Sanders wins international podcasting award


Patricia Sanders is a faculty member and Department Chair of Communication at the University of North Alabama. Sanders launched her podcast, “This Prof Life” in June of 2020.

Alex Hopper, News Editor

 UNA faculty member, Patricia Sanders, is the creator of an international, award-winning podcast. The podcast titled, “This Prof Life: Women of Color in Higher Education,” discusses race, gender and equity in academia. 

“At its core, [the podcast] focuses on the challenges, accomplishments and experiences of women of color in positions of administration and the professorship in the world of academia,” Sanders said in a statement to UNA. “Its goal is to elevate their voices and scholarship and to inspire other women in leadership roles.”

The podcast was launched in June of 2020 with the goal of empowering and advocating for the advancement of women of color working in higher education. The podcast features guest speakers who detail their experiences in their professional and personal lives. 

For Sanders, the decision to start this podcast began as part of her research scholarship. 

“I decided to go with the creative side and create a podcast, and [I] submitted for an academic peer reviewed competition,” said Sanders.

“Even before that though my background was in audio,” said Sanders. “I was a youth director, broadcast journalist – so I’ve loved audio all of my professional life.”

While podcasting as a medium spoke to Sanders, the subject matter of “This Prof Life,” was important for her to share with an audience. 

“I’ve always had a vested interest in diversity, equity and inclusion, being an African-American female in academia,” Sanders said. “I’ve known the experiences, some of the challenges, and the successes that center around black women and other women of color.”

On her podcast, Sanders conducts interviews with women of color who are administrators, staff members and faculty members of higher education. Now, in her fourth season, Sanders has found the common themes of resiliency and courage. 

“There is a common thread that runs through our experiences – [that is] equity and making sure there are opportunities for us to excel to our fullest potential in whatever area that may be,” said Sanders. 

“But the podcast itself doesn’t focus on just the challenges,” said Sanders. “It focuses on the successes too, and what I’ve found is that these women love their work – they also are highly involved and connected with their students and making sure that their students succeed.”

Sanders explains that women of color are faced with obstacles while working in predominantly white institutions that others do not. 

“A common thread that I’ve found is this sense of being resilient,” said Sanders. “You learn how to be resilient, and how to go for what you want, and to be able to achieve. And I’ve found that most of them have; I have not found a woman yet who has failed.”

“I’ve seen through this podcast and hearing women talk about it is that we just want equity and equality and to be able to be in our jobs – to teach and to lead just like everyone else,” said Sanders. 

Sanders hopes her podcast will amplify voices that are not often heard. 

“I hope that people will not see it as an ‘I gotcha’ type of podcast,” Sanders said. “I think it’s about learning about the journey, the stories, the successes and the voices that are often not heard.”

“You get an opportunity of peering into the world of women who work in academia, and what life is like for them,” said Sanders. 

Sanders hopes this podcast acts as an opportunity for her audience to learn about a different experience from their own. Her tagline is “Listen, Learn, Lead.”

“If you’ve listened, you can learn about the lives of women who are in academia and who happen to be women of color,” said Sanders. “There’s a double meaning on the word lead. You can see where we lead but, also if you’re someone who has an authoritative position, you can then lead the effort to make sure that there is equity.” 

Sanders’ was awarded the “Best of Competition Long-Form Audio Production” award from The Broadcast Education Association. “This Prof Life” won out of nearly 300 submissions from around the world. 

“[For my peers] to say mine was the best out of the several hundred that were submitted was such an honor,” said Sanders. “I know these other people are doing great and fantastic work too.”

Sanders is currently in production on her fourth season of “This Prof Life.”

“I’ve produced close to forty episodes in season four,” said Sanders. “I don’t really take breaks, because I’m a one man band. I’m doing everything.”

Sanders also hopes to start a secondary podcast while continuing to work on “This Prof Life.”