I (Jason Bridges) am the director of Phil Perspectives for 2008-09.
Please feel free to me with any questions you may have.
The core curriculum is administered by the
Division. This is a
division of the College, and
as such is distinct from the
Humanities Division. The
Humanities Collegiate Division, along with the rest of the collegiate
administration, is on the second floor of
Humanities Division, on the other hand, is in
If you're new to the campus, the U Chicago website has a
Starting in 2008, The Master (i.e., divisional head) of the
Humanities Collegiate Division is Thomas Christensen, a professor
The assistant to the Master is Norah O'Donnell.
She runs the Humanities core curriculum from the administrative end, and
is exceedingly accessible and knowledgeable (,
or walk-in at HM 228).
There are four types of instructors who teach in the core: U Chicago
faculty (primarily but not exclusively drawn from the philosophy
department), Harper-Schmidt fellows, advanced graduate students
(primarily but not exclusively drawn from the philosophy department) and
2008-09 Phil Perspectives instructors are listed
here. Information about
individual Harper-Schmidt fellows can be found
about Philosophy faculty
and about Philosophy grad students
provides a few useful tools for instructors: online class lists, photo
rosters, and mass emailing to your students (which call also be done via a Chalk web site; see
below). You will need a
Keep in mind that almost all of the students taking Philosophical
Perspectives are first-years. It's true that on the whole they are unusually
driven and intellectually engaged college students, but they will still have
their share of insecurity and inexperience. One thing they will be
learning in the course is what is involved in being a college student.
Plagiarism is one important issue in this regard. Fall instructors will receive
Doing Honest Work in College for yourself and to distribute to
your students. The university's official policy on academic
here. The library also offers a guide on
The university leaves punishment for plagiarism, in the first
instance, to the discretion of the instructor. If you are not sure
how to proceed in a given case, please do not hesitate to talk to me ().
Regardless, instances of plagiarism, as well as other serious forms of
misconduct, should always be reported to Susan Art (), Dean of Students in the
College, to be entered into the student's file.
Prior to each quarter, there will be a meeting of instructors to plan texts and syllabi and to address administrative
matters. We will also meet every other week or so throughout the quarter
to discuss teaching. I'll contact you to schedule the meetings.
Most (hopefully all) sections of Philosophical Perspectives will
have writing interns. Writing interns are graduate students who
have received training from the
University of Chicago
Writing Program (a.k.a. the Little Red Schoolhouse). Their job
is to help teach the students how to write effective college papers.
To that end, they will meet with students individually or in small
groups throughout the quarter, and they will help you with grading and
commenting on the student's work.
The Writing Program has written a
guide (updated in 2008) for core
instructors on the role of writing interns.
Assignments of writing interns to sections are usually not finalized
until a few days before the start of the fall quarter. Your
writing intern will contact you by email once she has been assigned.
Book orders, library reserve and desk copies
Few if any instructors in the Humanities Division order books from
the official campus bookstore.
Instead, we order them from the
The easiest way to place a book order is directly with Amy Repp at the
Seminary Co-op. The order can be placed via
(773-752-4381) or by mailing or dropping off this
form. (You might also want to look at the form to see what
information to include in an email order.)
Sections are capped at 20 students. Since students can stop taking the sequence after the
Winter quarter, there are generally fewer than 20 students in Spring sections. Spring instructors can
probably safely order 18 or so copies.
Books may be placed on
at Regenstein Library. Chapters and articles from collections and
journals can be placed on
electronic reserve, a very convenient service. You may also have
articles and chapters xeroxed for student purchase at the Humanities
copy room in the basement of
The Humanities Collegiate Division will order desk copies for each of the core texts taught in each quarter. If you already have a copy of a text, let me know. For the remaining texts, you'll need to request copies yourself (two for each book, as you need to give one to your writing intern) directly from each publisher.
If you are unable to secure the needed desk copies, you can buy the books and the Division will reimburse you.
Chalk web sites
Chalk is the university's
online internet course management system. It generates a web site
for your class, which you can then use in various ways, e.g.: to
disseminate course materials, to provide a safe way for student to
submit assignments electronically, or to host discussion boards.
Chalk websites utilize a structured software framework (specifically,
Suite), and thus you do not have the freedom you would if you were
designing a website from scratch. The compensation is that Chalk
is easy to use. If, say, you just want to use your site
to make paper assignments available to students (and thus to avoid
having to worry whether absentee students have gotten their hands on
them), the whole process, from requesting the site to posting the
assignments, will take you about five minutes.
To start using Chalk, new instructors will need to have obtained their
Faculty teaching in the core receive a research stipend upon completion of the quarter.
Contact Norah O'Donnell (,
or walk-in at HM 228) for questions pertaining to the stipend.