The main outcome of this project is a revised version of my class in Political Philosophy. This class will be taught every two years at Sewanee as a community engagement class, and is likely to be taken by a majority of philosophy majors, as well as a number of students from other majors. The new version of the class focuses specifically on the topic of access to education, which will have the following benefits:

  1. Allowing students to work with a range of different community partners whist focusing on the same core questions about education and access. this will preserve one section of the previous version of the class that students valued (i.e the ability to choose different community engagements projects depending on their interests), whilst allowing for a much more coherent and unified discussion in class.
  2. Breaking down the “us and them” dynamic that sometimes emerges in discussions of community engagement by focusing on an issue the directly concerns Sewanee students as well as community members beyond campus.
  3. Fostering student research that may eventually prove to be useful both to the university and our community partners in framing important questions about education access.

Hopefully this class will contribute to our understanding of southern Appalachia and place-based studies in a lease two ways: first, by giving students the opportunity to contextualize their understanding of abstract philosophical questions in their experience of the concrete issues of education access that arise in this community, and second, by producing student research that may help both the university and our local community partners in thinking about ways to frame these issues in a philosophically informed why.