Outreach

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a note about the pandemic

Despite the barriers to traditional face-to-face programming, our department remains virtually active and engaged in the community. This semester we are offering discussion groups at retirement communities, programming at local libraries and schools, new for-credit and extracurricular opportunities at NC correctional facilities, and other exciting programs at various community centers. We remain committed to deploying our intellectual resources in service to the community within the constraints of the pandemic, and to exploiting the affordances of the virtual normal in which we find ourselves.

Please visit the Partner with Us page for more information, or contact our Outreach Director Michael Vazquez by email at michael.vazquez@unc.edu. Stay tuned for updates on new and exciting partnerships, and a streamlined presentation of our engagement efforts!

 

Why Outreach?

The aim of our Outreach Program is to use the Philosophy Department’s and the Parr Center’s intellectual resources (i) to help people in the community think carefully and clearly about a broad range of ideas, commitments, and practices that shape their lives, (ii) to expand the scope and breadth of philosophical inquiry by bringing new voices into the fold, and (iii) to promote the university’s mission to produce and disseminate knowledge for the public good.

We are motivated by the conviction that philosophical activity contributes to a flourishing and autonomous life by helping us to develop a sense of ourselves and the world around us through reflection on our beliefs and values. We also believe that the skills and dispositions cultivated by philosophical inquiry are integral to a flourishing civic sphere. In addition to the intrinsic value of knowledge for its own sake, social science research highlights the instrumental benefits of exposing children to philosophy.

We are fortunate to work with numerous community partners in the Triangle Area, ranging from schools to senior centers to correctional facilities. Our volunteers include UNC undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty from Philosophy, the Parr Center, and beyond.

Our current Outreach Director is Michael Vazquez. Former Outreach Directors/RAs are Piers Turner, Clair Morrissey, Emily Kelahan, Cathay Liu, Felipe De Brigard, Matt Priselac, Jen Kling, Patrick Connolly, Michael Burroughs, and Jordan MacKenzie. Our current outreach coordinator is Steven Swartzer (Sam Reis-Dennis is the Parr RA for 2014-2015). Geoffrey Sayre-McCord is the Faculty Adviser. We are a part of the Carolina Center for Public Service.