Last week saw the creation of a new series of “crash course” posts here at Daily Nous. The brainchild of Natalia Cecire (Sussex), the idea is to come up with a “one-week self education program” for “students who suddenly need to get up to speed in a field, and don’t have time to take a course or immerse themselves in it for a year,” or for professors seeking to lear..
In “What’s the Point of a Professor?“, an opinion piece in The New York Times, Emory University English professor Mark Bauerlein laments the current role of professors. In the past, “students looked to professors for moral and worldly understanding.” Now, “finding meaning and making money have traded places.” In the past, “you couldn’t walk down the row of faculty o..
Natalia Cecire, a lecturer in English and American literature at Sussex, has embarked upon an interesting project called “Crash Courses for the Desperate”:
Lately I’ve been thinking about what to do with students who suddenly need to get up to speed in a field, and don’t have time to take a course or immerse themselves in it for a year. I’m especially thinking of..
Jennifer Baker (College of Charleston) asked the students in her introductory philosophy course to report (anonymously) “ideas of theirs that changed after studying some philosophy.” I think this is a great idea for learning what kinds of topics and readings make an impact on the students’ thinking, which can be of use in both planning and pitching philosophy course..
Sukaina Hirji and Daniel Wodak, two graduate students at Princeton, are currently teaching a class of fourteen prisoners at the Albert C. Wagner Youth Correctional Facility in New Jersey. You may recall that they were two of the philosophers interviewed here previously about their experiences teaching philosophy in prison.
Their course this term is called “Philos..
Philosophers are sometimes thought of as expert thinkers, more rational and less prone to errors in reasoning than others. Whether this is true, though, is an empirical question, and it is one that several researchers have taken up over the past decade or so. Their findings regularly show that philosophers, like the ordinary folk, are susceptible to various cognitiv..
Stanford University’s most popular class is called “Designing Your Life,” according to an article at Fast Company. Its aim is to get students to think more carefully about their life and career choices and learn ways to bring their lives in line with their thoughts.
Before Kanyi Maqubela became an investment partner at the Collaborative Fund, an early-stage ventu..
Alex Guerrero (Penn), is wondering what philosophers think should be done in a first-year PhD proseminar. He writes:
Given all the recent discussion about the canon, the problematic effects of policing the borders of philosophy, the white maleness of philosophy, and so on, what do people think should be done in a first-year PhD proseminar? Assume it’s a semester ..
I am a professor of philosophy at a public university. What is the value of philosophy to the taxpayers who subsidize my teaching? Philosophy is an abstruse and difficult field. Many of those whose taxes support higher education probably would have a hard time seeing the point of most philosophical debates. Why ask people to pay for discussions of seemingly arcane a..
Furman University has developed an exciting scholarship program for students interested in studying philosophy. J. Aaron Simmons, associate professor of philosophy there, kindly took some time to write up a description of it, posted below. Do any other schools have something like this?
Preemptively Changing the Narrative through a Philosophy Scholarship Progr..
We, like I’m sure lots of other departments, are suffering from decreasing enrollment numbers. I was wondering if you could do a post asking people about their department’s high-enrollment/bread and butter courses. — a professor who does not care to make his particular department look bad in front of everyone (not that I’m sure it would, but okay).
Are there spe..
It has happened to many a teacher. You are up there speaking in front of the class and the words escape your lips. And then you realize it: how awful they will sound if repeated on their own, out of context, by your students somewhere… to a friend, on social media, to an administrator, to a reporter. There is no “undo” on speech. (Yet.) All we have is the humor of..
People ought to go to college to sharpen their wits and broaden their field of vision. Shield them from unfamiliar ideas, and they’ll never learn the discipline of seeing the world as other people see it. They’ll be unprepared for the social and intellectual headwinds that will hit them as soon as they step off the campuses whose climates they have so carefully cont..
The Alexis de Tocqueville Project in Law, Liberty, and Morality at the University of New Orleans has been offering free for-credit college philosophy courses to local high school students. It sounds great. Chris Surprenant, assistant professor of philosophy at UNO and director of the Tocqueville Project, shared some information about the course:
The overarching f..
