The Teaching Hub at the 2017 Eastern APA Meeting

by Alexandra Bradner

What is The Teaching Hub?

The Teaching Hub is a new collaborative meeting space, co-sponsored by the APA Committee on the Teaching of Philosophy (CTP) and the American Association of Philosophy Teachers (AAPT), that will host a series of informative programs about the teaching of philosophy on the Thursday and Friday of the 2017 Eastern division meeting of the APA in Baltimore, MD. We’re introducing The Teaching Hub at the 2017 Eastern, but we’re hoping to add a Teaching Hub to the Pacific and Central meetings during the 2017-18 academic year.

What can philosophers hope to find at The Teaching Hub?

There is something for every philosopher at The Teaching Hub. Philosophers who self-identify primarily as teachers or who work at institutions that under-fund research will find an atmosphere that celebrates their work as both socially progressive and vital to the health and sustainability of the discipline. Graduate students who are new to teaching will find experienced mentors, who can offer meaningful advice about how to overcome teaching challenges and how to land a philosophy job that emphasizes teaching. Philosophy teachers who work in k-12 environments can forge connections with both local higher ed faculty and other elementary, middle, and high school teachers, to share developing resources and build exchange programs. Faculty from R1 institutions can learn about effective strategies to attract and retain majors; to diversify their student populations; to communicate the value of philosophy to administrators, state legislators, and other stakeholders; and to transform passive lecture courses into interactive sites of student learning and engagement.

We will be serving drinks and food at several sessions, and the first 100 or so participants will leave The Teaching Hub with some useful promotional swag: an aluminum water bottle to use throughout the rest of the conference.

What was the impulse for this initiative and how did the collaboration with the AAPT come about?

The work of devoted philosophy teachers is so important, both to philosophy and to our country’s political and cultural life. Yet, within our own discipline, this work is often under-theorized, ignored, or eclipsed by other valuable pursuits. The AAPT hosts a biennial meeting at which the level of discussion about philosophy teaching is routinely high and embedded within a friendly, collegial (and even fun) conference culture. The CTP wanted to bring a bit of the AAPT’s conference content and vibe to the APA. Thankfully, the Board of the AAPT and its members were willing to work with us on this goal. The Teaching Hub is a genuine collaboration between the two organizations.

What Teaching Hub sessions would you recommend to someone who has time only for one or two pedagogical sessions at the 2017 Eastern meeting?

All of the Teaching Hub sessions are pitched to a general philosophical audience. Moreover, we are hoping that meeting attendees will stop by The Teaching Hub during conference down times, just to relax and take a break from the rest of the conference. But, if you’re short in time, here are some recommendations.

For graduate students and other new teachers:

  • Thursday, 9 a.m.-noon: “How to Implement Teacher Training in Philosophy: Best Practices”
  • Thursday, noon-2 p.m.: “Team-Based Learning for Philosophy Courses”
  • Friday, 11:15 a.m.-1:15 p.m.: “One-on-One Consultation Sessions on Issues in Teaching Philosophy”

For teachers at k-12 schools:

  • Thursday, 9 a.m.-noon: “How to Implement Teacher Training in Philosophy: Best Practices”
  • Thursday, 2-5 p.m.: “Teaching Philosophy Across the Pre-college/College Boundary”
  • Friday, 1:30-2:55 p.m.: “Philosophy under Fire: How to Convey to Stakeholders the Value of Teaching Philosophy”

For teachers at two-year colleges:

  • Thursday, 9 a.m.-noon: “How to Implement Teacher Training in Philosophy: Best Practices”
  • Thursday, noon-2 p.m.: “Team-Based Learning for Philosophy Courses”
  • Friday, 1:30-2:55 p.m.: “Philosophy under Fire: How to Convey to Stakeholders the Value of Teaching Philosophy”

For teachers at small liberal arts colleges:

