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October 30, 2023

Have You Listened to Exploring the Arts?

At New Saint Andrews College, we say the primary subjects you take are the professors themselves. Students don’t simply study history, they study Dr. Schlect. They don’t simply study music, they study Dr. Erb. So what are these teachers like? Who are the teachers that you will be studying? One place to find out about these teachers is the podcast show Exploring the Arts.

“It’s one thing to read about the sort of education that NSA offers,” Ian McMillen said. “And it’s another thing to actually get to see and know the people who are providing that education.” Ian co-hosts the show Exploring the Arts with Joel Thiele. Ian and Joel are current NSA students. On the podcast show, they sit down with NSA professors and discuss classes, academic careers, and the liberal arts. And a wide variety of other topics and stories. 

Over the last few months, they have had conversations with Dr. Chris Schlect, senior fellow of History, Dr. David Erb, fellow of Music, Dr. Jordan Dorney, fellow of History, and other guests. 

Joel said that he likes the long-form interview format, which allows them the freedom to explore a variety of topics with their guests. It opens the door to lots of interesting stories. He said, “Mr. Pinkall's stories about his persecution in China are insane.” Joel also mentioned the very end of the show with Dr. Erb saying, “It went off the rails a little bit, but you'll have to listen to it to see why.”

Ian said his favorite show was with Mr. Pinkall. The highlight for him was covering a vast amount of topics with Mr. Pinkall. Ian said, “I think that was a good model for what we want the show to be—giving viewers the chance to get to know the people we have on more deeply than they would in a quick passing conversation.”

“One of the main goals was to get a better sense of what kind of education students receive at NSA,” Joel said. “As well as the fascinating people they would be taught by.” He added that the show has helped people to gain a better understanding of the liberal arts program at NSA. He commented, “I've heard that the interviews helped inform a few of the new students' decision to come to the school, which is exactly what I had hoped would happen.”

Joel’s favorite discussion so far was the interview with Elizabeth Landis, assistant to President Merkle. Mrs. Landis also helps run the Civics club at the college. Joel said, “Her biblically-based approach to civic engagement was fascinating to talk about and her thoughts about how we as Christians can engage culture better are important for everyone to hear.”

Ian said, “A big part of the NSA experience is the community and the people that make it what it is and I hope this show has been providing a small taste of that for those who are curious.”

Joel said he is looking forward to an “intense covenantal discussion with a certain undergraduate dean,” meaning the upcoming interview they have with Dr. Jared Longshore. Ian said he agreed with Joel in looking forward to this upcoming episode. 

The episode with Dr. Longshore is available now. Watch it here.