections we’ve gained across campus to reach out and find the best person,” Hallford said. 

All three said they understand that they are not undergrad students and want to hear from students about the topics they are most interested in.

Farmer said he thinks it’s important for students to critique the university and the policies they set, but he wants those critiques to come from an informed perspective. The podcast is able to help students make these informed judgments, he said.

Powell said informing students is the common goal among the trio and that is why the podcast is important to her.

“Yeah, I work in COSAM and Branden is working in engineering and Jonathan works in liberal arts, but we can work across colleges and still have a common goal, that common drive,” she said. 

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Hallford agrees and said he believes the podcast brings another connection between students and advisors. 

They hope to continue to create podcast episodes into the next few years. They are looking at different topics to explore and may even talk with students in the future. Students and other listeners can recommend topics they want to hear about on their website. 

By exploring all these topics, they all are committed to bridging the gap of information from advisors to students and parents.

“As your advisor I may not be your last stop, but I’m a great first stop,” Powell said. 

The podcast can be found on streaming platforms Spotify, Apple Music and the "Advising 2 Bits" website.

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