March 31st, 2015 (Jupiter, FL)–– Every year Oxford University in conjunction with Yale University brings together many distinguished faculty members from around the world for the Philosophy Summer School in China. The purpose of this program is to teach the contents and methods of Western Philosophy to Chinese students. Graduate students and professors of philosophy from all over China apply to participate in the three-week residential program; however, only forty students get selected to participate. Since the program first began in 1988, the Summer School has been hosted by a different university each year with a different theme. The 2015 Summer School will be held at Huaqiao University in Xiamen, China, and the theme will be Philosophy of Science.
Dr. Ashley G. Kennedy, who specializes in the Philosophy of Medicine/Bioethics and Philosophy of Science, heard about the Oxford-Yale Philosophy Summer School through other colleagues who had participated in it in previous years, and found herself very excited when she received an invitation to participate in it this year. “It is not something you can apply for—you have to be invited. This year I am the only American, the only woman, and the only pre-tenured faculty member, so it is quite an honor to be asked to participate,” says Dr. Kennedy.
The Summer School program has helped raise the standards for philosophical education in China. Alumni of the program now serve as a major force in Chinese teaching and research on Western Philosophy. As a professor at the 2015 Summer Session, Dr. Kennedy will give ten lectures on the Philosophy of Science through the course of three weeks. Her lectures will focus on theoretical issues in astrophysical modeling. “The summer school directors invited me because they had read some of the research I published in this area,” explains Dr. Kennedy.
Dr. Kennedy anticipates that the most challenging aspect of this incredible teaching opportunity will be knowing how to pace her lectures. She explains that even though her students will have advanced philosophical training, English is not their first language. She understands that she will have to pay careful attention to her students to make sure she is not moving too quickly or too slowly. On the other hand, she finds the opportunity to teach to be the most rewarding aspect of this experience. Teaching has always been something that Dr. Kennedy has loved to do. In fact, it has been something she has been doing since the age of 16. “I always find it rewarding—there’s really nothing like it! I also love to travel and made my first international trip when I was 12, so this summer I get to combine two of my life-long passions!” exclaims Dr. Kennedy.
Teaching at the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College is Dr. Kennedy’s dream job. “I get to work with small groups of dedicated and inspiring students who make me fall in love with teaching over and over again every day. Being here has made me a better teacher and a better researcher—and now I have the unique opportunity to take these skills abroad,” she shares. The Honors College is very proud of Dr. Kennedy and her recent accomplishment, and is very excited to hear about her teaching experience in the Oxford-Yale Philosophy 2015 Summer School.
About Florida Atlantic University: Florida Atlantic University, established in 1961, officially opened its doors in 1964 as the fifth public university in Florida. Today, the University, with an annual economic impact of $6.3 billion, serves more than 30,000 undergraduate and graduate students at sites throughout its six-county service region in southeast Florida. FAU’s world-class teaching and research faculty serves students through 10 colleges: the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters, the College of Business, the College for Design and Social Inquiry, the College of Education, the College of Engineering and Computer Science, the Graduate College, the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing and the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science. FAU is ranked as a High Research Activity institution by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The University is placing special focus on the rapid development of three signature themes – marine and coastal issues, biotechnology and contemporary societal challenges – which provide opportunities for faculty and students to build upon FAU’s existing strengths in research and scholarship. For more information, visit www.fau.edu.