Teaching

Activities Fair

Philosophy Club at IUK’s Activities Fair

I currently teach between 10 and 11 courses a year at Indiana University Kokomo, York University. In my time working there and at Houghton College, George Brown College, and the University of Missouri St. Louis, I have taught students from different cultural, religious, and economic backgrounds, as well as academically gifted, challenged, and non-traditional students. I have taught large, small, and online courses. I have taught in a program specifically designed for adult students. My goal in teaching is to create a space in which we can all have a conversation and search for truth, regardless of background, by requiring that we all support our claims with arguments.

I am a member of the American Association Philosophy Teachers and in last year I have learned much about best practices and pedagogy from Indiana University’s Center for Teaching a Learning. I have altered my teaching at the lower-level to include more group-work, focusing on close-reading skills and argument reconstruction. I head up all things philosophy at Indiana University Kokomo, including the Philosophy Club, Philosophy Minor, and adjunct hiring and training.

My lower-level courses consistent in a healthy mixture of lecture, group work, and discussion. I lecture using PowerPoint, which allows me to incorporate video clips into class. As students file into class, I play music that connects with our present topic (e.g. Mumford and Sons’s ‘The Cave’ when we discuss Plato’s ‘Allegory of the Cave’). I begin every class with two review questions. Group work usually this focuses on close reading of a short passage of the text, but other activities include: developing objections to an argument, applying an ethical theory to a short clip from The Office, developing and presenting a defense of one of three positions on personal identity, and work-shopping peers’ papers.

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Philosophy for Children, Fall 2017

I treat my upper-level courses as seminars. I create detailed handouts of the reading with discussion questions, but rather than give my student this completed handout, I delete parts (an objection here, an argument there). In class, we work together to fill out the handout as we discuss our own objects. These handouts have helped focus discussion and encourage student participation.

I have been working to connect philosophy outside the university setting as well by doing ‘Philosophy for Children.’ (See my Philosophy for Children tab above for details).

You can download my full teaching dossier, which includes all teaching evaluations, here. I have added links to quantitative course evaluations next to (most) of my courses below.

Honors, Awards, and Training

Applied and Community Research Center Grant for ‘Humanities Summer Camp’ at Indiana University Kokomo, Spring 2018 ($3,200)
Trustee’s Teaching Award at Indiana University Kokomo, 2017 ($2,500)
Participant in the Institute for the Advancement of Philosophy for Children’s Resident Summer Workshop, August 5-12, 2017
Finalist for Faculty Academy on Excellence in Teaching (FACET) Academy Award in ‘Learning how to Learn’ Category, 2017
Nominated and Accepted to Indiana University’s Student Success Academy, 2017
Chosen as a Faculty Ambassador for New Students and Student Success, Indiana University Kokomo, 2017

Public Philosophy [See Philosophy for Children Tab Above]

Humanities Camp for Middle-School Children at Indiana University Kokomo, June 2018
In collaboration with Howard County Public Library and Prof. Joe Keener (English)
Humanities Super Saturday, April 2018
Philosophy for Children at Elwood Haynes Elementary School, Fall 2017
Philosophy for Children Pilot at Elwood Haynes and Bon Aire Elementary Schools, Spring 2017

Scholarship of Teaching and Learning

‘How to Teach Controversial Topics in the Classroom’
Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Panel Discussion, September 2017
‘Critical Reading and Argumentation’
Writing Across the Disciplines,  September 2016
‘Trigger Warnings?’
Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Panel Discussion, September 2016

Mentorship and Student Projects

Matthew Floyd. ‘Connecting Philosophy of Mind with Informatics.’ Summer 2017-Fall 2017.
Whitney Hicks. ‘Accumulation of Science.’ Winner of Best Presentation Award. Indiana University Kokomo Undergraduate Research Symposium. [Paper revised from Philosophy of Science]. Spring 2016.
Jennifer Cochran. ‘The Nature of God’s Temporality.’ Indiana University Kokomo Undergraduate Research Symposium. [Paper revised from Philosophy of Religion]. Spring 2017.
Jacob Castleberry. ‘The Minimum Attributes Necessary for God.’ Indiana University Kokomo Undergraduate Research Symposium. [Paper revised from Philosophy of Religion]. Spring 2017.
Derek Fields. Discussion Leader on Racism in Police. Noblesville Police Department. [Discussion on material from Problems in Ethics: Racism]. Spring 2017.
Stacey Tice, Whitney Hicks, and Derek Fields. Philosophy for Children. [Philosophical activities with 3rd and 4th Graders in the Kokomo School District]. Spring 2017.
Matthew Floyd. Simultaneous Contradictory Belief and Rationality Experiment. Summer 2017.
Marisa Mullett. MA Thesis Committee Member. ‘Gender, Power, and Rebellion: The Transformation of Female Characters within Dystopic Fiction.’ Indiana University Kokomo, 2015-Present

Courses I have taught:

Philosophy for Children [Syllabus]: Students are trained in the Lipman-Sharp approach to community of philosophical inquiry/Philosophy for Children. All students will facilitate philosophical discussions in a local school. (Indiana University Kokomo, Fall 2017)

Topics in Theories of Knowledge [Syllabus]: An introduction to contemporary epistemology. Topics include: skepticism, defining knowledge, defining justification, virtue epistemology, and naturalized epistemology. (Indiana University Kokomo, Fall 2017)

Philosophy of Religion [Syllabus]: A topical course covering classic arguments for and against God’s existence, with a focus on the problem of evil. (Indiana University Kokomo, Spring 2017 Quant. Eval.)

