Program Goals

Each summer, the Hamilton College Summer Program in Philosophy (HCSPiP) runs an innovative pedagogy lab. The program brings together three creative instructors, three engaging graduate student teaching apprentices (tutors), and twenty ambitious undergraduates for three concurrent, two-week courses in philosophy. Half of the twenty students are carefully selected from all over the world.  The other half are current Hamilton College undergraduates, in accordance with the mandates of our funding, the Truax Fund for Philosophy at Hamilton College. We have achieved inclusivity and accessibility by offering a $750 stipend to each student (conceived as salary replacement) instead of asking for students to pay to participate. We also cover housing, meals, and transportation to and from the program for all program participants. 

Each class meets daily, Monday through Friday, for an hour and a half. Students of the HCSPiP attend all class sessions. In addition to serving in their teaching apprentice role, graduate student tutors organize night-time and weekend activities such as movie nights, sunset watching, and hikes, giving the undergraduate participants space to cultivate their intellectual friendships. The result is a diverse and intensive philosophy summer program that breeds lively discussion, exciting classroom experiences, and a vibrant intellectual community. The program, which we began developing in 2017 but had to pause for the pandemic,  is currently in its third summer and has been approved to run again in 2023.

What sets the HCSPiP apart from other summer philosophy programs and institutes is its focus on pedagogy and pedagogical innovation. We choose courses for their promise of innovation and engagement and give instructors the opportunity to experiment freely. The HCSPiP culminates, for instructors and tutors, in a conference on pedagogy. During the conference, instructors reflect on their experiences, and share what they’ve learned from their recent experimentation in the classroom.

The HCSPiP has both primary and secondary goals.

Primary Goals

PG1. To encourage pedagogical innovation in undergraduate philosophy at Hamilton College and in the profession more broadly

PG2. To connect Hamilton philosophy students to the broader world of philosophy

PG3. To strengthen Hamilton’s academic reputation nationally, especially in philosophy 

Secondary Goals

SG1. To prepare Hamilton students better for graduate work

SG2. To support creative, student-centered, undergraduate philosophy instruction across the discipline

SG3. To facilitate networks of Hamilton philosophers, bringing together undergraduates and alumni


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