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Sociology professor introduces social theory podcast over break

by Zach Wagner - Lifestyles Editor
Wed, Feb 26th 2020 10:00 am
Kyle Green, a professor in the sociology department, works on his podcast `Give Theory a Chance` in his home. Photo courtesy of Kyle Green
Kyle Green, a professor in the sociology department, works on his podcast "Give Theory a Chance" in his home. Photo courtesy of Kyle Green

In a world where the way we learn is ever-changing, it is important to keep up and try to adapt with the changing environment. Associate Professor Kyle Green, Ph.D., is one of the people who understands this shift, looking to make a difference in The College at Brockport community in the way students receive information.

Coming from the small town of Gilbertsville, New York, Green has worked his way through the school system. As one of the few people from his town to attend college, Green began at SUNY Geneseo studying geography and philosophy.

After finishing his undergraduate degree, Green decided to take a gap year, teaching high school math and traveling before finally making the decision to apply for graduate school.

“I took a year off, substitute taught and traveled, ended up teaching high school math for a bit,” Green said. “I then applied to geography schools around the country and ended up going to the University of Minnesota.”

While attending graduate school, Green started to do research on different things like street basketball and mixed martial arts (MMA). After realizing he was in the wrong field, Green dropped geography and switched to sociology in an effort to continue the research he started.

“When I was at [the University of Minnesota] I wrote about the media representation around street basketball and then I realized I wanted to study the growth of mixed martial arts in the United States,” Green said. “I switched over to sociology because it fit a little better than geography.”

Training in local MMA gyms, Green finished his dissertation in sociology before taking a tenured-track job at Utica College. After spending three years in Utica, Green decided it wasn’t the right fit for him. He landed back in the SUNY system by taking a job at Brockport in the sociology department.

“Some things were good but it wasn’t the place I wanted to be — I applied at a few different places before getting the job at SUNY Brockport,” Green said. “Part [of the change] was because I went to SUNY Geneseo and I have a strong belief in the state education model.”

Green enjoys teaching in the environment he studied up in. With his background, he understands where these students are coming from and he sees the value in being surrounded by that.

“I’m teaching the type of students in the same spot that I was; I think there is some value there,” Green said. “I know what it’s like to come from a working class family and get good grades but state school is the best option because private school costs too much.”

During his last year of graduate school, Green launched his first podcast called “Give Methods a Chance,” that would eventually end up turning into a published book. While teaching methods, the first course Green had ever taught, he realized the textbooks he was teaching were less than ideal. With an open mind and a fresh new idea, Green decided to give students a new and interactive way to learn through audio.

“I was teaching my own methods class and I had about 160 students — when I was teaching it I realized the textbooks we were using are really boring and they don’t have to be,” Green said.

Green came to the conclusion that research can be exciting; he claims going out in the field and hearing someone talk about a certain topic through the interview process is more entertaining than reading a complicated book only “professionals” can understand.

“It’s pretty exciting to have that experience of going into these spaces where you may or may not feel welcome and talk to people about some pretty extreme views,” Green said. “Then in the textbook when you read about it’s kind of stuck on these boring, dry definitions. The point of the podcast is I’ll talk to people actually doing research and I’ll ask them how they are going to choose the method they’re going to use and tell some stories from the field.”

Following the success of the first podcast, which had between 40 to 50 episodes, Green decided to move onto a new idea regarding the course social theory.

“After the success of the first podcast, the other class that I teach is social theory,” Green said. “Social theory is the other class that people often say is boring. So I decided I’m doing the same thing again.”

Green started working on the new podcast when he first arrived at Brockport in 2018, after over a year of recording new content Green finally dropped the first batch of episodes over winter break before the 2020 spring semester.

During his time at Brockport, Green has left a mark on his colleagues. Associate Sociology Professor Heidi Rademacher came into the sociology department at the same time as Green. She has seen the project grow as he has provided a new platform for Brockport students to learn on.

“We came in together in the fall of 2018 and the podcast was a project he had been working on prior,” Rademacher said. “What he wanted to do was have a different way of talking about sociological issues and I think a lot of students responded to it very well.”

Rademacher sees the podcast as a new way of approaching being a professor, giving students more of something that they may understand.

“The students liked the podcast venue; it’s a different kind of approach to talking about things opposed to having him as a professor,” Rademacher said. “It’s just something that he’s put out there; it’s a new avenue for accessing information and making sociology available.”

Green has seen the success of his new podcast at Brockport, creating something that certainly hasn’t been done before. Moving forward it wouldn’t come as a shock to see other professors move toward this style of teaching. For many students, Green has shifted the way students perceive and receive information.

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