(Originally posted Aug 15, 2012 – comments lost)
The new semester is about to start, and it’s time to tweak and revise those syllabi. Every semester, I modify them, even if I’ve taught the course several times before. And every semester, while adding something new and exciting, I end up dropping something that I always enjoyed teaching. Usually it just doesn’t fit a revised theme for the term or there’s just not enough days.
This fall is no exception. I’ve had to cut Robert Coles’s “The Disparity between Intellect and Character” from my ethics course. (To any of my students reading this: I highly recommend you read this short article.) I first read this as an undergrad in my Ancient Philosophy class. The professor (Anne Marie Bowery) led us on a discussion about why we were studying philosophy if it wasn’t going to make any difference to our lives. Every time I’ve taught this reading at the start of term, I’ve attempted to give my students a similar experience. And while it has always gone well, there just wasn’t room this time. Still, there are some new and exciting additions to my ethics syllabus, but I’ll save that for another post.
To other professors reading, what have you cut from a syllabus that part of you wishes you could keep? What great readings have been replaced on the schedule (presumably by other great readings too)?