BKT Assistant Professor of Philosophy Adriel Trott and her colleagues have earned a $47,000 grant from the Great Lakes Colleges Association (GLCA) for an “Ancient Philosophy Teaching and Research Collaborative” between teachers and students in GLCA schools.

The grant is from the GLCA’s Expanding Collaboration Initiative, funded by the Mellon Foundation, which through partnerships between its colleges strives to provide GLCA students with the resource of a large university and the intimacy of the liberal arts college classroom.

Trott says the purpose of the grant is “to enhance the professional development of each faculty participant while offering students opportunities to engage with an extended community of faculty mentors and undergraduate peers.

“Each year, we will hold an undergraduate workshop in ancient philosophy with students presenting and commenting on research projects on a text that all participating faculty will teach their students. The workshop will be capped off by a keynote from an expert in the field.”

In addition to the workshop, faculty will meet for a pedagogy workshop on ancient philosophy each year, hosted by one of the participating institutions.

“We will also have a faculty research exchange with, initially at least, the faculty of the steering committee taking turns each year traveling to one of our institutions to share their research with students and colleagues there,” Trott says. “And we are exploring the possibility of virtual classroom exchanges where we can visit one another’s classrooms through video conferencing.”

The idea for the collaboration arose after Trott was invited to join Kevin Harrelson at Ball State and Kevin Miles at Earlham as they brought their students together to share research papers.

“When the GLCA announced this collaborative initiative, we realized we already had faculty working together and that it would be great to find a way to fund the work we were doing and further institutionalize it.  So we reached out to Lewis Trelawny-Cassity at Antioch and began developing a program,” Trott says.
She is looking forward to helping her students understand that philosophy is best studied and lived as part of a community.
“We started to do this last year and found that it motivated students, made students care,’ Trott says. “They were having to speak about these things publicly. Tbey realized that people outside of their class and other than their teacher cared about these same things their professor was having them read and that they, too, were enjoying reading these texts.

 “We’re helping them to escape this sense that they’re in this little bubble and to begin realizing that other students and teachers are really excited about this too. They realize it’s not just an academic exercise to take ideas seriously. Other peers take these ideas seriously.”