Philosophy department offers a new version of popular course

Philosophy department offers a new version of popular course

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The TCU Department of Philosophy welcomed new faculty member Dr. Kelly McCormick to the department this semester.

With the addition of McCormick as an assistant professor, the department is offering students a unique, smaller section of its popular team-taught “Introduction to Philosophy” course.

Typically, the course has been offered in two sections with 60 students each. It is the only class team-taught by all Department of Philosophy faculty.

McCormick, who received her Ph.D. from Syracuse University in 2013, teaches a section with 24 students in addition to team-teaching two larger sections.

Blake Hestir, department chair and associate professor of philosophy, said this strategy is the best way for the students to get to know and experience each member of the department as they learn the basics of philosophy.

As a new hire and first-time assistant professor, McCormick said she enjoys the unique opportunity to connect with so many students.

“The team-teaching thing is very neat,” McCormick said. “I don’t think there’s another course like it at TCU.”

McCormick said she also enjoys the concept of team-teaching because each faculty member has the opportunity to introduce students to the different topics of philosophy they specialize in.

“We’re each teaching to our specialty,” McCormick said. “So, the students taking that course really get the best possible presentation of each of these different areas. So if there’s something that really grabs you, you’re getting a presentation of that material by the person you’re going to end up working with in future years.”

The department hired McCormick, the only female professor in the department, after conducting an interactive evaluation of potential candidates in the spring semester.

Though philosophy is one of the smaller departments at TCU, Hestir, who has been at TCU since 1998, said that the number of philosophy majors has doubled over the past 10 years. He said the department was looking to expand the number of classes as well as the breadth of subject matter offered.

Now with a total of six faculty members, Hestir said the student-to-teacher ratio for upper level courses is roughly 12 to 24 students depending on whether the course is seminar or lecture-based.

McCormick, who specialized in philosophical studies of free will and moral responsibility, said she will teach an upper-level course about both subjects next semester in addition to “Introduction to Philosophy.”

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