Engineering Ethics - tutor & discussion session moderator - 2018
Transportation Ethics - tutor & discussion session moderator - 2018
Ethics & Civil Engineering - tutor & discussion session moderator - 2018
Ethics & Aerospace Engineering - essay supervisor & exam grader - 2018
Critical Reflections on Technology (2 sections) - essay supervisor - 2018
The Engineer in Society - essay supervisor - 2018
Social Values in Management of Technology - wrote & graded exams - 2018
Electrical Engineering B.S. Project - tutor, discussion moderator, essay supervisor - 2018
Bioethics for Life Scientists - head lecturer - 2016
Bioethics for Life Scientists - teaching assistant & lecturer - 2014, 2015
Environmental Phil. for Water Managers - teaching assistant & lecturer - 2016, 2017
Environmental Ethics - teaching assistant & lecturer - 2016
Biology & Society (2 sections) - teaching assistant & discussion section moderator - 2015
UNIVERSITY OF MAINE
Philosophy Across the Ages - volunteer lecturer & discussion moderator - 2009-2010
The majority of my teaching experience comes from teaching students without backgrounds in philosophy. In all cases, philosophy students or not, I tend to structure class time in ways that prioritize discussion and guided conversation, preferring to minimize the amount of class time used for lecture. This varies, based on level and the familiarity of the group with reading philosophical texts.
My primary aim when teaching students without a background in philosophy is to convey to them how ethics and philosophy are related to their work. Engineering students, for instance, tend to think of their work—and their discipline—as value-neutral, and in many cases, find this to be an attractive feature about it. Bringing out values that are implicit even in seemingly straightforward decisions engineers routinely make takes a little time and requires that students develop a vocabulary and a sensitivity for these issues. I have found that this is best accomplished not by lecturing students on why ethics is important, but in stimulating their own philosophical reflection on and about their work. I am far less concerned with testing students on the specifics of ethical theories than I am with opening up discussion and fostering reasoning in conversation, which teaches students how to think critically and reflectively about their work and about the relevant philosophical ideas. As often as possible, I try to include opportunities for students to bring in experience from their discipline so as to make the course directly pertinent to their backgrounds. Case studies or examples from their field (or adjacent fields) that illustrate ethical conflicts or ambiguities provide excellent jumping off points and helpful avenues for students to recognize how ethical issues already pervade their field. Similarly, role playing activities can bring otherwise abstract ethical concepts to life by encouraging students to inhabit the particulars of the cases and to think more imaginatively and empathically.
I find teaching one of the most important and rewarding parts of philosophy. This includes service teaching, although the challenges of teaching non-philosophy students are somewhat different from standard undergraduate teaching. I consider myself to be an enthusiastic and supportive teacher in both contexts. I do not expect that science students will become philosophy students. Instead, I aim conduct courses that help them become more reflective and thoughtful about their work, its contexts, and its implications, whatever their field.