Microcollege Podcast

MICROCOLLEGE is an exploration of the crisis in higher education and the innovative projects and thinkers working to address it, with a special focus on the human-scaled, place-based, meaning-oriented learning communities we call microcolleges. The podcast is hosted by Jacob Hundt, Founder of Thoreau College, a microcollege initiative rooted in the Driftless Region of rural southwestern Wisconsin, and inspired by the model of Deep Springs College, the pedagogy of the Waldorf schools, and the life of Henry David Thoreau. This is a podcast for thoughtful, motivated teenagers and young adults who are disappointed by the options available to them in post-secondary education, as well as their teachers, parents, counselors, and mentors, and anyone interested in the quality of higher education and its role within our culture. Listeners will be introduced to new ideas and alternative opportunities for post-secondary education, as well as thoughtful criticism of mainstream models and practices at colleges and universities. Listeners will discover exciting educational programs to apply to, books to read, and thinkers to learn more about.

You can listen the podcast here through RSS, on the website of WDRT 91.9 FM or on Spotify, Apple podcasts, Google podcasts, and many other podcast services.


Thank you to Jim Hallberg and the whole team at WDRT 91.9 FM Driftless Community Radio for hosting Microcollege!  Please support WDRT and your local community radio station wherever you live!

September 27, 2022

Episode #12: Bridget O’Brien, Dr. Charlie Brennan – Permaculture, Praxis, and Play

Jacob speaks with Bridget O'Brien and Dr. Charlie Brennan of the Garden Juju Collective, as they take us on a foray into the world and practice of Permaculture: in agriculture, education, and life. Bridget O'Brien is the director of Resilient Spirals LLC and co-founder of the Garden Juju Collective. Bridget’s studies and work focuses on the design of personal well-being, community building, and land use, through cultivating a range of regenerative applied skills in design, facilitation, horticulture, eco-landscaping, food growing, Permaculture, fermentation and yoga. Dr. Charlie Brennan is the co-founder of Garden Juju Collective, with over 30 years of applied experience in gardening, farming, landscape design, conservation, horticulture, permaculture, and forest, river, and Australian bush regeneration, Garden Juju Collective offers a range of in-person and online workshops, presentations, services and packages. These draw together design, facilitation, social ecology, food justice, permaculture, conservation, re-wilding, sustainability, environmental education, ecopsychology and deep respect for Indigenous land and culture.

Garden Juju Collective: https://gardenjujucollective.com/

September 20, 2022

Episode #11: David W. Orr – Ecological Literacy in Higher Education

This week on Microcollege, David Orr makes his case for the importance of higher education that keeps the Earth in mind. David W. Orr is the Paul Sears Distinguished Professor of Environmental Studies and Politics Emeritus at Oberlin College, and presently Professor of Practice at Arizona State University. Orr is one of the original advocates of microcolleges whose work focuses on ecological literacy, sustainable design, and eco-friendly practices in American higher education.

Read Orr’s latest essay, “A New Agenda for Higher Ed” on the forum of the Great Transition Initiative: https://www.greattransition.org/gti-forum/pedagogy-transition-orr

Other works by David W. Orr: https://bookshop.org/contributors/david-w-orr

September 13, 2022

Episode #10: Steve Lawless on Service Learning, Adventure Education, and the Merry Green Marvel

Steve and Jacob strike a rich vein of conversation in the topic of service learning, from its origins to its applications in the world of higher education today. Steve Lawless has an M.A. in Education, and has taught in many settings including as a traditional writing and literature teacher on Native American reservations, farm schools, alternative middle and high schools and a Waldorf school. From his nearly thirty years of teaching and facilitating adventure and service learning experiences, Steve has an infectious enthusiasm for taking learning outside the classroom. He is currently the proprietor of Sittin Pretty Farm in Viroqua, WI and the man behind the wheel of the Merry Green Marvel, a rolling community of adventure and service.
September 6, 2022

Episode #9: Nathaniel Williams, Stefan Ambrose – MC Richards Program at Free Columbia

