Philosophy in Public

In this course, students will participate in a community internship, volunteer activity, or UI student club and write short weekly reflections that connect the activity with their larger personal, professional, and/or community aims.  Each week there will be a single text -- an article from a newspaper or blog, a video podcast, or an excerpt from a piece of philosophy -- and then the write-ups will be a matter of weighing in on these.  

A student's internship or volunteer activity can be with any of the groups listed at  -- including UIHC, the Iowa City K-12 school district, Girls on the Run, the VA Medical Center, Big Brothers and Big Sisters, the Domestic Violence Intervention Program, Oaknoll Retirement Community, Habitat for Humanity, Meals on Wheels, the Crisis Center, Shelter House, and many other community entities.  Students can also take the course by participating in any UI authorized organization or club.  Note that if you are taking the course and reside outside the Johnson County area, you will be able to find an internship or activity that is in your local community.

Assignments will include the weekly write-ups and also a final web or video or blog project to be done with the assistance of the UI Digital Scholarship and Publishing Studio .  Students may opt to write a five-page paper in place of the web/video/blog project.

Students can take the course for 2 or 3 credit hours, depending on the number of hours that they do for their internship / volunteer / student club activity.  To take the course for 3 credit hours, students need to complete 30 hours total; to take the course for 2 credit hours, students need to complete 20 hours.  

For students who enroll in the course for 3 hours of credit, there will be 12 weekly write-ups.  For students who enroll for 2 hours of credit, there will be 9 weekly write-ups.

Students will be able to meet with philosophy faculty on a regular drop-in basis to discuss their weekly write-ups in advance and to plan for their web/video/blog/writing project.


Please contact Professor Cunning at  with any questions at all.