My interdisciplinary approach to teaching philosophy uses a mix of the history of Western philosophy, non-Western sources, feminist philosophy, social and political philosophy, literature, poetry and film.  My courses seek a balance between textual comprehension and personal/real-world application where students can follow a clear historical trajectory that is both accessible and engaging.  At Villanova I have taught and/or am teaching:

  • Knowledge, Reality, Self (PHI-1000)
  • Augustine and Culture Seminar (ACS-1000 and 1001), a two-part first-year writing-intenstive humanities seminar
  • The Good Life (ETH-2050), the foundation ethics course

In addition to core humanities courses I am interested in teaching courses on phenomenology and existentialism, the philosophy of film and contemporary receptions of ancient Greek philosophy.

Teaching Philosophy


Joan Mitchell, Bracket, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA (WikiArt)

Like art, learning is risky.  In Joan Mitchell’s Bracket, every color and every stroke is the mark of a decision in pursuit of an unknown harmony.  Whether in learning new ideas, creating new interpretations and knowledge, or discussing and defending ideas with others, learning similarly requires us to put ourselves at stake in the pursuit of self-knowledge and understanding of the world around us.  My approach to teaching invites students to see both the ideas and the risks involved in learning as possibilities for self-empowerment by helping them understand that venturing into the unknown, the unexplored and the deeply personal in oneself deepens one’s humanity and personal vision.  Rather than striving for perfection, I encourage students to appreciate and affirm their imperfection while always seeking to do and be better, more compassionate people, a task that starts with compassion for oneself.  Every text is a challenge, but also a refuge, to learn something about oneself and the surrounding world.  Past ideas offer the possibility for a conversation about who we are and what we believe, one that can at once be difficult and revelatory.  What we discover and who we become in that encounter is the element of the future in ourselves, the part of learning that is reserved for oneself alone.

Accolades from Faculty and Students

“Based on my observations, you embody the essence of a reflective practitioner…. You demonstrate professionalism, expertise, contagious enthusiasm, creativity, and ability to draw students into the conversation.  It has been a pleasure working with you in support of your students’ learning.” – Dr. Gabriele Bauer, Director of the Villanova Institute of Teaching and Learning

“Dr. Ian Maley is reliable, congenial and generous in spirit.  In sum, he is a very promising teacher and he would make a good colleague.  I am confident that he will be a valued member of any department of which he is a member.” – Dr. Gregory Hoskins, Assistant Director of the Augustine and Culture Seminar Program at Villanova University

“Dr. Maley was extremely well versed in all of the readings and discussions that took place and encouraged us to think outside the box.  I felt really stimulated in his class and as a STEM major, I enjoyed this class a great deal. He is very fair in quizzes and grading and I didn’t feel like I was drowning in work. I like how he was so open with some of his personal endeavors as it helped us learn well. Overall, Dr. Maley is one of the best professors I’ve had here at Villanova.” – Student evaluation for PHI-1000, Fall 2017

“Dr. Maley is an excellent teacher and is very understanding but also very fair.” – Student evaluation for ACS-1000 (Ancients), Fall 2017

“Dr. Maley is one of the most passionate professors I have ever had. Even though this is my 5th class on every Monday and Wednesday, I find myself excited to go. Every time class ends, I find myself thinking about the pieces of work that we went over and the discussions that we had. Dr. Maley made the classroom comfortable. The work that we all studied or read was all very interesting and you could tell that he thought out the reasons why we were reading them. I really enjoyed having Dr. [Maley] as one of my professors.” – Student evaluation for ACS-1001 (Moderns), Spring 2018