NEWARK, Del. — Aug. 29, 2016 — The American Philosophical Association (APA) and the Philosophy Documentation Center (PDC) are pleased to announce that the 2016 APA/PDC Prize for Excellence and Innovation in Philosophy Programs has been awarded to the University of Missouri–Kansas City’s Philosophy in Prison program.
The philosophy department at UMKC and their honors society, Phi Sigma Tau, have created a philosophy reading group at Lansing Correctional Facility in Leavenworth, Kansas. The reading group is designed to engage inmates in philosophical texts and great philosophical ideas through reading and discussion with UMKC students and, at times, a professor mentor. UMKC provides the texts, and the students meet with the inmates every other week to discuss a particular text. The students also include texts that have been written by great philosophers who were writing during incarceration or about incarceration, such as the dialogue between Socrates and Crito while Socrates was in prison in Athens.
The selection committee was especially motivated by three things: the dire need this program addresses, the ease with which it might be emulated, and the direct utility of the prize (access to philosophical resources) for the program. The selection committee feels this program is on track to succeed.
The Prize for Excellence and Innovation in Philosophy Programs has been jointly sponsored by the APA and the PDC since 1999. It recognizes philosophy departments, research centers, institutes, societies, publishers, and other organizations for creating programs that risk undertaking new initiatives in philosophy and do so with excellence and success. The prize award, provided by the PDC, includes campus-wide electronic access to a bundle of philosophy resources for one year and an award plaque. It gives professional recognition to the winning program and also benefits its host institution.
About the APA
Founded in 1900, the American Philosophical Association promotes the discipline and profession of philosophy, both within the academy and in the public arena. The APA supports the professional development of philosophers at all levels and works to foster greater understanding and appreciation of the value of philosophical inquiry.