Margaret Crouch, a philosophy professor at Eastern Michigan University, was team-teaching a large group of students with two other professors, while, unbeknownst to the three, many of the students were using the class time to post hostile and vulgar remarks about them via Yik Yak. (If you don’t know Yik Yak, think of it as a local anonymous twitter feed in which old..
One thing that makes us different from most of our undergraduate students is that we really enjoy philosophy and they do not. It may drive us to frustration and despair sometimes, but, generally, we find it interesting and take pleasure in it in a way that is foreign to our students. Yet, every once in a while its possible to get students to catch a glimpse, firstha..
When it comes to teaching philosophy, how offensive may we be, and in what ways? Recent discussions here, particularly regarding teaching same-sex marriage, have raised this issue, but those conversations have been dominated by discussion of the plausibility of arguments regarding that substantive matter. Though it has cropped up, the issue of the role that offensiv..
“How Academic Philosophers Are Trying to End the Gay-Marriage Debate—and Getting it Wrong” is the title of a new article in the National Review. Written by University of Colorado Ph.D. student Spencer Case, the article picks up on a discussion had here at Daily Nous about the matter back in November.
Despite their field’s reputation for interminable controversy..
Most colleges and universities have students fill out forms to evaluate their instructors’ performance at the end of the term. Semesters are just beginning around now, but it is not too early to start thinking about those evaluations. One study found that “students’ ratings 2 weeks into the semester did not differ from end-of-semester evaluations.”
There are lots..
The students sit in pairs at a computer terminal, and after reading Cullen’s synopsis of a particular argument, they try to map it. The room fills up with whispered suggestions, lines tested and rejected, double negatives made positive. Most of the boxes into which they enter text are red or green. The green ones contain evidence supporting the above premise; the re..
A new website, Best Practices for the Inclusive Philosophy Classroom, has launched. It is an interdepartmental project, started by Minorities and Philosophy (MAP), which aims to be “an easily accessible launching pad for teachers who want to make their philosophy classrooms more inclusive.”
The site includes anthologies and other resources for diverse syllabi, ad..
Since most of our undergraduate students are planning to go to graduate school in philosophy and become professional philosophers, it makes sense that the undergraduate philosophy curriculum is typically filled with courses that prepare them for that future. Their courses should introduce them to the way that contemporary professional philosophers understand their f..
Lisa Guenther, associate professor of philosophy at Vanderbilt University, has developed a new philosophy course, “Police Violence and Mass Incarceration,” which she will be teaching this coming term. I think it is a great way of showing students a way in which philosophy can interact with current events. I asked her about the course, and in an email she writes:
I settled on my New Year’s resolution while giving a lecture to 85 masters students. It was one kid who unintentionally suggested the idea. He was sitting in the back row, silently pecking away at his laptop the entire class. At times, he smiled at his screen. But he rarely looked up at me. I had a choice. I could disrupt the class to single him out. Or I could do w..
Philosophy will become a part of the secondary school curriculum in Ireland, according to an announcement by Minister of Education Jan O’Sullivan, reported in the Irish Times. The country’s National Council for Curriculum and Assessment will develop a “short course” in philosophy that will be taught to students in the early years of secondary school (approximately a..
In the Tusculan Disputations, Cicero famously says, “Socrates was the first to call philosophy down from the heavens and set her in our cities, bring her into our homes, and compel her to ask questions about life and morality and the nature of good and evil.” At a community college, my students—aspiring plumbers and harried moms among them—helped me to rediscover th..
Do any of you use virtual worlds or video games in your teaching of philosophy, and if so, how? In conversation the other day a colleague expressed an interest in creating a virtual world in which an epidemic was taking place, and having students immerse themselves in it to learn about addressing some of the various ethical challenges that confront agents in such si..
A philosophy graduate student and instructor at Marquette University is the target of a political attack initiated by one of her students, facilitated by a Marquette political science professor, and promulgated by certain advocacy organizations.
Cheryl Abbate, a Marquette PhD student working on a dissertation in ethics, has provided me with information about the ..