Philosophy in the Community Placements

Note that the COVID-19 pandemic may mean that some placement opportunities turn out to be unavailable, or that they are available but converted to a remote format.  For those placements that continue to be offered on-site, students will be responsible for ensuring that they follow the necessary health and safety protocols.

Sandy Pines Animal Sanctuary (1)

  • Rehabilitation for injured and ill animals
  • Possible research questions: comparative cognition; animal ethic; nature and the environment;) Note this placement requires a car

Providence Care Hospital (6-7)

  • Short- and long-term rehabilitation for patients with physical/mental health issues
  • Possible research questions: mental health; organizational ethics; the ethics of care for the elderly; the nature of personal identity; life, death and meaning

St. Lawrence Place Retirement Home (2)

  • A residence for elderly persons
  • Possible research questions: the ethics of care; personal identity; life, death and meaning; organizational ethics; healthcare administration; philosophy of disability

Big Words Little People Speech Therapy (1)

  • A children-focussed private speech language pathologist practice
  • Possible research questions: language acquisition; human development; mind and culture; personal identity

Kingston Immigration Partnership (2)

  • Counselling service for immigrant and refugee newcomers to Kingston
  • Possible research questions: racism and multiculturalism; equity, diversity and inclusion; immigration, migration and citizenship; borders and refugees; communitarianism

Elizabeth Fry Society (1)

  • Services for women at risk with the criminal justice system
  • Possible research questions: ethics of incarceration; feminism; sexual violence; theories of punishment

Kingston City Council (1+)

  • Kingston’s municipal government
  • Possible research questions: distributive justice and poverty; heritage and urban planning; sustainability; organizational ethics

King’s Town School (1)

  • Small downtown private elementary school
  • Possible research questions: Philosophy of education; cognitive development; childhood and children; schooling and distributive justice; disability and accommodation

Reelout Queer Film Festival (3)

  • LGBTQ+ Kingston film and video festival
  • Possible research questions: Philosophy of art; Politics of difference; role of visual representation for justice, activism, community-building; intersectionality and community; diversity and inclusion

Application process:
Students must complete and submit an application to the instructor and be interviewed in order to be admitted into the ‘Philosophy in the Community’ course.  Interviews and information meetings will take place as early as possible in the Fall term.  Selection will be based on marks, the quality of the application, and the interview.  Successful students will be allocated to one of several placements in the community, depending on their interests, abilities, their philosophical project and availability.  The placement will take place in the Winter of 2022.  Students are advised to nonetheless enroll in a full complement of regular courses so that they will have a fallback plan in case they are unsuccessful in getting a place.

Philosophy in the Community Application Form (docx 16KB)

Course details:
Students will be coached in the Fall term by the course coordinator to define their philosophical project and to prepare for this opportunity.  The coordinator will be in regular contact with students to ensure things are going smoothly.  Students will bring their philosophical skills of critical analysis and reflection, discussion and writing, to participate in the activities of a local organization.  Students might help out with the organization’s tasks, or simply observe or shadow the professional(s) involved.  This would be a volunteer placement; students would not be paid.

Class format and assessment
Students would be expected to spend about 27 hours at the placement.  There will also be a few class times to orient students for the placement, and for students to share their experiences, for a total of 36 hours of class/volunteer time.

Research project proposal: worth 10%

Biweekly reports (best 4 out of 5): worth 40%

Presentation – overview of research and plans for research paper: worth 10%

Final paper (4,000 words) that considers the chosen philosophical topic in light of the community experience: worth 40%

Please contact Christine Sypnowich ( if you have any questions.