  • Thursday, noon-2 p.m.: “Team-Based Learning for Philosophy Courses”
  • Thursday, 2-5 p.m.: “Teaching Philosophy Across the Pre-college/College Boundary”
  • Thursday, 5:15-8 p.m. “Undergraduate Research Poster Session”
  • Friday, 9-11 a.m.: “A Lifetime of Philosophy Texts: Steve Cahn and Oxford University Press’s Robert Miller Discuss Their 20-year Collaboration on Fifteen Philosophy Texts”
  • Friday, 3:05-4:30 p.m.: “Topics in Inclusivity: an Open Discussion of Issues Facing the Profession”

For teachers at regional public (comprehensive) universities:

  • Thursday, 9 a.m.-noon: “How to Implement Teacher Training in Philosophy: Best Practices”
  • Thursday, noon-2 p.m.: “Team-Based Learning for Philosophy Courses”
  • Friday, 9-11 a.m.: “A Lifetime of Philosophy Texts: Steve Cahn and Oxford University Press’s Robert Miller Discuss Their 20-year Collaboration on Fifteen Philosophy Texts”
  • Friday, 1:30-2:55 p.m.: “Philosophy under Fire: How to Convey to Stakeholders the Value of Teaching Philosophy”
  • Friday, 3:05-4:30 p.m.: “Topics in Inclusivity: an Open Discussion of Issues Facing the Profession”

For continuing non-tenurable instructors, and full- and part-time adjuncts:

  • Thursday, noon-2 p.m.: “Team-Based Learning for Philosophy Courses”
  • Friday, 9-11 a.m.: “A Lifetime of Philosophy Texts: Steve Cahn and Oxford University Press’s Robert Miller Discuss Their 20-year Collaboration on Fifteen Philosophy Texts”

For teachers at R1 institutions or institutions where tenure is based primarily upon research quality and productivity:

  • Thursday, noon-2 p.m.: “Team-Based Learning for Philosophy Courses”
  • Thursday, 5:15-8 p.m. “Undergraduate Research Poster Session”
  • Friday, 9-11 a.m.: “A Lifetime of Philosophy Texts: Steve Cahn and Oxford University Press’s Robert Miller Discuss Their 20-year Collaboration on Fifteen Philosophy Texts”
  • Friday, 11:15 a.m.-1:15 p.m.: “One-on-One Consultation Sessions on Issues in Teaching Philosophy”

For Directors of graduate studies and department chairs:

  • Thursday, 9 a.m.-noon: “How to Implement Teacher Training in Philosophy: Best Practices”
  • Friday, 3:05-4:30 p.m.: “Topics in Inclusivity: an Open Discussion of Issues Facing the Profession”

For university administrators:

  • Thursday, 9 a.m.-noon: “How to Implement Teacher Training in Philosophy: Best Practices”
  • Thursday, 5:15-8 p.m. “Undergraduate Research Poster Session”
  • Friday, 1:30-2:55 p.m.: “Philosophy under Fire: How to Convey to Stakeholders the Value of Teaching Philosophy”

What are your plans for the future of The Teaching Hub?

The CTP would like to see The Teaching Hub grow into a central resource and collaboration site for philosophy teachers—a hub. At future APA meetings, we would like to host textbook displays and meet-the-author sessions for new textbooks. We would like to post job listings from institutions looking to hire philosophers with pedagogical expertise. We would like to feature the winner of the new APA/AAPT Prize for Teaching Excellence, a prize that will be awarded for the first time during the 2018-19 academic year. And we would like to provide type-specific resources for different philosophy teaching environments: two-year colleges, R1 universities, regional public universities, small liberal arts colleges, etc.

Finally, our future plans involve all of you: the members of both the APA and the AAPT. The Teaching Hub was designed to serve a population of philosophers whose needs have not been met at APA meetings. We are still working to understand those needs, and we need your help. What APA programs, sessions, and resources would be useful to you in your pedagogical work? If you haven’t attended an APA divisional meeting in several years, because you haven’t felt that the sessions would be relevant to your work, what, exactly, would bring you back? We welcome your ideas and feedback in the comments section below.

Alexandra Bradner has served as an adjunct instructor at Northwestern University, University of Michigan, Marshall University, Denison University, University of Kentucky, Kenyon College, Bluegrass Community and Technical College, the Fayette County Public Schools (k-12), and Eastern Kentucky University. She currently chairs the APA Committee on the Teaching of Philosophy.

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