Edward Burger is the president of Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas.

Jennifer Stayton is the anchor of “Morning Edition” on KUT, Austin’s NPR radio station.

Together the pair engage in thought-provoking conversation about higher education. It is a weekly podcast on KUT called “Higher Ed.”

“It’s a program that came about because Jennifer invited me on KUT my very first semester in starting at Southwestern,” says Burger.

“I had heard Dr. Burger speak before about math on a couple of occasions, and then when I read that he was coming to Southwestern, I said, ‘Well let’s do an interview, because he’s very funny, very smart, very intelligent,’” says Stayton.

And so it all began.

“We had such a great conversation that I think some people wondered, ‘Hey, these two can actually have some fun with an ongoing conversation,’” says Burger. 

Now they do—every week. They discuss a variety of topics, which are often requests that come from loyal listeners.

“The best questions come from the audience,” says Stayton. “We’ve gotten some really pointed questions like ‘Are letter grades really worth it anymore? Do we really even need letter grades? Why do we have them?’”

Each show also allows President Burger challenge Jennifer and his audience.

“We always have a math puzzler, which is a little nod to the fact that my discipline is mathematics, and Jennifer is so great with those,” says Burger.

Whether taping at Southwestern’s studio or down in Austin, each episode not only engages those tuning in, but also the stars of the show.

“I have to be thinking, learning, engaged,” says Stayton. “I find that carries with me beyond just the time that we’re talking and taping.”

You, too, can get inspired by listening in—just visit the podcast webpage.


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