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Interdisciplinary Humanities Group

On the Flourishing of Teachers:
Institutional and Ethical Issues in Practice


This group will discuss teaching as a virtuous moral practice in the higher education setting. To provide a humanistic framework that crosses disciplinary boundaries, faculty leaders will assign readings from Chris Higgins’ book, The Good Life of Teaching: An Ethics of Professional Practice (Wiley-Blackwell, 2011). This work draws on virtue ethics to explore how the flourishing of teachers is connected to the well-being of their students and the larger community. In the process of probing important ethical tensions in teaching, Higgins provides insights into the moral implications of work in general and how it may (or may not) help us all to live meaningful lives. Focused discussions of selected chapters will encourage group members to reflect on their own teaching and curriculum development, as well as to appreciate and critique institutional constraints and opportunities for developing excellence in teaching.

The discussions will prepare group members for a talk by Higgins at 7 p.m., April 9, in 2008 Richmond Center entitled, “Teaching as Ethical Quest: Pitfalls and Possibilities.” The talk by Higgins -- who is Assistant Professor in the Department of Education Policy, Organization and Leadership at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign -- is co-sponsored by the Center for the Study of Ethics in Society and the University Center for the Humanities. The group will hold its last gathering after Higgins’ talk to discuss final thoughts and future plans.