Tune in this week for a discussion between Nathaniel Williams and Stefan Ambrose of the Free Columbia initiative in upstate New York as they describe the origins of the program and its pedagogy. Nathaniel Williams is the co-founder of Free Columbia with Laura Summer. He studied visual art and marionette theater in Basel, Switzerland, graduating with a certificate in visual art from the neueKUNSTschule in 2002. He has a PhD in Political Science from the University at Albany and works as a performer, teacher and artist. Stefan Ambrose is the director of the MC Richards program at Free Columbia. He grew up in the shimmering heat of central Florida’s Green Swamp region, spending his youth immersed in the dark marsh water and sugar sand forests of old Florida. Stefan has studied Goethean science with the Nature Institute of Ghent, New York, storytelling at the International School of Storytelling at Emerson College, United Kingdom, and has trained extensively in Rogerian empathic dialogue and humanistic psychology through Satvatove Institute.

Free Columbia/MC Richards Program: https://www.freecolumbia.org/

August 30, 2022

Episode #8: Austin Smith – Leaving Stanford, Coming Home

The poet Austin Robert Smith joins Microcollege for an examination of the current state of higher education and the role of poetry in a liberal arts education and otherwise. Austin Smith is a poet and formerly a Jones Lecturer at Stanford University. He grew up on a family dairy farm in northwestern Illinois before receiving a BA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, an MA from the University of California-Davis, and an MFA from the University of Virginia. Austin's poems have appeared in The New Yorker, Poetry Magazine, Yale Review, Sewanee Review, Ploughshares, New England Review, Poetry East, ZYZZYVA, Pleiades, Virginia Quarterly Review, 32 Poems and Threepenny Review, amongst others. His most recent collection of poetry, Flyover Country, a celebration of the rural Midwest and small-town life, is available through Princeton University Press.

Flyover Country, Available Now: Flyover Country

Substack: Poem-a-Day

August 23, 2022

Episode #7: Julie Tomaro, Nicholas WazeeGale – Folk Schools, Skills, and Knowledge

Julie Tomaro and Nicholas WazeeGale are both instructors at the Driftless Folk School in rural southwestern Wisconsin. Their dialogue this week revolves around the Folk School tradition in America, some of their life experiences leading to their involvement in one, and the important role a Folk school can play in helping to build personal and cultural resilience. Julie Tomaro is the owner of Blue Bobbin Studio in Viroqua. Julie has been sewing and crafting for most of her life, though more recently her journey has led her to take these skills into the world of sustainability and reaching towards zero waste. Through sewing for herself and her community she has found a new platform to empower others reaching for those goals themselves. Nicholas WazeeGale has been a lifelong student of Nature, traditional culture, and sustainability. He is passionate about Nature observation, living closely with the Earth and natural rhythms, hunting and gathering, craft and handwork, and community. He resides in the Driftless region with his wife and children and has taught for DFS, the Kickapoo Valley Reserve, and independently for almost 20 years. He is a certified wilderness guide, holds a level three track and sign certificate through CyberTracker, and he and his wife earn their livelihood teaching outdoor skills and hand crafts, running summer camps, and selling fine handcrafts through their business, WildRoots HandCrafts.

Blue Bobbin Studio website: https://www.bluebobbinstudio.com/

Blue Bobbin Studio Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/bluebobbinstudio/

Wildroots Handcrafts website: https://www.wildrootshandcrafts.com/

Wildroots Handcrafts Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/wildroots.handcrafts/

Driftless Folk School: https://www.driftlessfolkschool.org/

Folk Education Association of America: https://www.folkschoolalliance.org/

August 16, 2022

Episode #6: Ciaran Willis – Rethinking Remote Learning at A Place Beyond

Ciarán Willis speaks about his experiences leading up to the foundation of A Place Beyond, a unique approach to the remote learning boom prompted by the Covid-19 pandemic. Ciarán is currently the operations director at Deep Springs College. Prior to founding A Place Beyond, he was born and raised in Portland, Oregon and studied English Literature at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. He lectured English at the University of Finance and Economics in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia; and he is a faculty member at NOLS, instructing mountaineering, rock climbing, backcountry skiing, and adaptive leadership throughout the Western US and Alaska.

