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Student Comments

Below are some anonymous comments from past students. A complete profile of my Course Instructor Feedback data (CIFs) is available to an academic institution upon request.

“I think the biggest strength of professor Squires is his ability to present an interesting and rigorous course load in a way that makes the material come alive. In truth, I had very low expectations for my first philosophy course, but this course blew me away. I feel like I learned a lot, but it also felt relatively stress free since it was so well organized and the expectations of the professor were very clear. Professor Squires’ ability to create an open class discussion for class while also filling in the gaps in our knowledge is what I think made this class so engaging and fun. He let us lead the class while leading it just enough where we covered all the important material. Overall and in complete honesty, just an incredible experience. Thank you.”

“Really cares about the students and the material, willing to work with students to get the most out of the material.  As a result, the classroom was very collaborative and students felt comfortable participating.”

“I think David Squires’ greatest strength is the ability to understand the students. He knew this was a university requirement, a first philosophy nonetheless, and wanted to open our eyes to a subject a great deal of us were not excited about taking. Before the semester began I as not particularly excited about taking philosophy. Now, at the end of the semester, I am a 100% proponent of the fact that we have to take university requirements as a whole. The fact that Squires presented philosophy in such a way that taught us why it matters, gave me a great interest in the class. Solely due to Squires’s class, I (a computer engineering major) am trying to work my schedule around so I can take a minor in the College of Arts and Letters. This class made me realize that I need to continue my critical thinking. Yes, I am a very mathematical person and am the right fit to be doing multiple problem sets and labs every week, but I now realize that a discussion based class like this is where my real thinking will happen.”

“Squires is very excited about the subject and definitely caught the attention of the class. People were very intrigued by what he said and were continually interested enough to generate interesting questions and conversations.”

“This is philosophy done right. It isn’t about skimming this and that material that supposedly everyone ought to know. Rather, the focus is on the discussion and analysis of the works we are reading. This class made philospohy interesting to me (a STEM major) because it encouraged critical analysis to tackle tough metaphysical concepts. The most beneficial part came from the in-class-guidance and discussion promoted by the instructor and other classmates.”

“This has been one of my best class experiences at Notre Dame.”

“Professor Squires made what could have been a very bland introductory philosophy course into a course that pushed each student to think deeper, think differently, and overall just think a little more. The readings he assigned were complex, but he did a great job of explaining them in class. Instead of simply lecturing “Aristotle says this,” he seemed to almost take the role of each philosopher, pushing back on student comments from the views of whatever philosopher we were reading. This made the material easier to comprehend, and easy to relate to. He took the time to get to know the names of students, and was always available for office hours. It was evident that he really wanted his students to learn something from his class, knowing it is a university requirement that everyone has to take, and may or may not be excited about. He stressed participation and asking questions to better understand the philosophy. He understood that some students may be more shy, and didn’t limit participation to in class. He encouraged students to contact him via email or office hours to discuss topics further or independently. Overall, he was a very strong professor and did an extremely good job creating a classroom environment that was not simply memorizing facts, but rather critically thinking about complex philosophical topics. His love for the subject showed through his teaching, and it was clear he is incredibly qualified and knowledgeable when it comes to philosophy.”

“David is able to grasp what it means to actually teach and what it means to learn.”

“He is really engaging and made me enjoy a subject that I never thought I would like. He made philosophy somewhat accessible and allowed us to have discussion and debate about it. He is also pretty funny and created a good classroom environment where most people seemed comfortable participating. He obviously really enjoys what he does, and he’s a really great professor. I appreciated how he was very deliberate in how he planned the classes and the approaches he used to engage us in the course material. He really gave 110% for the whole semester. I also appreciated how accessible he was outside of class hours. I found it really interesting to talk to him outside of class and engage more deeply in the subject.”

“His enthusiasm for philosophy is refreshing.  He effectively communicated both the historical events in and cultural significance of Ancient Greek philosophy.  His comprehension of this complex material was incredible, as was his ability to relay it to students like me, who hardly understood any philosophical topic before this semester.  He was very available via email and replied to our questions promptly and with insightful and constructive feedback.  I didn’t think I could ever really feel engaged and interested in a philosophy class until this semester.  Thanks professor!”

“It was clear that he really wanted us to succeed and fully understand the information. He took time out of class to be sure of this. He also was a very fair teacher as far as assignments and grading went.”

“Dave has been one of my favorite professors at ND. His course is a fair amount of work but the work is good. He doesn’t pile on unnecessary reading, but his readings are rigorous and direct. I like how the class is very open-ended and students can raise points/arguments on whatever they think is relevant to the reading. Dave does an excellent job facilitating this and has an extensive knowledge about nearly every topic that was brought up. He is extremely smart and can discuss a variety of topics when put on the spot. Some of this is due to teaching the course a number of years, but he is also very passionate about philosophy, which certainly shows. I also loved the structure of the class with only a handful of papers but participation is a big part of the grade. It gets the class involved and I think that leads to the best philosophy. 10/10 for Dave.”