Social & Political Philosophy [Syllabus]: An historical overview, focusing on a systematic reading of Plato’s Republic. Additional readings include selections from Aristotle, Locke, Hobbes, Marx, Rawls, Nozick. (Indiana University Kokomo, Spring 2017 Quant. Eval.)

Metaphysics [Syllabus]: A topical course on contemporary metaphysics. We cover the nature of properties, substance versus bundle theory of particulars, time, causality, and free will.  (Indiana University Kokomo, Fall 2016 Quant. Eval.)

Problems of Ethics: Racism [Syllabus]: This course is divided into three parts: 1) two weeks on the metaphysics of race, 2) six weeks on critical race theory (two books, one by Appiah, one by Mills), and 3) six weeks on contemporary psychological work on implicit racism (readings from Saul and Brownstein). (Indiana University Kokomo, Fall 2016 Quant. Eval.)

Philosophy of Science [Syllabus]: A survey of central theories and problems within contemporary philosophy of science. We begin with logical positivism and the question of realism and demarcation. We then closely read Kuhn’s Structure of Scientific Revolutions and Polanyi’s Tacit Knowledge. The topics is the nature of scientific explanation. As an application of the nature of scientific explanation, we consider science and religion, and how these two areas should interact. Finally, we consider natural kinds. (Indiana University Kokomo, Spring 2016 Quant. Eval.)

Introduction to Philosophy of Mind [Syllabus]: An introduction to metaphysical theories about the relationship between the mind and body. We examine Descartes’ mind-body dualism as well as 20th century theories including: behaviorism, the identity theory, machine and causal functionalism, instrumentalism, eliminativism, and emergentism. (Indiana University Kokomo, Spring 2016 Quant. Eval., York University, Fall 2014)

Introduction to Ethics [Syllabus]: We begin with metaethical questions (constructivism, relativism, egotism, sentimentalism, realism, etc.) by considering the ‘why be moral?’ question. Then we turn to normative ethics, focusing on utilitarianism, Kantianism, and virtue ethics. Finally, we look at contemporary moral psychology. Throughout the course we use classical and contemporary readings. (Indiana University Kokomo, Fall 2015) (Download my full teaching dossier for course evaluations)

Introduction to Philosophy [Syllabus]: A topical introduction to philosophy from both classical and contemporary readings covering logic, metaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of mind, philosophy of religion, and normative theory. (Indiana University Kokomo, Fall 2015 (Two Sections), Spring 2016 (One Section Live, One Online), Summer 2016, Fall 2016 (Two Sections), Spring 2017 (One Section Live, One Online), Summer 2017, Fall 2017 ((One Section Live, One Online), Spring 2018 (One Section Live, One Online), George Brown College, 2013) (Download my full teaching dossier for course evaluations)

Critical Thinking [Syllabus ‘Levels Approach’]: An introduction to deductive and inductive reasoning in natural language, focusing on argument identification, valid forms of inference, and formal and informal fallacies (George Brown College, Fall 2013. Indiana University Kokomo, Summer 2016, Summer 2017 (online)). (Download my full teaching dossier for course evaluations)

Personal and Professional Ethics: This course teaches students the basics of normative theory and then focuses on the application of these norms in a business and consumer setting (Houghton College, Fall 2013, Spring 2014).

  • Note: This is a five-week night class for non-traditional students in an accelerated degree program. The class meets once each week for four hours.

Business Ethics Online: This online course on the philosophy of work focuses on how four virtues (truth, goodness, unity, and beauty) apply in the workplace and to the concept of work (Houghton College, Spring 2014, Summer 2014).

Business Ethics: This online course introduces students to three major normative ethical theories: Utilitarianism, Deontology, and Virtue Ethics, and then focuses on the application of these theories in a business setting (University of Missouri St. Louis, Summer 2008).

In Preparation

Symbolic Logic: This course focuses on derivation and proofs in Sentence and Predicate Logic, along with translations to and from English.

Ancient Greek Philosophy: A reading intensive course. Assignments focus on close reading skills of philosophical texts. Readings include: Thales, Heraclitus, Parmenides, Democritus, Plato’s Euthyphro, Apology, Crito, Meno, Phadeo, Republic (selections), Aristotle’s Physics (selections), De Anima, Nichomachean Ethics, and Politics.

Philosophy of Psychology (Cross-listed with Psychology): We will examine theories within the philosophy of psychology, focusing on the nature and structure of cognition, concepts, and mind-reading. (Indiana University Kokomo, Spring 2018)

Ethic of Belief Interdisciplinary Honors Seminar: (How) can we hold people responsible for the beliefs that they hold? Is it ever morally/epistemically permissible to believe without (or against) the evidence? In edition to classic articles on this issue, we we will read The Ethics of Belief (ed. Matheson and Vitz) and Believing Against the Evidence (by McCormick). (Indiana University Kokomo, Spring 2018)

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