Monday, October 20, 2014 Using Civic Engagement in Philosophy Classes Resources for Using Civic Engagement in Philosophy Classes, launched with a grant from the American Philosophical Association, provides tools for faculty and students to implement activist or service projects in philosophy classes. 

It includes assignment guidelines, many sample projects, student testimonials, and data supporting use of civic engagement in philosophy classes. 

Founders Ramona Ilea, Susan Hawthorne, and Monica Janzen, of Pacific University Oregon, St. Catherine University, and Hennepin Technical College, respectively, support a model of student-initiated civic engagement that encourages student agency, development of skills for citizenship, and insight into the practice and importance of philosophical reasoning. 

Why try it in your classes? In the words of one student,  
“This [project] enabled me to become impassioned in a new way, and express my realizations, insights, in a different way than an academic exercise usually allows…This forum forced me to make connections I may not have necessarily made. And I am very pleased with the outcome.”

Monday, October 6, 2014

New in Teaching Philosophy: 'Team teaching the theism-atheism debate'


Wesley D. Cray, Steven G. Brown

Team-Teaching the Atheism-Theism Debate
In this paper, we discuss a team-taught, debate-style Philosophy of Religion course we designed and taught at The Ohio State University. Rather than tackling the breadth of topics traditionally subsumed under the umbrella of Philosophy of Religion, this course focused exclusively on the nuances of the atheism-theism debate, with the instructors openly identifying as atheist or theist, respectively. After discussing the motivations for designing and teaching such a course, we go on to detail its content and structure. We then examine various challenges and hurdles we faced, as well as some benefits we encountered along the way. Next, we discuss some informal data collected from the students enrolled in the course, some of which suggest some rather surprising outcomes. We conclude with some considerations of the applicability of this style of teaching to other philosophical debates.