“I enjoyed his charisma and joy of the subject.”

“Squires is really interesting and cares about his students. I learned more about a new way to think in this class than any of my major classes. Squires is also very well informed. Anything we threw at him from pretty much any direction, he could handle.”

“Very engaging.  Interesting lectures.  Facilitates discussion well.  Understands level of student comprehension.  Well organized. excited about material and student engagement.  Very approachable.”

“Before the course began, I was worried that I would strongly dislike the course and that I would struggle to understand and maintain interest in the material. I was surprised to find the class very thought-provoking and engaging. Squires did an excellent job of making the material understandable and interesting, even to an engineer who began with the expectation that philosophy had to be tedious and boring.”

“He is an engaging, intelligent, knowledgeable professor. I thought that I was going to hate philosophy but I found his teaching to be challenging and intriguing. He does a good job illustrating the ideas we discussed. I like the old school use of the blackboard. He also engages each student in dialogue about the topic, so you really do feel inclined to come to class prepared so that you can have a real discussion with him. These dialogues really helped us to know the material and understand its relevance.”

“He was funny, and clearly knew a lot about the material.”

“To be honest, I wrote a bunch of stuff here saying how great of a professor he was, but then I pushed the back button on my phone and it erased everything. So please just trust me that he is legitimately one of my favorite professors from my four years in college.”

“The way you conduct your classes is very good. I really get a lot out of listening to the lecture and discussion and conversation throughout. You do a very good job of breaking down the tougher parts of readings. I never participated, but still got a ton out of the course. I hated [my first] philosophy and just wanted to get my second theology done, but I actually really enjoyed this course and am glad I took it.”

“Greatest strengths: enthusiasm/passion for material being taught, ability to effectively communicate complicated philosophical topics in a way for class to understand, ability to reference material in the past in current lectures to help students understand the big picture and his ability to make complicated philosophical discussions way more exciting than any of my others classes this semester.”

“Relates really well to students. He offers engaging, thoughtful discussion during class and always gives measured, philosophical answers to questions.”

“He is very good at leading an open discussion because he lets students talk by asking questions or making comments, and then he responds to them respectfully or in the point of view of the philosopher. This makes the class and discussion much more interesting than a lecture. In addition, he was patient and would go over certain arguments multiple times in order to help everyone understand. Finally, one of his best attributes is remembering people’s opinions week-to-week and engaging them in class, because I think that makes people more invested, because he’s taking our opinions more seriously by remembering them.”

“Very clear in what he says and doesn’t lecture tediously. He has organized the course well so that the earlier readings provide a foundation for the later ones.”

“He keeps the class interesting, does a good job overall of defending and explaining the arguments of whatever material we are talking about, whether he agrees with it or not.”

“He definitely knows what he is talking about. After reading some of the texts for this class, I would be completely lost. However, when I went to class it not only became apparent what the author was saying, I also came to grasp most of the logic and implications of the ideas as well. Mr. Squires also had an answer, and a good one at that, for just about every question about the text. Coming from someone who has no interest in philosophy, this class was entertaining and may have changed some of my opinions.”

“Professor Squires is very quick on his feet philosophically. Any challenge a student has, he can quickly and adequately respond with an answer and more questions, allowing for more conversation to begin. This creates in the classroom an environment in which a student must think quickly and use all of their knowledge of the subject, which is great for learning.”

“Intelligence, fairness, has the ability to make class simultaneously fun and informative, ability to connect topics, openness to honest and brief off topic discussion.”

“Prof Squires always prioritized students’ questions and made sure to thoroughly explain confusing topics. His lectures had structure for the most part, but he was always willing to go back and clarify any material that people didn’t understand which was good, because a lot of reading built on ideas of previous readings.”

“Takes time to make sure everyone understands something, and is open to all sorts of discussion and questions.”

“Very, very good at explaining complex philosophical arguments. Relates abstract ideas to much more understandable situations with good analogies.”

“He encourages discussion and serious thought about these issues instead of having students just memorize positions. Although you needed to know the positions of certain authors we were given the freedom to take our own stances on issues and discuss them in class. Also made the class entertaining while maintaining the seriousness of these issues.”

“He is good at keeping the class’s attention. Interactions with us help clear misunderstandings as well as solidify concepts.”

“There was never a reading that I didn’t think prepared me for papers or for discussion in class. The discussions in class helped organize, explain, and question the readings assigned in a very thorough way which was useful. Also, there was consistent review of complicated philosophical theories which made understanding dense content easy.”