UHD Philosophy Students: Thinking Out Loud, On the Air
By Hayden Bergman
Cicero, Sir Thomas More, and UHD Philosophy students. What do they have in common? A shared practice, that being the dialogue, a unique form of inquiry and knowledge production that, in the hands of students, becomes a means for solidifying what’s been learned in class. And as for how they differ? While Cicero and More recorded dialogues in print, students at UHD are recording theirs via microphones at UHD’s iRadio studio. You can hear them every Thursday, from 1-2 p.m.
These conversations don't just benefit students, though. “It’s fulfilling and uplifting,” said Dr. Andrew Pavelich, Professor of Philosophy, “to walk past people in the hallway that are talking about some big idea that was in your class. It means [Philosophy courses] are working for people. And that’s great, and it’s encouraging to witness.”
And what are those “big ideas"? Love, the meaning of life, issues of society and ethics, as well as what makes for a “good” life. What’s more, students are “confronting other people’s ideas” about these things, said Dr. Pavelich. After these confrontations, they collaborate and “find a way to put [their differing views] together.”
The students are all members of the UHD chapter of Phi Sigma Tau, an international honor society for Philosophy students. Dr. Pavelich is the faculty advisor for the project, and he says that students who appear on the broadcast don’t just discuss the facts or engage in some sort of rote regurgitation of course material. Instead, they display “real understanding of what [those concepts] mean, and thoughtful consideration of what the consequences might be.”
That in and of itself is a valuable skill, but philosophy provides much more than that. In fact, the discipline shapes those that major in it in a way that is valuable to employers. As noted in a 2021 article in The Atlantic, Philosophy majors leave school with similar skills to business majors, but they also have “creative problem-solving abilities” that set them apart.
That’s important to note, as it can be difficult for students to draw a straight line from a Philosophy major to job, said Dr. Pavelich, especially for those with no interest in academia. “Our graduates tend to do well in the job market,” he said. “The skills and capacities they’ve learned are beneficial in a lot of jobs.”
And since we’re talking philosophy, it’s appropriate to ask: What does all of this mean? For Dr. Pavelich it means “students are interested and are hungry for ideas.” It also means that if you have your own questions about those big ideas—life, love, justice— you know where to go. UHD iRadio on Thursday afternoons.
For more information about the show or Phi Sigma Tau, please contact chapter president Sydney Chansamouth, at firstname.lastname@example.org
The University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) is the second-largest university in Houston and has served the educational needs of the nation’s fourth-largest city since 1974. As one of four distinct public universities in the University of Houston System, UHD is a comprehensive, four-year university led by President Loren J. Blanchard. Annually, UHD educates approximately 14,000 students, boasts more than 66,000 alumni, and offers 45 bachelor’s degrees, 12 master’s degrees, and 19 online programs within four colleges: Marilyn Davies College of Business, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, College of Public Service, and College of Sciences and Technology. UHD has one of the lowest tuition rates in Texas.
U.S. News and World Report ranked UHD among the nation’s Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Applied Administration and Best Online Master’s Programs in Criminal Justice, as well as a Top Performer in Social Mobility. The Wall Street Journal/College Pulse ranked UHD one of the best colleges in the U.S. for its 2024 rankings, with notable distinctions: No. 1 for diversity (tied) and No. 3 for student experience. The University is designated as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, a Minority-Serving Institution, and a Military Friendly School. For more information on the University of Houston-Downtown, visit uhd.edu.