What am I up to right now? Summer 2023:
Courses: I will be teaching PHL382: Ethics: Death & Dying, and PHLC10: Topics in Bioethics. The broad theme for the topics course is “Philosophy and Bioethics, Today.” We will survey some contemporary bioethics debates published in the past ~two years, with a framing interest in the question: what can philosophy offer bioethics? Students in each course will have opportunities to give input on which questions or debates we cover.
For students: Students who are registered or waitlisted for each course will receive an email in June inviting them to an online “townhall” for that course. Students can use these townhalls to ask questions, help inform their enrolment choices, offer suggestions, or just to say “hi!” and chat before courses start. Note that syllabi will not be finalized until closer to the start of term, since both courses will rely on student input, and will be responsive to ongoing changes to research, news, technology, law, and university policies (such as those concerning AI use). Until then, I am happy to address questions about course plans by email.
Selected teaching experience:
As a course instructor (alphabetical):
- Ethics: Death & Dying (PHL382). (Thrice). An advanced introduction to the bioethics of death and dying, with emphases on COVID-19.
- Ethics & Mental Health (PHL383). An advanced introduction to psychiatric bioethics.
- Introduction to Philosophy (PHL100). Co-taught with Julia Smith. A topics-based introduction to philosophy.
- Topics in Applied Ethics (PHL413). A seminar on practical ethics, the first half focused on issues in practical moral methodology: how do we “do” practical ethics? The second half focused on students’ research projects in practical ethics.
- Topics in Chinese Philosophy (PHL337). Instructor upon the passing of Vincent Shen. In the remaining lectures, we focused on close readings from the Zhuangzi, the Guodian bamboo slips, and the Guanzi.
- Topics in Ethical Theory (PHL 375, PHLC06). An advanced lecture course focusing on the roles of bodies and embodiment in historical and contemporary ethical theory.
- Topics in Non-Western Philosophy (PHLC14). An intermediate introduction to global philosophy, focusing on what counts as “Non-Western Philosophy” and on the value of knowledge.
As a teaching assistant (alphabetical):
- Belief, Knowledge, Truth; Business Ethics; Environmental Ethics; Ethical Theory; Ethics and Medical Research; Ethics: Death and Dying; Ethics, Genetics, and Reproduction; History of Chinese Philosophy; Introduction to Bioethics; Introduction to Ethics; Introduction to Health; Introduction to Philosophy; Persons, Minds, and Bodies; Philosophy of Human Sexuality; Philosophy of Natural Science; Philosophy of Race; Philosophy of Religion; Practical Reason & Human Agency; Social Issues; Topics in Bioethics.
As a guest lecturer
- University of Toronto: The Health Care Professional-Patient Relationship (for PHL283: Bioethics, 2018); Determinants of Health: Disability and Space (for HST209: Introduction to Health: Determinants of Health and Healthcare, 2020); Determinants of Health: Accessibility and COVID-19 (for HST209: Introduction to Health: Determinants of Health and Healthcare, 2021); MAID beyond ‘MAID’: Death, Disability, and Power (for PHL283: Bioethics, 2021); Environmental Reproductive Justice (for PHL384: Ethics, Genetics, and Reproduction, 2019, 2020, and 2022).
- Elsewhere: Disability in old and new media (for RTA918: Media Ethics, Toronto Metropolitan University, 2022).
- March 2021: I was a recipient of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Superior Teaching Award for graduate course instructors for my work on last summer’s “PHL382: Ethics: Death and Dying”. A brief interview about that course is currently available on the Department of Philosophy website. And my one-minute acceptance speech is available through this link. This course also received an honourable mention for the Martha Lile Love Teaching Award in December 2020.
Supervising independent projects:
- I very often get requests from students to supervise independent studies courses on disability, queerness, or global philosophies. The department policy is not to allow PhD candidates (like me) to supervise these projects, so I am not currently able to accept students. There are many good reasons for this policy, but the most straightforward reason is that it’s in your best interest! UofT provides very few chances for one-on-one learning with a tenured professor, and this opportunity can support your learning, as well as help you make valuable connections that can be useful for (eg) graduate applications and professionalization.
- You may still email me for recommendations about who to work with, for readings and materials. In rarer cases I might be able to be an unofficial supervisor or reader on your project in cases where there are no faculty with the kinds of expertise or lived experience you need, but this will need to be agreed upon by your supervisor.
Looking for a syllabus?
- When I teach upper-year courses, I usually take up a practice of course co-design. This means that I use things like student entry surveys, planning meetings, and midterm student input to shape the direction of the course as it unfolds. At a broader level, and because I often teach courses in applied or practical issues, I often tend to shape course content in terms of our learning context (what relationship our course has to other recently taught courses in the same degree program or as a prerequisite or co-requisite to other courses; what unfolding global and local events have happened recently; what campus or digital and physical spaces we’re learning from, and their relationship to broader narratives of land and history; etc). Altogether, these commitments, and a commitment to building on previous choices or mistakes, means that I rarely teach a course the same way twice, and that I almost never have a pre-packaged list of course readings or materials in advance of a course. Still, you’re very welcome to email me for the reading lists or assignments of any of my past courses. You can also email me to discuss upcoming courses. If you’re a student interested in taking a future course with me together, you’ll likely have a more active role in how that course gets designed.
Other recent teaching research and resources
I am working to digitize some of the workshops and materials that I regularly offer in my courses, with the goal of making them more generally available to the public. If there are particular resources you have benefited from as a previous student of mine, or which you would hope to see, please do contact me and let me know!
Beyond all this, I’m working on a short paper about bioethics education. The goal of that paper is to argue for integrating critical appraisal tools in undergraduate bioethics courses. I believe this can support students in professionalization, and in engaging bioethics as an interdisciplinary field of study that is not just limited to philosophy. But even within philosophy, I think that (1) skills in appraising empirical research can help develop stronger philosophical arguments, since many philosophical arguments in bioethics rest their premises on empirical claims from medicine, despite many philosophers not being trained in assessing empirical research; that (2) these skills can help students to more critically assess canonical readings in philosophical bioethics, many of which are decades old and often rely on now-outdated medical claims; and that (3) there are important and valuable philosophical questions about how we conduct empirical research, which can be harder to appreciate without additional background in appraising research methods.