Spring 2015: Phil 810 – Teaching Workshops


General information

Class Meetings

Days: Dec 5, Jan 30, Feb 27, Mar 27
Time: 3 PM – 5 PM (Mar 27: 5:30pm)
Place: 530 South Kedzie


Phone: 517.355.4490 [dept.])
Place: 518 S. Kedzie Hall
Hours: by appointment

Other Contact

E-mail: lotz@msu.edu
Home Phone: please ask
Webpage: https://christianlotz.wordpress.com


You will find our box in the front office of the philosophy department


Workshop I

Dec 5, Introduction, Tasks, Creative Assignments, Outside Evaluations

Overview, current statistics about students, distribution of tasks and readings

3:30pm-4pm: Corinne Painter
Outside evaluations, mistakes made in new institutional situations

4pm-4:30pm: Michael O’Rourke
Group assignments, writing\

4:30pm-5pm: Kyle Whyte
Group assignments, creative assignments, evaluations

Workshop II

Jan 30, What is philosophy? General issues

Discussion of short papers on philosophy

4pm-5pm: Emily Katz
Discussion of general teaching issues

Workshop III

Feb 27, Syllabus, Grading, Assignments, Minorities, Gender Dynamics

Discussion of grading and quizzes
Readings on grading: Close 2009 (Monica), Harrell 2005 (Amelia, Sophia), Immerwahr 2011 (Zach, Ezgi), Rapaport 2011 (Erik) (sent out as pdfs)
Readings on quizzes: Henderson/Rosenthal 2006 (Aidan), Fernald 2004,

Discussion of syllabi

Minorities, Gender Dynamics

2pm-2:20pm: Hilde Lindemann
2:20pm-2:40pm: Andrea Walsh
2:40pm-3pm: Lisa Schwartzman

Readings: “Presumed Incompetent: The Intersections of Race and Class for Women in Academia” (Gutiérrez y Muhs, Flores Niemann, González, and Harris, Eds.), available through MSU library;. chapter 6: Present and Unequal; chapter 9: Stepping In and Stepping Out; chapter 12: Are Student Teaching Evaluations Holding Back Women and Minorities?

Readings on civility in the classroom: Feldmann 2001, Williams 2007, Young 2003, check this out:

Workshop IV

March 27, Teaching Statements, Mock Interviews

Discussion of teaching statements, report on class observations

Mock interviews

Course Description

As a grad student, and later as a faculty member, you will need to balance your teaching responsibilities with time for research. Our goal is to figure out ways to teach well and efficiently.


Participation is mandatory

Course Goals

These workshops will less focus on theoretical questions; instead, we will try to discuss practical matters. It is hoped for that you will at the end develop broader ideas about creative assignments, syllabi, and be more reflective of your situation as a teacher in different institutional settings. In addition, you should be able to relate your ideas about teaching to your conception of philosophy and be aware of different methods and ideas about grading assignments.


Project 1: Teaching statement

We will workshop your existing materials and/or materials you revise or produce for this course. These should include a statement of your teaching philosophy and a sample syllabus for an introduction to philosophy course.

Project 2: Teaching interview

We will prepare questions for a 10-15 minute teaching interview on the basis of your CV and your teaching statement; you will be the job candidate. The rest of the class will observe.

Project 3: Research on grading

You will prepare and present different ways of grading assignments (research portion).

Project 4: Teaching observation

Attend one session of a 100-300-level course taught by a faculty member in our department. Then meet with the faculty member to discuss the pedagogical techniques he/she used in the class session you observed. Prepare a report and deliver it to our seminar


Assignment I (due Jan23)

Teaching statements are often filled with many clichés and are difficult to construct. How we think about teaching philosophy often depends upon [1] our own past experiences (we tend to repeat what we have encountered in the past), [2] inadequate visions of students in our classes, [3] a misunderstanding of the institutional context of our classes, and [3] our own conceptions of philosophy (which, as we all know, can differ greatly). This assignment should help you lay out and reflect on your own conception of philosophy, as this conception partly determines how you think about teaching philosophy as well as how you construct philosophy classes

  1. Write a brief essay of no more than 600 words in which you lay out your conception of philosophy and explain what philosophy is good for today; try to avoid clichés
  2. Write a brief essay of no more than 300 words in which you explain why students who do not intend to major in philosophy should take philosophy classes anyhow

Assignment II (due Feb 20)

Grading can be intense, takes a lot of effort and time, and is often too complex. We will discuss in class different approaches to grading and quizzes. Each of you gets assigned two readings and will briefly present the ideas of your authors in class on Feb 27

  1. Write up brief summaries (no more than 300 words) of your reading assignment (determined on Dec 5)
  2. Come up with a syllabus for an introduction to philosophy

Assignment III (due Mar 20)

  1. Write a draft of your teaching statement for your teaching portfolio
  2. Prepare your CV

Assignment IV (Mar 27)

  1. Prepare brief reports of your teaching observations and discussions with your faculty mentor

Timeline for assignments

Dec 5, Assignment Philosophy passed out in class

Jan 12, Faculty/student pairings are finalized

Jan 23, Assignment Philosophy due via email

Jan 30, Reading assignments passed out in class

Feb 20, Short summaries of reading assignments due via emaill; syllabi due via email

Mar 20, Teaching statements + CV due via email