Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Ten Reasons..


Ten reasons to do RPE at UoG

1.     It’s a great course! Our university was one of the first in the country to combine Religion, Philosophy and Ethics together in one degree. Students are attracted to this course because it allows them to combine their love of three different subjects, while recognising how they are interrelated. We scored highly in the 2013 Guardian League Table, and, in fact, came top overall for ‘value-added’ (speakers, field trips, etc.; see below)

2.     We have great students! Perhaps it’s something in the spa water here, but our students our bright, friendly and enthusiastic. They are always willing to help each other out and no one feels left out.

3.     We have great lecturers! Our lecturers are passionate and knowledgeable about their subjects. We have experts in the field of Indian religions, Islam, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, feminist theology, philosophy of religion, Nietzsche, Heidegger…. Our staff give talks at schools and colleges and have written many accessible books, written articles for The Philosopher’s Magazine and Dialogue, and appear on BBC radio. We also make full use of other media, including the provision of video resources for our current students, but also as a response to questions from A-level students.

4.     The importance of teaching and learning. Our research feeds into our teaching and we all understand how important it is to engage our students in the classroom. We pride ourselves in engaging in interactive teaching and learning, and debate is encouraged. A variety of teaching methods are adopted, and students are assessed through, not only essays, but portfolios, presentations, videos, critical reviews, and so on.

5.     It’s a great place to study. The students here repeatedly sing the praises of the campus and of Cheltenham. The ‘Hogwarts’  architecture of Francis Close Hall appeals to the future RPE wizards, and the town is, in the words of one student, “not too big, but not too small.” There is plenty to do in the town, but you will not be overwhelmed.

6.     Visiting Speakers. We have an active Gloucestershire Philosophy Society that meets regularly and attracts such speakers as Julian Baggini, Angela Hobbs, Chris Hamilton, Brad Hooker, to name a few recent appearances. We recently had Justin Whitaker come in to give a Buddhist meditation, and we also have Research Seminars from scholars in the field.

7.     Going beyond campus. Religion, Philosophy and Ethics doesn’t just take place in the classroom. We have links with the Cheltenham Literature Festival which, last year, had a philosopher in residence. The festival has lots of speakers in the field of religion and philosophy. We go on trips, including, recently, the Hindu Temple in Neasden and Hajj exhibition and the Diwali festival in Leicester. One of our really popular modules involves a five-day field trip to Cordoba in Spain.

8.     Staying connected. Our RPE Facebook group membership has not only current staff and students, but also past students [some now teachers themselves], academics and schoolteachers and is also open to potential students / applicants, so feel free to join, and to use it to ask current and past students any questions you like!

9.     We have relatively small class sizes and receive regular, in-depth feedback on their work. When students are asked what they like about RPE, they invariably say they like the opportunity to engage in debate in small groups. We also appreciate the importance of providing feedback to students for the work they have done, and this does not come only from written comments on their essays, but one-to-one tutorials and workshops.

10.   Our students really matter. All the staff have good, supportive relations with their students. When the new students arrive, they are assigned an ART (Academic Review Tutor) from RPE who will give them advice and support throughout their time at the University. Our course also has student reps who take an active part in the RPE Course Boards, feeding back on how students feel about the course. We listen to what our students have to say and are always open to new suggestions. 

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