Thursday, February 25, 2016

The Character Experiment

During the Spring 2015 semester in my introductory ethics courses, I tried something new that I first heard about through my friend Russell DiSilvestro. I suspect this assignment will sound strange to many philosophy professors. I asked the students to complete a project, “The Character Experiment,” in which they would pick 3 virtues to attempt to cultivate over the course of the semester.
“The purpose of our examination is not to know what virtue is, but to become good, since otherwise our inquiry would be of no benefit to us.”
Prior to describing and giving them the assignment, we read Greg Bassham’s “Virtue-Centered Approaches to Education: Prospects and Pitfalls,” Virtues in Action, Michael W. Austin, ed. (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013), pp. 11-22. This set the stage and offered a rationale for completing this type of experiment, recognizing some of its potential strengths and weaknesses. We also read James Gould, “Becoming Good: The Role of Spiritual Practice,” Philosophical Practice 1, no. 3 (2005): 135–47, to offer a framework and some practical suggestions. And we discussed the relevance of the experiment to the theories and issues we studied over the course of the semester.

"Teaching Practical and Applied Ethics" Facebook Group

David Killoren has created an engaging Facebook group "Teaching Practical and Applied Ethics" with this description:
This is a group for people who teach applied ethics (including biomedical ethics, business ethics, etc.). Let's share articles and news stories that are relevant to applied ethics, discuss pedagogical problems and their solutions, tell funny stories from the classroom, and so on.
It is a "closed" group, but anyone can ask to be added. (Shared with David's permission!)

Monday, February 22, 2016

Your one-stop Intro to Philosophy shop

Update: This site has been given an attractive redesign and is now edited by Erin Tarver.

Villanova's John Immerwahr, an ISW reader and enthusiast, has alerted me to his attractive new website, Teach Philosophy 101. As its name suggests, Tø101 is an open source collection of materials and resources for teaching to Introduction to Philosophy, with good stuff both for those new to the special challenges of Intro and those looking to refresh or revamp their Intro courses. John's site is nicely organized and he's looking for other links and resources related to teaching Intro. I'd encourage everyone to head over and check it out.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Undergraduate Diversity Institutes in Philosophy

American Philosophical Association

A number of undergraduate diversity institutes in philosophy are
now accepting applications for their 2016 sessions. These institutes
operate independent of one another, but they share the overarching
goal to encourage and support undergraduates from underrepresented
groups in philosophy. Each institute normally accepts 10-20 students
per year.

The following institutes are now accepting applications:

Philosophy in an Inclusive Key (PIKSI) –
PIKSI-Rock (June 13-22, 2016) and
PIKSI-Boston (July 17-23, 2016).
Application deadline: March 21, 2016.
Rutgers Summer Institute for Diversity in Philosophy –
July 10-17, 2016.
Application deadline:May 9, 2016.
Summer Immersion Program in Philosophy 
at Brown University (SIPP@Brown) –
July 17-30, 2016. Application deadline: March 15, 2016.
UCSD Summer Program for Women in Philosophy –
June 20-July 1, 2016. Application deadline:March 1, 2016.
UMass Dartmouth Summer Program for Diversity: Logic –
May 22-28, 2016. Application deadline:April 18, 2016.
Undergraduates and recent graduates from underrepresented groups,
including women, African Americans, Chicano/as and Latino/as, Native
Americans, Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders, LGBTs, individuals from
 economically disadvantaged communities, and people with disabilities,
are urged to apply.
We encourage you to spread the word about these and other opportunities
 to your undergraduate students, and to consider serving as their sponsor.
Faculty sponsors mentor students, helping them to prepare their applications,
and, when possible and appropriate, work with the students after the summer
institute to help further the gains the students have made.

All the best,

Amy E. Ferrer
Executive Director