Teaching Excellence Awards

 Year Awarded: 2010

Faculty Award winner

Jane Compson

 College of Arts and Humanities

 Philosophy

‘How do we know?’ This is a key question in many philosophical and religious traditions, and is one my students consider in many different contexts. Just as important, though, is the question of the way in which we know things. In our culture, we tend to take it for granted that the rational and the sensory are the only ‘legitimate’ ways of knowing. However, there is another time-honored way of knowing that has recently become neglected in modern Western culture—contemplation. The contemplative mode of knowing stresses the importance of gaining an intimacy with the subject of study, of listening both to it and to our own responses and reactivity to it. In my teaching I try to take a holistic approach in combining all these ways of knowing—the rational, the sensory and the contemplative. Recognizing that the subject matter of philosophy and religious studies is often largely concerned with deep-seated values, I encourage students to develop intellectual and emotional engagement with the topics they study.