Reaching Out / Giving Back
While our department has long had—and continues to maintain—a strong record of faculty outreach, two recent student-led initiatives bear special mention.
Prior to earning his Ph.D. and a two-year stint as a Presidential Management Fellow in Washington, DC, Matt Deaton spearheaded graduate student efforts to organize and host the East Tennessee Regional High School Ethics Bowl. The bowl brings teams of regional high school students to participate in a competition that tests students’ abilities to engage in ethical reasoning, dialogue, and analysis.
During the past year, graduate students Jeff Cervantez and Jason Fishel picked up the baton, secured substantial funding from the College of Arts and Sciences, and expanded the bowl. It was a resounding success, winning praise from participants, their parents, and high school sponsors.
Philosophy with kids
Graduate and undergraduate students travel to Pond Gap Elementary School in Knox County, where they read to and discuss with students age-appropriate stories with philosophical themes and issues, such as what it means to be honest with yourself or why social rules are valuable. This initiative aims to cultivate in elementary students their native capacities for independent critical thinking and philosophical reflection.