Familiar Faces in New Roles

Published: June 3, 2021

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The Department of Philosophy is thrilled to welcome Belinda Piercy in her new role as assistant to the chair and Jordan Thomson as tri-campus teaching assistant (TA) coordinator. Both Belinda and Jordan are familiar and respected faces in the department, not only as lecturers but also as members of staff. Jordan is in fact taking over the reins of TA coordination from Belinda as she moves on to assist Martin Pickavé in his second term as department chair at St. George and graduate chair. While a purely administrative position marks a change for Belinda, Jordan already tried his hand at his role when he served as interim TA coordinator in 2019-2020.

Belinda originally joined the department in 2007 as an MA student, taking on a variety of roles through the years. She says, “I am excited to learn more about academic administration,” saying it reminds her of an undated fragment by one of her favorite philosophers of aesthetics, Arnold Isenberg:

“When you look at something closely—any object of nature, any piece of music, poetry, or painting, any topic in philosophy or science [or philosophy department?]—it starts ‘unfolding’ and reveals its ‘inner nature,’ that is, its finer and more particular structure. So casual and perfunctory is our customary gaze that it misses the essential discriminations and relationships. But so long as these do not disclose themselves, we cannot even suspect their existence. Therefore there seldom exists a powerful counter-incentive to the normal indolence of the mind and the senses. For this reason we must be thankful to those practical circumstances which enforce upon us an exceptional attentiveness. Teaching is one of these.”

Belinda continues: “I would add administration as another. And although academic units are not poems, and perhaps we can’t expect them to afford the same kind of “overwhelming secret beauty” Isenberg claims to discover by teaching poetry, knowing this department as well as I do, it wouldn’t at all surprise me!”

Jordan, who will continue to teach in the coming year (PHL273 Environmental Ethics; PHL317 Marx and Marxism; and PHL413 Effective Altruism), says he is “looking forward to helping our TAs get back in front of our undergraduates again after this difficult year.” After so far a year and a half of remote learning, getting everyone productively interacting, very possibly in a classroom, holds particular potential in the academic year ahead—for everyone involved.

Welcome to both! The department feels fortunate to count you among its core staff—your presence will undoubtedly add to its “secret beauty.”