Nebraska leads at philosophy teachers conference

June 11, 2018

For the second time in a row, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln is the most represented institution at the Biennial International Conference/Workshop on Teaching in Philosophy, organized by the American Association of Philosophy Teachers (AAPT), the leading association for philosophy teachers in the U.S. This year’s conference will be held in Greensborough, North Carolina, July 25-29. Presenting at this conference is highly competitive and most of the presenters have Ph.D.’s and academic positions. So it is especially impressive that that five Nebraska philosophy graduate students (Zachary Garrett, Shane George, Mark Selzer, Chelsea Richardson, and Zachariah Wrublewski) and one recent Ph.D. (Dr. Aaron Elliott), will be presenting at this year’s conference. Furthermore, philosophy graduate student Chelsea Richardson will be giving her presentation alongside the associate director of Women’s and Gender Studies, Rose Holtz. 

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In 2016, six philosophy graduate students (Aaron Elliott, Zachary Garrett, Shane George, Landon Hedrick, Chelsea Richardson, and Mark Selzer) and one Ph.D. (Dr. Adam R. Thompson) presented at the AAPT conference.

This is just Nebraska's latest achievement in the realm of philosophy pedagogy.  In 2009, philosophy graduate students Allison Fritz, Luke Elwonger, Cullen Gatten, Tim Loughrist, Clare LaFrance, Steve Swartzer, and Adam R. Thompson founded the Graduate Teaching Colloquium for Philosophers.  Attending the AAPT’s four-day seminar on teaching and learning in philosophy brought with it a small transformation to the group, which then instituted a reading/discussion schedule and brought in experts in pedagogy across campus as guest lecturers. In 2018, the Graduate Teaching Colloquium continues to thrive under the guidance of Zach Wrublewski.  

Adam R. Thompson, one of the original founders of the Graduate Teaching Colloquium and current director of Nebraska's Kutak Center for the Teaching and Study of Applied Ethics, was trained as a facilitator by the AAPT. In 2017, Adam was an invited panelist at the Eastern American Philosophical Association Teaching Hub panel “How to Implement Teacher Training in Philosophy: Best Practices,” chaired by Chelsea Richardson. He has helped facilitate philosophy teaching seminars at the University of Michigan, Indiana University, and Loyola University in Chicago. At this summer’s AAPT seminar, Adam was invited to shadow the facilitators for teaching and learning in philosophy. He will have the rare opportunity to observe experts in the field of teaching and learning in philosophy develop and deliver the four day seminar. 

The Department of Philosophy at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln is emerging as a leader in the field when it comes to producing effective philosophy teachers.