I’m a Professor of Philosophy at Santa Barbara City College, and have been since 2005. Prior to this teaching gig, I taught at the Univ. of Washington (Seattle), St. Anselm College (Manchester, New Hampshire), the Univ. of Southern Maine (Portland), and the Univ. of Southern Indiana (Evansville). I was taught, in chronological order, at Tulane Univ. (New Orleans, Louisiana), Santa Barbara City College, The Univ. of Arizona (Tucson), King’s College London, and the Univ. of Washington. At each of these “institutions of higher learning,” I had at least one excellent teacher. Let me give credit to them: a poetry teacher at Tulane whose name escapes me; Joe White at SBCC; Henning Jensen, Christia Mercer, and David Owen at UA; Tony Savile and David Lloyd-Thomas at King’s; and, Ken Clatterbaugh, Bob Coburn, David Keyt, and Cass Weller at UW. Not only did these teachers provide great training in their disciplines, but they also demonstrated to me what it takes to be an excellent teacher. It should also be mentioned that UW ran (and continues to run) a required weekly seminar for graduate students regarding the craft of teaching. I believe that all professors and future professors should go through such specialized training. Unfortunately, most have not. (It’s as if they think they can drive a Lamborghini on the Autobahn because they’ve driven a bumper car at an amusement park.) Speaking of which, I have had shitty teachers at each of these institutions, whom, let’s be honest, should have either worked hard to become better at their chosen profession or should have sought out another profession.
Both lucky and cursed, I was born and raised in Santa Barbara, California, and am the eldest of six children. Santa Barbara is a small city that behaves and feels that way, so I didn’t apply to any colleges in the area nor even in California. UCSB, for instance, was never on my learning radar. (In a subsequent blog, I will talk about how UCSB and similar institutions need to step up their teaching “game” if they want me to recommend them to prospective students.) I went to the most foreign city in the United States, namely, New Orleans, to study engineering. In many ways, I wasn’t prepared for the experience. I got in trouble, and officially was placed on both academic and disciplinary probation. Looking back, I should have gone to a smaller college with fewer distractions, but at the same time wouldn’t trade the experience for anything. (More on this in later blogs.)
Non-teaching activities that I engage in include music, cycling, and running. I am in an active punk band called Crying 4 Kafka. Our lyrics are provocative and have psychological and philosophical themes. I am a member of the Santa Barbara Cycling Club—one of the spandex crowd. When it comes to running, I am associated only with myself, though I’m starting to branch out. I used to fence a lot, but being that I live in Santa Barbara, it’s too much of an indoor sport. I have three children who are all in college at the same time. Finally, I’d like to thank my wife, Elizabeth, with whom pedagogy is a common topic of conversation. She also edits my posts; any faults are of course my own.