In 2020, I founded Humanities Beyond Bars (HBB), a public humanities program that aims to increase public understanding of mass incarceration in California’s Central Valley and the life experiences, successes, and challenges of currently and formerly incarcerated people. Sponsored by grants from California Humanities and the Whiting Foundation, HBB increases engagement with humanities through open-access oral histories featuring the stories of formerly incarcerated persons, public lectures and community conversations, and a public symposium on incarceration and reimagining public safety. For more on the HBB project, access the project website here.
In June 2020, I began to serve as co-chair of the Bakersfield Police Department – Community Collaborative. This initiative was established based on a referral from the Bakersfield City Council and included a charge to review and evaluate regional and national police policy and training recommendations so as to produce recommendations for reform in the Bakersfield Police Department. To this end, the BPD-CC solicited and formalized community-sourced recommendations for policing reform, policing capacity, and building trust and greater partnership between BPD and the Bakersfield Community. The full recommendations report can be found here.
In 2017, I joined California State University, Bakersfield, as Director of the Kegley Institute of Ethics. I’m in the process of developing the Institute, both building on its traditions and introducing new projects. Among others, these projects include establishing ethics and philosophy seminars in local prisons; expanding the Institute’s Ethics Across the Curriculum Program; establishing new philosophy and ethics education partnerships with local K-12 teachers, administrators, and students; launching faculty and student ethics fellowship programs; and hosting public lectures and faculty and community panels on a wide-range ethically-relevant topics.
In 2017, I co-founded (with Dr. Brittney Beck) the Social-Emotional, Ethics, and Democratic Education (SEEDE) Institute . The SEEDE Institute is an annual program that features interactive professional development for local K-12 educators on topics in social-emotional learning, ethics education, and democratic pedagogy. Our goal is to cultivate teachers and students who are better able to grapple with who they are, who they want to be, and the broader purpose of education in the context of a diverse community.
I serve as incoming President of the Public Philosophy Network. In this role, I work with colleagues to support philosophers who use their concepts and skills to serve communities outside of academia and to make positive changes in society and to support institutional changes supportive of publicly engaged work.
I am the founding editor of Precollege Philosophy and Public Practice, an annual interdisciplinary and peer-reviewed online journal for philosophical and/or empirical research on precollege philosophy and its impact and interaction with related areas such as public philosophy, dialogue-based education, ethics education, and human development.