Host Ali Oshinskie loves school. But in her sophomore year, she took a lecture hall class that changed everything: the distance between the professor and the students made her wonder, do these people even care? Since then, she’s found professors who’ve changed the learning experience and she’s taking us on a tour of the people who’ve become more than someone who assigns a grade. This is Professors Are People Too.

Other Episodes!

Episode 5: Victoria Ford Smith

Episode 4: Dwight Codr

Season 2: Introduction

Episode 3: Sean Forbes

Episode 2: Cathy Schlund-Vials

Episode 1: Gina Barreca

Please subscribe in iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play or wherever you get your podcasts. So many options!

Music (from

  • Podington Bear – Boop
  • Podington Bear – Dry Air
  • Podington Bear – Dowl



ALI OSHINSKIE, HOST: On the first day of my sophomore year of college, I walked across campus toward my first ever lecture hall class. I didn’t smell the crunchy Fall air or feel the quick and low rush of breeze that signaled the beginning of the school year. But I wish I did.

Don’t get me wrong, I love summer, I would never wish for its speedy demise or summon the First Day of School any sooner. But now that I was here, moved-in and books purchased, I couldn’t wait for the academic rush to return. I’m a question-asker, I’m curious and frankly, I kinda love school. I’m that annoying girl who first name might as well be “Any Questions?”

So I was excited to learn about what gray matter was and what all my subconscious desires were in Psych 1000 that fall.


OSHINSKIE: But that morning, as I pulled back the heavy door of Laurel 101, a lecture hall, capacity 200, rose up in front of me


OSHINSKIE: and put me face to face with my biggest academic fear: getting lost in a sea of students. I sank into a chair. Even from the front row, the distance between myself in the professor stretched miles. Emails and office hours couldn’t bridge the gap that semester. After the third week, this distance was the place where I would I stop caring about what the hypothalamus was; after the sixth week, what might be on the midterm and by the end of the semester, my education. And if this distance didn’t work for me, how could it work for the students in the last row? I turned to my friends for advice, they said it was my fault, I shouldn’t have chosen that professor. Not only did this course leave a divot in my GPA, it reminded me that I was small on campus and maybe even small in the classroom. I thought about what my friends said. What did the professor matter? The curriculum was the same, the textbooks were the same, so how could two sections of the one class be that different?


OSHINSKIE: Could a professor really change the learning experience?


OSHINSKIE: This is a show about coming back from that place, it’s about finding by sheer academic luck brilliant, inspirational professors whose best lesson was not analyzing poetry but reminding their students, reminding me that being at UConn didn’t make me one of 18,000 students: it made me one of their students. Join me this semester as I interview some of my favorite professors. Through office hours and cups of coffee, personal stories, and professional flaws, I’ll take you on a tour of the professors of the English department to find the person behind the Ph.D.  I’m Ali Oshinskie and this is




OSHINSKIE: Professors are People Too