Headed Right to the Top: The College of Education’s Top of the Class Podcast

By Meredith Critchfield, PhD
Associate Professor, College of Education

Dr. Critchfield at the Top of the Class podcast

It all started over some gluten-free pasta. Last fall, I was stirring a boiling pot of pasta at my stove, glancing at my daughter in her play room. I started thinking about podcasting. I love listening to podcasts and think audio media in general is the new wave of communication. More and more people every day turn to podcasts to receive information rather than traditional news channels.

It occurred to me as I whirled the pasta around, “Why don’t we start a podcast for the College of Education?” I immediately texted College of Education Faculty Chair Emily Pottinger. Emily and I find joy in coming up with “out of the box” ideas, so I figured she’d grab on to the idea right away. I was right. Within seconds, she replied, “Yes! That’s perfect! Let’s do it!”

We exchanged a few more texts back and forth, but it only took a few minutes to settle on a name. We wanted this podcast to represent the best of the best in education. We wanted it to be a place where everyone related to education could come, sit, listen and dabble in conversations about the field. That’s when Top of the Class was born – a podcast by and for educators of all kinds.

We’re thankful for the support of many parties: COE Dean, Dr. Kimberly LaPrade, and COE Executive Director of Educational Outreach, Dr. Marjaneh Gilpatrick, gave us inspirational direction and trusted us through this passion project and the GCU Worship Arts Studio records and edits our podcasts. With their help as well as a whole lot of Googling and searching for “how to podcast” videos on YouTube, we found ourselves official podcasters. Top of the Class has arrived!

Some of our favorite episodes include:

  • Our first and most listened to episode Elevating the Profession features Dean Dr. Kimberly LaPrade. We chat about what it means to lift the perception of teaching in our communities, and, most importantly, we discuss how we can make sure teaching is an honored profession that talented, strong individuals want to join.
  • Our second most listened to episode, Five Reasons You Make a Difference as an Educator, is an extra credit episode. Us teachers can’t help but do a little extra credit! We chat about five reasons why you make a difference every day as an educator. We like to think of this episode as a personal podcast love letter to all of our fellow educators.

If you’re wondering how to listen to Top of the Class, and I hope you are, we’ve made it quick and easy for you to listen. On your iPhone, click on the purple podcast app and type in “Top of the Class.” On an Android phone, download Podcast Player and do a quick search for us. On your computer, download iTunes, and search for Top of the Class under “Podcasts.”

We’d also love for you to rate, review and subscribe to Top of the Class. The more responses we get to our podcast, the more the algorithm begins to work in our favor. This means education stakeholders outside of GCU can tap into the insights of our podcast guests — we want to share their wisdom with the podcast world!

As we say at the end of every episode, thank you so much for listening and go Lopes!

To learn how you can make a difference in the world of education, check out the degrees available within Grand Canyon University’s College of Education and start on your journey to find your purpose.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.