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; and hosting public lectures and faculty and community panels on ethically-relevant topics (e.g. recent programs include panels on the history and legacy of Japanese Internment, free speech on university campuses, preventing and responding to hate crimes and poverty in Kern County, CA).
In 2014, I initiated a school-based research project on possibilities for interactive, dialogue-based, ethics education in early childhood classrooms. This project – Philosophical Ethics in Early Childhood, or, PEECh – is thoroughly interdisciplinary, informed by pedagogical strategies and research in the fields of philosophy for children, social-emotional learning, constructivist education, moral development, and ethics. You can find articles on PEECh collaboration with faculty from the University of Verona, Italy, and our pilot study in State College, PA, here and here. To date, PEECh programming has been implemented in preschool classrooms in State College and Lewistown, PA, and Verona Italy, and PEECh extensions in Bakersfield, CA are underway.
Since July 2018 I have served as President of the Philosophy Learning and Teaching Organization (PLATO). PLATO is a national non-profit organization that promotes philosophy classes and related programming for all K-12 students. As President, I chair the PLATO Executive Committee and work with colleagues to develop workshops, conferences, and education resources for administrators, teachers, and students interested in philosophy.
I am 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.
In addition, I have several in-progress papers, including theory-based and empirical work, on a range of topics:
- Ethics, epistemic injustice, and childhood (e.g. how do we understand and best respect the epistemic agency of children, and how do we assess responsibility and culpability for moral offenses in childhood?)
- Public philosophy (e.g. what counts as public philosophy, and what audiences are currently included and excluded from this practice?)
- Philosophical Ethics in Early Childhood (e.g. I’m collaborating with colleagues from Penn State University and the University of Verona to analyze data and publish research findings from our cross-cultural study on the PEECh curriculum)