By Professor Greg Frost-Arnold | Philosophy Faculty Liaison
What is the role of the Teaching Fellow Liaison? To begin to answer this question, I should first stress that there are differences between the different liaisons, because of the differences in the subjects TFs cover, and the kinds of assignments students will bring to TFs. For example, helping someone with an organic chemistry problem set is different from helping someone with an essay for their intro to philosophy class. As a result, there can be important differences between the types of interactions a TF can expect with her or his TF liaison. So, if I were a new TF, and was not 100% clear on what the liaison’s role was, then I would ask the professor serving as liaison what he or she thought the liaison’s role is.
With that qualification out of the way, I can describe the aspects of my experience as the TF liaison for philosophy which (I hope) are not completely specific to philosophy alone. I’ll give three main points. I’ll start with one of my favorite quotations. It’s from physicist Niels Bohr: “An expert is someone who has made all the mistakes it is possible to make in a narrow field.” I think this applies to both the students coming in to see TFs and to TFs themselves. We all know that people learn by doing—by trying and failing, over and over, until they get it right—think about trying to ride a bicycle, for example. Continue reading