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Paul Rezkalla is teaching bioethics this semester.
| Hillsdale College

The Marc Sanders Foun­dation recently awarded Paul Rezkalla, post­doc­toral research fellow at Hillsdale College, a Marc Sanders Prize in “Phi­losophy in the Media.”

The “Phi­losophy in the Media” program strives to train philoso­phers to be better equipped to increase the presence of phi­losophy in the media world, such as pod­casts, jour­nalism, and video media. Its goal is to provide philoso­phers with the means to become good public phi­losophy writers. 

Ian Church, assistant pro­fessor of phi­losophy, said the Marc Sanders Foun­dation grants com­pet­itive awards to advance critical thinking to help people become better philosophers.

“The foun­dation believes, and I’m inclined to agree, that one of philosophy’s central aims is to promote good critical thinking skills,” Church said. “To these ends, the Marc Sanders Foun­dation aims to promote excel­lence in phi­losophy through a range of pres­ti­gious awards.”

According to Church, the Marc Sanders awards are highly com­pet­itive and pres­ti­gious. Rezkalla’s award shows he is an “up-and-coming leader” in phi­losophy, Church said. 

Rezkalla said he is very excited to rep­resent Hillsdale College and see the pos­itive impact this will have on Hillsdale in the aca­demic world. 

“I’m very excited to rep­resent Hillsdale alongside other dis­tin­guished fellows from elite insti­tu­tions, like Princeton and North­western,” Rezkalla said. “Not only does this increase Hillsdale’s vis­i­bility on the aca­demic map, but it’s also a pos­itive witness for all the great work we do here in shaping stu­dents’ hearts and minds.”

Rezkalla said the fel­lowship will give him the oppor­tunity to work with the head opinions editor for the New York Times, James Ryerson, as well as other philoso­phers and fellows who are “working on bringing cutting-edge phi­losophy to the public arena.” 

Rezkalla said he applied to the fel­lowship because he cares about helping others think well about important ethical issues. The fel­lowship will better equip Rezkalla to write and publish phi­losophy that will be inter­esting for many readers, he said. 

“For me, phi­losophy is a way of life. It’s about living well,” he said. “I love reading public phi­losophy in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, New Yorker, Aeon, etc. Writing like that isn’t easy. It’s a skillset that I don’t have yet. I’m excited to get better at it.” 

Church explained what this award means for the phi­losophy department and Hillsdale as a whole. 

“This is a sig­nif­icant feather in our proverbial cap,” Church said. “Having Dr. Rezkalla at the college boosts our presence and promi­nence within the field and the public stage, and given his tra­jectory as a scholar, I think this is only the beginning of good things coming his direction.” 

Rezkalla said he is grateful for his col­leagues in the phi­losophy department who have helped him grow as an indi­vidual and think better about the topics he writes about. He hopes to expand the department’s rep­u­tation in the aca­demic arena and “poten­tially attract more high-quality stu­dents to our program,” he said.

Lee Cole, chairman and asso­ciate pro­fessor of phi­losophy, said Rezkalla’s award is fitting because of his passions. 

“He clearly has a deep and infec­tious passion for phi­losophy, and he’s thinking about some of the most sig­nif­icant issues that face our culture,” Cole said. “It seems wholly appro­priate that an orga­ni­zation com­mitted to the rel­e­vance of phi­losophy for the sake of a healthy society would think highly of Dr. Rezkalla.”

Cole said that Rezkalla’s expertise in various dif­ferent areas honors both the phi­losophy department and Hillsdale College as a whole. 

“The expertise that he pos­sesses regarding the inter­section of phi­losophy, the­ology, ethics, and science is a boon to our department and to the life of the College more gen­erally,” Cole said. “What’s more, his intel­lectual qual­ities are wedded to an amiable and well-grounded disposition.”

Rezkalla said he is grateful for this oppor­tunity because public phi­losophy is some­thing he has wanted to pursue for quite some time but he did not know where to start. 

“I hope to have at least a couple of op-eds suc­cess­fully written, pitched, and pub­lished by the end of my fel­lowship,” Rezkalla said. “And hope­fully, this is only the beginning of a life-long career in public philosophy.”