Feminist scholar bell hooks argues that theory can be a liberatory practice.  She writes that philosophy, done well, can heal (1994).  I believe in making that sort of philosophy available to all of my students.  I believe in wedding philosophy to praxis.  Marginalized students in particular can be frustrated by philosophy that does not seem address the problems they care about, that seems wholly detached from the world they live in.  I invite my students to do philosophy that addresses their worlds and experiences, and I try to show them how philosophy can bring about social change.  Finally, I try to show them that people like them can be philosophers too.

At the USC I held a a competitive interdisciplinary fellowship teaching a course in ethics, advocacy, and rhetoric.  As a class, we discussed philosophical works in feminist theory, critical race theory, disability studies, queer studies, and environmental ethics, as well as high end journalism about current social issues in the form of both articles and podcasts.  I’ve also taught Introduction to Inductive Logic, a course in probabilistic and statistical thinking.  This course typically attracts math-phobic students—a challenge I particularly enjoy after tutoring high school physics for similar students.  I love making difficult material accessible to students and showing them that they can succeed where they feared they couldn’t.  I have also TAed for Ethics of Food.  This spring I will teach Gonzaga’s introductory Reasoning course, which teaches students argumentation skills and how to read critically.  I will also teach online for the first time for EWU’s Department of Disability Studies. 

Where possible, I rely heavily on class discussion in my teaching.  The work my students do in dialogue with me and with their classmates is as important as any paper they write.  Class discussion gives students the opportunity to try out new ideas and to examine them critically with the help of their peers.  It also provides a venue for those views to be challenged by others with different experiences and backgrounds. It provides a space for philosophy to liberate and heal.  I take practical steps to build an atmosphere of openness and trust in the classroom, an environment that’s welcoming to all students, both in the way I moderate discussion and by giving students the responsibility of establishing norms for class discussion.  Additionally, I invite students to participate with me in finding ways to make my courses accessible and inclusive by helping to set class policies on technology, attendance, and late work. 

Part of ensuring an inclusive learning environment involves broadening the canon to include philosophical works by scholars from underrepresented groups.  Additionally, I am conscientious about choosing texts that are affordable for all students.  Attendance and late work policies are flexible enough to accommodate students with disabilities, chronic illnesses, and family or work commitments.  Daily assignments, such as contributions to class discussion boards encourage all students, even those who might not readily speak up in class, to participate.  Finally, for reasons of accessibility, I do my best to assess students’ performance in a variety of ways—both long and short written assignments, opportunities to lead class discussion, short presentations, and routine participation.

I look forward to taking the skills I’ve developed—particularly my facility in leading critical discussion and in reaching out to students who may be intimidated by philosophy—and applying them to new courses in the coming years.  In addition to Philosophy of Science, Social and Feminist Epistemology, Science and Values, and History and Philosophy of Measurement, my expertise also lends itself to teaching Bioethics, Feminist Ethics, Social Justice, and Philosophy of Disability.

Sample Course Proposals

Philosophy of Science


Feminist Philosophy

Philosophy of Disability

History and Philosophy of Measurement

Social and Feminist Epistemology