First-Generation College Students and Philosophy

A philosophy professor has embarked on a project to understand and address issues faced by philosophy students who are first-generation college students or members of other traditionally underrepresented groups, and she could use your help.

[photo of “1000 Doors” by Choi jeong-Hwa]

Bailie Peterson, assistant professor of philosophy at University of Northern Colorado, writes:

At my university, I work with many first-generation and financially disadvantaged students, and I am concerned that we lack sufficient understanding of student’s initial perceptions of philosophy. I am leading a small team of researchers trying to collect data from the the widest number of students possible to gain insight into these questions.

This project gained momentum after attempts to find data on the experiences of first-generation students showed that we do not have much data. 

The research involves administering two brief surveys to students, and you can help by having your students complete them. Dr. Peterson explains:

The study itself has been granted IRB Exempt status, so there is very little chance of any risk or harm to students, and all answers will be reported in aggregate. Instructors will be asked to distribute the survey twice, both on the first day of the semester and near the end of the term, to measure any change in their perceptions. The survey is completed via a Qualtrics link and should not take more than 10 minutes.

We hope to collect enough responses to provide a representative sample of students across the nation. Therefore, it is crucial to reach beyond the courses taught at our institution. We are specifically looking for courses similar to “Introduction to Philosophy,” at the 100-level, to reach beginning students. 

She adds:

In general, we could benefit from a deeper understanding of student’s views and any potential barriers that come into the classroom with them. 

If you’re interested in helping or learning more, contact Dr. Peterson at [email protected].

Use innovative tools to teach clear and courageous thinking
Notify of

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Bailie Peterson
2 years ago

I just wanted to say, thanks to everyone who has been willing to participate and share their experiences, suggestions, and support. It means a lot to me, and also to the research.

Georgi Gardiner
Reply to  Bailie Peterson
2 years ago

New Facebook Group for first gen philosophers: