College Connection

Podcast, released monthly

The College Connection is lectures and panel talks from colleges and universities from western New England, particularly from the Five Colleges in Western Massachusetts: University of Massachusetts Amherst, Amherst College, Smith College, Mount Holyoke College, and Hampshire College. This forum provides an opportunity for listeners to engage with researchers, intellectuals, poets and authors active within our academic communities.

NOTE: The lectures recorded for the College Connection are designed to build a public audio library of the western New England experience, and are not intended as news content, or endorsements by NEPM’s staff or Board.

Freeman Hrabowski
Courtesy of Smith College

Freeman A. Hrabowski, president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and a leader in science and math education, spoke on “Promoting Access and Diversity in STEM Education” at Smith College on October 29, 2018. Named one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World by Time Magazine and one of America’s Best Leaders by U.S. News & World Report, he also received TIAA-CREF’s Theodore M. Hesburgh Award for Leadership Excellence, the Carnegie Corporation’s Academic Leadership Award and the Heinz Award for contributions to improving the “Human Condition.” Hrabowski’s most recent book, Holding Fast to Dreams: Empowering Youth from the Civil Rights Crusade to STEM Achievement, describes the events and experiences thatplayed a central role in his development as an educator and leader.

Carl Zimmer
BDEngler / Creative Commons

Noted author and columnist Carl Zimmer addressed the implications of “Science Reporting In The Age Of Fake News” in a talk at Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Mass., on October 23, 2018.

Carl Zimmer writes the Matter column for The New York Times and has frequently contributed to The Atlantic, National Geographic, Time, and Scientific American, among others. He has won the American Association for the Advancement of Science's Science Journalism Award three times, among a host of other awards and fellowships. His latest book, She Has Her Mother’s Laugh, traces the history of heredity as a scientific question and a cultural touchstone.

Former Secretary of State John Kerry speaks Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2018 at Mount Holyoke College.
Jerrey Roberts / Daily Hampshire Gazette /

John Kerry has been a prominent figure on the national scene since his anti-war activist days in the early 1970s. He went on to serve as Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts, spent five terms in the United States Senate, and represented America on the world stage as Secretary of State. 

His new memoir Every Day Is Extra chronicles a busy and fascinating public and private life. Kerry discussed his book and offered timely reflections on current events in a conversation with Jon Western, Vice-President for Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty at Mount Holyoke College in Mount Holyoke’s Chapin Auditorium on September 25, 2018.

Elzbieta Janicka - Identity Panic

Oct 23, 2018
College Connection Elzbieta Janicka
Elzbieta Janicka

Earlier this year, The Institute for Holocaust, Genocide, and Memory Studies at the University of Massachusetts welcomed several speakers to a forum on Holocaust Memory and Contemporary Poland and Israel – and the challenge from right wing regimes. Among those addressing the topic of how Holocaust memory has recently been reframed, and how it’s been used politically was historian Elzbieta Janicka of the Polish Academy of Sciences who presented her lecture "Identity Panic: Counter-narratives of the Holocaust and their Institutionalization Beyond.”

Silvia Federici - 2018 Schocket Lecture

Sep 25, 2018

Activist, teacher and writer Silvia Federici was the featured speaker at Hampshire College's 11th annual Eric Schocket Memorial Lecture Series on class and culture. A professor emeritus of political philosophy and international studies at Hofstra University, Federici has long been active in the anti globalization and the anti death penalty movements and was a founding member of the committee for academic freedom in Africa. She spoke at Hampshire College on March 29, 2018

Nancy MacLean - Democracy In Chains

Jun 15, 2018

Nancy McLean is a professor of history and public policy at Duke University, a fellow of the Society of American Historians, and the award-winning author of many books, most recently, the 2017 National Book Award Finalist Democracy In Chains, which Booklist called, “Perhaps the best explanation to date of the roots of the political divide that threatens to irrevocably alter American government.” 

In her talk at the University of Massachusetts on November 13th, 2017, McLean shared explores the subject of how the libertarian right has influenced American politics today. 

Roxane Gay on the Age of American Disgrace

Feb 21, 2018
Roxane Gay

Debating Gender and Body in the Epic Mahabharata

May 2, 2017
Lancaster University

Noam Chomsky Weighs Our Prospects for Survival

Apr 24, 2017
Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts

Patrice Rushen
Ben Alman / Creative Commons

Fighting Dialect Prejudice In Courtrooms And Beyond

Apr 11, 2017
John Rickford
L.A. Cicero / Stanford News

The Risk of Change vs. the Cost of Doing Nothing

Apr 3, 2017

Daniel Lieberman
UMass Amherst

Steve Waksman
Fred Contrada / MassLive

Rachel Maddow at Smith College
Carol Lollis / Daily Hampshire Gazette

Readings of Collected Works by Gerald Stern

Jan 26, 2017
Gerald Stern
Gerald Stern / Wikipedia / Creative Commons

Ross Douthat
Peter Connolly / Matthew Chow / Amherst College