Petition Tag - philosophy

1. Save Philosophy at the University of Northampton

We have recently started a campaign to stop the closure of the Philosophy department. So far we have started Facebook, Twitter and a society.

This is still a fairly new campaign but we have shown already to have massive support.

The first two days of a written petition saw well over 1000 signatures, I am hoping to have this much success with the online petition.

http://twitter.com/#!/search/realtime/%23savephilosophy

2. Save Philosophy at Greenwich [Philosophers]

The situation:

The School of Humanities management announced on March 23rd that recruitment to the Philosophy BA as been stopped, with immediate effect, and that all places on this degree already offered to students for the coming year are to be rescinded. They have further recommended to the University Academic Planning Committee that the Philosophy BA be closed down. No objective argument was presented for this halt in recruitment and closure. A request was made for the relevant documentation to the Head of School and vice chancellor, but no response has been received. On March 29th, the HOS and DVC confirmed the planned closure in a school meeting, citing financial reasons. The evidence cited was insufficient, including both partial out-of-date statistics.

What is needed:

A full and rigorous review of the information pertaining to this decision in a process that involves the subject specialists and takes into account all relevant data.

Why this is needed:

The Philosophy degree at the University of Greenwich has been running successfully for over 20 years. The staff are committed to providing the highest level of teaching and the programme received excellent reports at its last validation. Recruitment to the programme tripled last year, and applications for the coming year are higher still.

The University is well known for it’s championing of widening participation, and its high intake of BME students. Many of these students are unable to move away from home in order to study, and Greenwich is one of the very few institutions left in the South East offering Philosophy to students whose achievement is likely to be less than straight A’s.

Philosophy has an essential place in any University worthy of the name.

3. Save Philosophy at Greenwich

The situation:

The School of Humanities management announced on March 23rd that recruitment to the Philosophy BA as been stopped, with immediate effect, and that all places on this degree already offered to students for the coming year are to be rescinded. They have further recommended to the University Academic Planning Committee that the Philosophy BA be closed down. No objective argument was presented for this halt in recruitment and closure. A request was made for the relevant documentation to the Head of School and vice chancellor, but no response has been received. On March 29th, the HOS and DVC confirmed the planned closure in a school meeting, citing financial reasons. The evidence cited was insufficient, including both partial out-of-date statistics.

What is needed:

A full and rigorous review of the information pertaining to this decision in a process that involves the subject specialists and takes into account all relevant data.

Why this is needed:

The Philosophy degree at the University of Greenwich has been running successfully for over 20 years. The staff are committed to providing the highest level of teaching and the programme received excellent reports at its last validation. Recruitment to the programme tripled last year, and applications for the coming year are higher still.

The University is well known for it’s championing of widening participation, and its high intake of BME students. Many of these students are unable to move away from home in order to study, and Greenwich is one of the very few institutions left in the South East offering Philosophy to students whose achievement is likely to be less than straight A’s.

Philosophy has an essential place in any University worthy of the name.

UPDATE [April 19th]. The Philosophy team met with School management (including the Head of School, Prof. Joanne Finkelstein) on April 8th. The main reasons cited for the decision to close the BA were low recruitment and poor returns from past students reporting their employment status. The team argued against the former, as recruitment leapt last year from 15 to 40 single hons students. The issue of role of employment statistics was also discussed. At the end of the meeting management reiterated it's position and decision.

4. Bristol Philosophers Against Student Fees Proposal

We wish to question the Government’s proposal to severely cut funding for undergraduate university study and to correspondingly greatly increase student tuition fees.

5. Save Howard Philosophy

The Department of Philosophy at Howard University is in danger of being shut down. The administration is poised to fold this BA and MA degree granting department into an interdisciplinary program offering only core and service courses.

This will mark the end of the only graduate degree program in philosophy at an HBCU; it will weaken the university’s commitment to the kind of humanistic self-examination that underwrote the US black freedom movement; and it will repudiate the legacy of philosophy at Howard, a legacy forged by the likes of Alain Locke, one of the central figures in the Harlem Renaissance.

Please help us encourage Howard’s president to strengthen philosophy rather than abolish it.

6. Make Reasoning Skills Compulsory in Schools

We believe that the too-restrictive National Curriculum needs to be significantly expanded to allow more creativity and innovation in the teaching of core cognitive skills.

To that end, we believe introducing Philosophy lessons in the classroom from a very early age would have immense benefits in terms of boosting British school kids' reasoning and conceptual skills, better equipping them for the complexities of life in the 21st century where ubiquitous technology and rapid social change will be the order of the day.

There is a growing body of evidence that Philosophy can be of huge importance in opening up young minds. Reasoning skills and habits improve learning in other subjects on the curriculum and do not require purchasing expensive equipment and classroom resources.

We believe that in a time of changes in the way education is being delivered, combined with imminent profound cuts in budgets at a national level, now is the ideal time for schools to look for innovative ways to extend the National Curriculum.

Michael Hand and Carrie Winstanley’s 'Philosophy in Schools', published in 2008, had academics and education experts calling for Philosophy to be taught in schools – not just as a way for children to learn to communicate more with each other and grow in confidence, but as an academic subject with thinking and reasoning skills at its core.

In 2008, UNESCO published a study looking at the benefits of teaching Philosophy at pre-school and primary levels, concluding, "[We] consider the teaching of Philosophy to be necessary and something to be reckoned with." Meanwhile, a 2007 study by Dundee University suggested that confronting core philosophical debates as the nature of existence, ethics and knowledge can raise children's IQ by up to 6.5 points, as well as improve emotional intelligence. The research also found that Philosophy in schools promotes certain speaking and listening skills, as well as sustained reasoning skills over time. Confidence and concentration also improved, along with teacher’s questioning skills.

