Project Team

Co-director, Dr. Todd Buras, is Associate Professor of Philosophy and Chair in the Department of Philosophy at Baylor University.  His Ph.D. was awarded by Yale University in 2004.  He also holds a Masters of Arts in Religion from the Yale Divinity School.  His primary area of research and publication is 17th Century Scottish Philosophy and related topics in contemporary philosophy of religion and philosophy of mind.  He is co-editor of Thomas Reid on Mind, Knowledge, and Value (Oxford University Press, 2015), and the author of many peer-reviewed articles and invited book chapters.  His essays have appeared in such venues as Journal of PhilosophyJournal of the History of PhilosophyPhilosophical QuarterlyAmerican Philosophical QuarterlyCanadian Journal of Philosophy, and Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.  As Director of Undergraduate Studies, he has extensive experience with curriculum development and review.  In recent years, he has been involved in the development of curricula for teaching ethics and philosophy at the high school level, and has piloted this curriculum at Live Oak Classical School in Waco, TX.  He is presently preparing a textbook, and accompanying teacher resources, based on this work.  He has also spoken about these experiences and materials at national conferences for K-12 educators.  

Co-Director Dr. Phillip J. Donnelly is Professor of Literature in the Honors College at Baylor University where he teaches in the Great Texts Program and the English Department.  He also serves as Director for the Great Texts Program.  His research focuses on the historic connections between philosophy and imaginative literature, with particular emphasis on Renaissance literature and rhetorical education.  He is the author of fifteen peer-reviewed articles and three books, including Milton’s Scriptural Reasoning: Narrative and Protestant Toleration (Cambridge Univ. Press) and Rhetorical Faith: The Literary Hermeneutics of Stanley Fish (English Literary Studies).  For over ten years, he has been involved in faculty development for K-12 educators, giving presentations at national and international conferences and at local schools.  The fruit of this recent work will be published in The Lost Seeds of Learning (Classical Academic Press, forthcoming). 

Dr. Sean Riley will contribute to the Project Team as a K-12 Specialist.  Dr. Riley will be present as a contributor throughout the seminar.  His primary responsibility will be to facilitate the time devoted to the development of individual participant projects, as described in the Program of Study.  Dr. Riley holds both a B.A. and M.A. in Philosophy from Penn State University.  Since completing a Ph.D. in Philosophy at Baylor University in 2011, Dr. Riley has worked for the Stony Brook School on Long Island, New York.  From 2007-2014 Dr. Riley chaired the History Department and taught Advanced Placement European History and two philosophy courses, which he designed.  Dr. Riley is an award-winning teacher, and has supported the larger community of high school philosophy instructors by coaching Stony Brook’ Ethics Bowl Team, and hosting the Long Island Philosophy Conference at Stony Brook.  He has presented the fruit of his experience developing curricula for high school philosophy classes at several national meetings for educators, and in a 2013 paper for Teaching Philosophy entitled “Building a High School Philosophy Program.”   Since 2014 Dr. Riley has served as the Academic Dean at Stony Brook.  In this capacity, Dr. Riley has had the opportunity to explore the potential of disputatio to integrate the humanities around the pursuit of wisdom in a variety of contexts, and will speak from this experience to facilitate the development of participant projects.

Mrs. Kirsten Welch, M.A., will serve the Project Team as Graduate Assistant.  In this capacity her primary task will be to assist Dr. Riley in workshopping participant projects.  She will also assist the co-directors in the management of seminar affairs.  Additionally, she will be present throughout the seminar contributing from the perspective of her growing area of expertise, the philosophy of education.  Mrs. Welch is currently a second year Ph.D. student in the philosophy of education at Teachers College, Columbia.  Previously, Mrs. Welch studied Philosophy and Classics at Baylor University, before earning an M.A. in Philosophy at Northwestern Michigan University. 

NEH - National Endowment for the Humanities