Deep Springs College: https://www.deepsprings.edu/

A Place Beyond: https://www.aplacebeyond.com/

National Outdoor Leadership School: https://www.nols.edu/en/


August 9, 2022

Episode #5: Dr. Sue Darlington – Deep Springs College and the Edge of Academia

On this episode of Microcollege, guest Sue Darlington and Jacob discuss the story of Deep Springs College and its subtle but resounding societal impact during its 105-year existence. Sue Darlington is the current president of Deep Springs College, and former professor of Anthropology and Asian Studies at Hampshire College, where she taught for 30 years. Her research focuses on socially-engaged Buddhism, with particular attention to environmentalism and Buddhism in Thailand.

Deep Springs College: https://www.deepsprings.edu/

August 2, 2022

Episode #4: Lucien Dante Lazar – Art and Anthroposophy as a Pedagogy for Self-Development

Lucien joins Microcollege for a conversation about the intersections between art, spirituality, and education, as well as his artistic process and the divine wisdom with which his work is infused. Lucien Dante Lazar is a multi-disciplinary artist, musician, essayist, poet, social worker, philosopher, and anthroposophist from Evanston, IL.
July 26, 2022

Episode #3: Dr. Julie Shackleford and the International People’s College – Denmark

Dr. Julie Shackelford discusses the origins of the Scandinavian Folk High School movement and its applications to a wide range of issues facing students and educators today. Dr. Julie Shackelford is an academic, writer, polyglot, anthropologist, Wisconsin native, and a teacher at the International People’s College in Elsinore, Denmark.

International People’s College: https://ipc.dk/

Folk Education Association of America: https://www.folkschoolalliance.org/

Association of Folk High Schools in Denmark: https://danishfolkhighschools.com/

Find Julie on linkedin: www.linkedin.com/in/julie-shackelford

July 19, 2022

Episode #2: Jacob Rowland, Liam McGilligan – Thoreau College Alumni Reflections

Thoreau College alumni Liam McGilligan and Jacob Rowland outline their educational upbringing and reflect on their experiences at Thoreau College versus other more traditional institutions of higher education. Jacob Rowland is an alumnus of Thoreau College who is currently enrolled at Oberlin College, with interests in philosophy and literature. Liam McGilligan is an alumnus of the Guthrie Theater Actor Training Program at the University of Minnesota and Thoreau College, and the producer of this podcast.
July 14, 2022

Episode #1: Jacob Hundt – An Introduction to Microcolleges and Thoreau College

Podcast host Jacob Hundt provides an introduction to the concept of “microcolleges” as an alternative to traditional forms of higher education and discusses the origins and inspirations of Thoreau College Jacob Hundt is the Founder and Director of Thoreau College in Viroqua, Wisconsin. Growing up on a dairy farm in the Driftless region of southwestern Wisconsin, and as a founding student at the Youth Initiative High School, Jacob gathered inspiration for transformation in higher education through his studies at Deep Springs College, the American University in Bulgaria, and the University of Chicago. He has been a Waldorf high school teacher, run a small farm, and is the father of 4 children.

Podcast host Jacob Hundt provides an introduction to the concept of “microcolleges” as an alternative to traditional forms of higher education and discusses the origins and inspirations of Thoreau College.  Jacob is the Founder and Director of Thoreau College.  He grew up on a dairy farm in the Driftless region of southwestern Wisconsin, and as a founding student at the Youth Initiative High School, Jacob gathered inspiration for transformation in higher education through his studies at Deep Springs College, the American University in Bulgaria, and the University of Chicago.  He has been a Waldorf high school teacher, run a small farm, and is the father of 4 children.

Comments? Questions? Ideas for Future Shows? Get in Touch!

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