Reasoning skills arrived at through Philosophy are also a proven and cost-effective way of boosting pupil brain power and engagement across the curriculum. Thus an Ofsted report from 2010 on the teaching of Philosophy at St Winifred’s Infants School in Lewisham noted: “Lessons in Philosophy encourage pupils to reflect and think more deeply. This has a direct and positive impact on [St Winifred’s] curriculum”.

Philosophy is often valued for the way it can provide the most able students with an outlet for their intelligence and creativity, say witnesses. But another major-plus point is we find Philosophy nurtures the abilities of students labeled difficult and low-achieving, who really enjoy the stimulus of discussion and argument. “Philosophy has developed our more able, but also given great confidence to those children who struggle with the more conventional curriculum,” comments Headmistress Mrs Palmer at Eliot Bank Primary school.

7. Save Middlesex Philosophy


Petition to Save the Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy, Middlesex University and to get those students and staff who were suspended for their support reinstated

--------------------------------IMPORTANT UPDATE - May 23, 2010 --------------------------------

Bullying managers at Middlesex University have suspended two philosophy professors and several philosophy students for the crime of campaigning to save their own jobs and courses.

The suspensions come in the wake of international outrage at plans by Middlesex managers to shut down the university's world renowned philosophy centre. Students occupied the Mansion Building at Middlesex's Trent Park campus for 12 days in protest at the closure decision. Now the university bosses are threatening to suspend every student involved in this peaceful sit-in protest.

We must not let these bullies get away with trashing Middlesex University's academic reputation, shutting down successful departments and intimidating those staff and students who stand up to them.

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The abrupt closure of the Philosophy programmes at Middlesex University is a matter of national and indeed international concern. Not only does it flatly contradict the stated commitment of Middlesex University to promote 'research excellence', it represents a startling stage in the ongoing impoverishment of Philosophy provision in the UK.

The Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy (http://www.web.mdx.ac.uk/crmep/) at Middlesex makes a significant and distinctive contribution to the teaching of philosophy in the UK. Its set of MA programmes is currently the largest in the UK, and Philosophy is the most prestigious and highest research-rated subject at Middlesex University.

The CRMEP is now widely recognised as one of the most important centres for the study of modern European philosophy anywhere in the English-speaking world. Building on its grade of 5 in the 2001 Research Assessment Exercise, in the 2008 RAE Middlesex was rated first in philosophy among post-1992 universities, with 65% of its research activity judged ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’.

More importantly, work carried out at the CRMEP is characterised by a unique emphasis on broad cultural, artistic and intellectual contexts, and a marked sense of social and political engagement.

Middlesex Philosophy is one of only a handful of programmes left in the UK that provides both research-driven and inclusive post-graduate teaching aimed at a wide range of students, specialist and non-specialist. It also happens to generate a substantial amount of revenue for the University, currently contributing close to half of its total income to the University's central administration.

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To express support and to help with the campaign email savemdxphil@gmail.com or join the facebook group.

If you would like to keep up to date on the progress of the campaign then please visit:
http://savemdxphil.com/
or follow us on twitter:
http://twitter.com/saveMDXphil

For various past press releases (which include pieces in the Guardian, Guardian CIF, the Telegraph, and BBC World Radio) please visit:
http://savemdxphil.com/2010/05/09/press-round-up/
or join our facebook group where all publications and future events are discussed:
http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/group.php?gid=119102561449990&ref=ts

For more information on the financial arguments you can read our Finance FAQ -
http://savemdxphil.com/2010/05/01/faq-on-the-financial-situation-of-philosophy-at-middlesex/

PLEASE CIRCULATE THIS NEWS WIDELY - closure at Liverpool and cuts at KCL and elsewhere have been avoided and suspensions as Sussex have been reveresed due to protest. It IS possible to stop the demented venal idiocy of university management.

If you would like to show Dean Esche what you think of this decision then you can email him at e.esche@mdx.ac.uk, please send a copy and any reply to savemdxphil@gmail.com

8. Reading Week for 3rd Year Philosophy Students

A number of departments in the University have decided to give a reading week to their students around this time of the semester.

This seems to be due to the fact that the Swine Flue has not caused many class cancellations, and so, to help the students with the workload, the reading week has been granted.

9. Keep Professor Binta Colley on Faculty

As of Fall 2003 semester, Professor Binta Colley, a fine and outstanding professor of philosophy, education and other related courses faces the possibility of losing her job.

In our education system today, we cannot afford to lose professors with exceptional teaching skills because they are devoted to helping their students gain great knowledge and love for the subject they are embarking.

Professor Binta Colley is one of the most outstanding student-oriented teacher York College or America has today and unfortunately, she was informed that she could be out of a job base on how she teaches and grades the students.

I had the opportunity of taking one of her philosophy classes, and it is unlike any other class that I have taken before. Not only does she use the Socratic method of teaching, but she promotes critical thinking in all areas and also provokes exceptional learning and application out of all her students. No student is left behind. If for any reason a student is experiencing difficulties in any area, Professor Colley is available by phone, office hours, virtual classroom, and email to assist each student in all areas. If by chance she is unable to help you, then professor Colley directs you to the appropriate place.

Great teachers in all areas and levels of teaching should be cherished, appreciated and awarded. If any thing should be done to her, an award should be handed to her. LET US PROTECT OUR HARD WORKING PROFESSORS. KEEP PROFESSOR BINTA COLLEY ON BOARD ACTIVELY!!!