AAP Prize for Innovation in Inclusive Curricula

The Australasian Association of Philosophy (AAP) offers an annual monetary prize of $500 for the development of innovative approaches to teaching philosophy. This is offered with a view to exploring ways in which undergraduate courses in philosophy can build the understanding and practise of an inclusive discipline, concerned to foster equal participation in the profession. The aims of the prize are to encourage professionals developing and improving their teaching portfolios to consider critically how philosophy is presented, and to be innovative in implementing practices of teaching that off-set well-known disparities of participation in the discipline, for instance along race and gender lines. 

Criteria of evaluation

  • Significant innovation in curriculum that successfully promotes equity and diversity within the discipline, particularly with respect to underrepresented or marginalised groups in the profession
  • Innovation in pedagogy that successfully promotes broader participation in the discipline
  • High quality in course design and delivery

Eligibility

The prize is open to individuals, or groups of individuals, teaching undergraduate philosophy courses in Australasian Universities.

The course must have taken place within 5 years before the date of application. The course convenor should be included amongst the applicants, unless prior approval is given to waive this requirement.

No person may win the prize more than once, and no course may be re-entered without substantial modifications..

Applications

Entries/nominations for the prize in 2015 should be in electronic copy and must be received by the Executive Officer no later than 28th February 2017

The application should include:

  • a course outline
  • rationale for the design of the course in view of the aims of the prize (max 1500 words)
  • course evaluations (where available) or other supporting evidence of feedback from participants


2017
Winner

Alexandre Lefebvre

The Philosophy of Human Rights (University of Sydney).

The course promotes inclusivity through careful attention to the authors represented within its curriculum, thus presenting to students a clear sense in which those engaged in important philosophical work can be from diverse backgrounds. This representation of diversity in philosophy is also carried through into the teaching team for the course, which displays a carefully managed gender balance. Finally, the course makes use of alternative methods of teaching, especially in tutorials, where inquiry and interaction are nurtured in an inquisitorial and collaborative learning space, thus supporting diverse styles of engagement. The judging panel found the course to be a high quality example of how to improve inclusiveness in the teaching of philosophy.


2016
Winner

Dr Ruth Boeker

History of Early Modern Philosophy

The prize's winner is Dr Ruth Boeker's course History of Early Modern Philosophy  (University of Melbourne). The course innovates with respect to a standard course in early modern philosophy both in its content and in its pedagogy: it focuses on the collaborative aspect of philosophy during the early modern period; and it mirrors that collaboration in team-based pedagogy within the course.

These innovations cultivate inclusiveness, not by diluting the challenge of the curriculum but by intensifying students' engagement. The course materials undermine the myth of the solitary male philosophical genius, instead underscoring the interaction of voices, including female voices, in a common philosophical conversation during the early modern period. The carefully planned pedagogical structure cultivates students taking an active role in creating a supportive learning environment for themselves and their peers within their teams. And finally, the continuous low-stakes assessment sustains engagement and builds skills, thereby preventing students being left behind.

The judging panel found the course overall to be of high quality and an excellent contribution to improving inclusiveness within the teaching of philosophy. 

If you would like to receive more information about the course please contact 

Dr Boeker:  shaps.unimelb.edu.au/about/staff/dr-ruth-boeker

Helpful TBL Resources 

Boeker task design and sample materials 

Boeker Course Outline and Design 

 2014
Winner

Michelle Sowey

Director - The Philosophy Club

The Big Questions Philosophy Mentoring Program


The judging panel unanimously decided to award the prize to The Big Questions philosophy mentoring program, submitted by Michelle Sowey, director of Melbourne-based organization The Philosophy Club. This program has a two part structure in which: i) a cohort of undergraduate philosophy “mentors” are trained to facilitate collaborative philosophical inquiry amongst children, drawing on the “Philosophy for Children” model which has intellectual roots in American pragmatism. They are then placed in a low socio-economic status primary school setting where they facilitate philosophical inquiry with the children, with appropriate support, ii) the children receive an exposure to philosophical thought which is currently rare amongst low socio-economic status groups in Australasia, who typically do not reach University-level study.

The judging panel were impressed by the unique experiential learning in both philosophical practice and teaching which this program made possible, and by evidence that it achieved its aims of both broadening mentor’s philosophical practice and introducing our discipline to sectors of society that would not ordinarily encounter it. Although the program’s structure is unusual, the judges took into consideration that an important function of this prize is to encourage flexible thinking around the training of future philosophers. In her application Michelle argues that programs such as The Big Questions could play an important role in improving retention in our profession for individuals who are uncomfortable with a certain perceived combativeness in some aspects of its current culture, and instinctively prefer a more cooperative and collaborative model of philosophising. This claim seems worthy of further investigation.

Download - 
Big Questions program aims, structure and scope, and program outline pdf
Big Questions Sample curriculum materials pdf 
Big Questions - how academic philosophers can get involved docx 



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