Instructor, Philosophy Department
Office: PC 3206I
- Courses Taught
- Educational History
- Professional Experience
I am an instructor at Gannon University, having a blast teaching philosophy classes to great students. I moved here in 2009 with my wife Jessica Hartnett, due to her being hired here as a Psychology/ Applied Stats professor. We met in graduate school back in DeKalb, Illinois, although all who know me can tell pretty quickly that I am originally from the East Coast---Long Island, NY to be exact. I'm also a certified mathematics teacher, and have done a bunch of other things (as you can see some of the other jobs below). I love to work, but teaching philosophy is both work and play for me. You'll witness my enthusiasm in my classes, I'm sure.
Why do I love philosophy? Well, I've been immersed in the subject since such a young age that it simply isn't a question that I could answer sufficiently. It started with dissatisfaction with appeals to authority and obsessions with "why" questions at a very young age, and at this point of an already awesome journey I find myself at this wonderful place, getting to both continue to pursue and teach philosophy at the same time. And let me be clear--I take this job very seriously. It is to my belief that this is a very important time to offer the toolkits that philosophy can offer an individual mind, and I do my best to offer them to my students and continually sharpen my own tools myself. Philosophy offers the foundations of critical thinking in logic, and seeks justified belief about knowledge, ethics, meaning in life, and those important metaphysical questions about the soul, God, etc. I also find the ethical side to being a philosopher quite important--living the philosophical life uncompromisingly ("the unexamined life is not worth living"), and seeking "the good life" over the merely pleasurable, powerful, or popular life.
Why else do I like teaching? I get to share everything I'm interested in, and sprinkle the insights I've gathered along the way in my own humble quest for wisdom. In the teaching experience, I get to spread the joy and intrinsic motivation that comes along with grasping insights, or at least new tensions between insights. I also get to help facilitate critical thought about the all-important things in life, and watch so many bright minds at work. Also, I can ALWAYS grow as an instructor, and I'm constantly modifying my classes and looking to develop more (like the Comparative World Philosophy class I've just started in the Fall of 2014). Learning subjects that you are interested in for the sake of teaching the material might be the BEST experience for true lifelong learners. If you are a lifelong learner, I suggest giving teaching a shot!
Other things I enjoy:
Chilling out with my wife and son. They are pretty awesome. You'll hear far too much about my son in class. He's 3 years of awesomeness. I'll have my second son to talk about this winter!
Running. It's one of those deep joys only runners understand. Unfortunately, I am suffering from yet another injury as I write this, so hanging it up might have to happen...
I also listen to early-90s rock and progressive rock, and I love having my music in the background of my activities or simply sitting back for a meditative listen to my turntable. If you asked for my two favorites, I'd say anything done by the members of Alice in Chains, as well as anything done by Steven Wilson. I still remember having my hair in dreadlocks and wearing an Alice in Chains Rooster shirt a long, long time ago as a 13 year-old.
There is nothing more relaxing and aesthetically pleasing than a cup of coffee and reading a good book. Of course I'm always buried in philosophy texts, and those have been taking up most of my time of late. Especially with all of the non-Western philosophy I've been learning. If I have too much to do (which is most of the time), I appreciate audible.com for all of the texts I get to listen to. I'm the only person outside mowing his lawn to a lecture on Mencius.
I'm a big-time New York Mets fan. If you ever want to sidetrack me, bring them up. After 6 losing seasons, I'm on fire about this team right now. As I update this, we are 3 1/2 games in first place and are winning! (62-52 record).
Meditating. Look it up. It's way better for you than you think...
As far as television is concerned, I used to watch some really good drama series, but time has been zapped for those. I do like some comedy shows (currently, Its Always Sunny, Veep, Family Guy, Curb Your Enthusiasm, etc.), and both the horror movie genre and cartoons. You'll find some clips, especially comedic ones, sprinkled into my lectures. But honestly, I have fallen plenty behind.
Come take one of my classes and have a blast with me! I have a pretty good reputation of making what you might call "dry" material pretty fun, and I don't think you'll find somebody who loves his/her job more than I do!