Document Type


Publication Title

American Philosophical Association Newsletter on Teaching Philosophy







Publication Date

Spring 1-1-2008


In its “Statements on the Profession: The Teaching of Philosophy,” the APA exhorts philosophers, philosophy departments, and their institutions to be committed to providing “educational experiences of high quality.”1 To this end, the APA Newsletter on Teaching Philosophy shares pedagogical best practices, giving faculty and departments new ideas and approaches to teaching philosophy more effectively and to improving philosophy curricula. In certain circumstances, it is not enough, however, to use effective teaching methods; one must persuade one’s colleagues and institution that one is, in fact, delivering a quality educational experience. Since teaching skill is determined by others—especially by one’s colleagues who are typically the final authorities—how well one teaches is ultimately dependent on the fairness and competence of one’s departmental colleagues. If one’s colleagues apply unfair or illegitimate standards to judge the quality of instruction, one’s teaching skill might not only be misrepresented but one’s academic freedom might also be violated. I contend that this is what happened to me when I applied for tenure at Xavier University, and I recommend that the APA add a section on academic freedom to its “Statements on the Profession: The Teaching of Philosophy” to guide departments more clearly and to support those faculty whose pedagogical views might be at odds with those of their department.

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