Profile - Monica (Mo) Janzen

Mo Janzen

Instructor Profile

Meet Monica (Mo) Janzen
Instructor of Philosophy

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Philosophy, University of Minnesota; Masters of Arts (MA) in Philosophy, University of Minnesota; Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Philosophy, College of St. Catherine

Question and Answer

  • Question

    Tell us about the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) program


    I am interested in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) program because I wonder if my assignments teach students what I actually intend for them to learn. To learn whether assignments achieve the set objectives, I have designed a study and am compiling data from different semesters. My goal is to better design assignments so that students feel supported throughout the learning process and achieve greater overall success in the course. The Anoka-Ramsey SoTL Scholars program has helped energize me and provided me with logistical and community support to get this important work done.

  • Question

    Would you list some recent accomplishments?



    • American Philosophical Association Grant Fund for “Community Connections: Digitally Enhanced Community-Based Learning in Philosophy” 2013-2014 (with Dr. Susan Hawthorne and Dr. Ramona Ilea)
    • Graduate School Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship, University of Minnesota, 2005-2006
    • Swenson/Kierkegaard Graduate Student Fellowship, University of Minnesota, Spring 2005
    • Tom Lapic Memorial Fellowship for Research in Philosophy and Social Justice, University of Minnesota, Summer 2004
    • Graduate Research Partnership Program Grant, University of Minnesota, Summer 2002


    • “Scaffolding Civic Engagement Projects: A study into the effectiveness of supported small scale, independent, student-designed projects” with Catherine Ford. Transformative Dialogues: Teaching and Learning Journal, Volume 13, Issue 3, 2020,
    • “Be the Change: Student Activism,” with Ramona Ilea. College Ethics, Ed. Bob Fischer, New York, Oxford University Press, second edition, September 2020.
    • “Engaged Philosophy: Showcasing Philosophers-Activists Working with Media, Community Groups, Political Groups, Prisons, and Students,” with Susan Hawthorne and Ramona Illea. Essays in Philosophy, Volume 21, Issue 1-2, 2020, pp 109-119. ISSN: 1526-0569
    • “Cultivating Citizenship: Student Initiated Civic Engagement Projects in Philosophy Classes,” with Susan Hawthorne, Ramona Ilea, and Chad Weiner. Experiential Learning in Philosophy. Ed. Julinna Oxley and Ramona Ilea, New York, Routledge, Spring 2016.
    • “Review of The Primacy of the Political: A History of Political Thought from the Greeks to the French and American Revolutions by Dick Howard” Essays in Philosophy, Volume 13, Issue 1, 2012, pp. 373-382
    • “Review of The Ethics of Trade and Aid: Development, Charity, or Waste? by Christopher D. Wraight” Teaching Philosophy, Volume 34, Issue 4, 2011, pp. 425-428
    • “Truth Telling as a Tool to Repair Past Wrongs,” The Ranges of Evil: Multidisciplinary Studies in Human Wickedness. Edited by William Andrew Myers. (ISBN: 1-904710-25-5).
  • Question

    What is your approach to teaching?


    I believe philosophy is a powerful and relevant discipline that teaches students to think critically, analyze arguments and evaluate their own ideas and the ideas of others. This, in turn, fosters understanding of complex issues and an ability to express ideas coherently and persuasively. I aim to teach these skills as well as engage and equip all students as learners and change makers. I hope my students feel inspired to see their role in a continuing philosophical dialogue, to see their experience and insights as valuable, and to see that they can contribute to the world community.

  • Question



    My students inspire me. I see the resilience and determination of my students when they encounter obstacles or work through challenges. This inspires me to do all I can to make ARCC and my classes inclusive and welcoming for all students.

  • Question

    How would you describe what happens during one of your most successful classes?


    My most successful classes are those in which students and I learn together. Students feel welcome and part of a learning community. They feel that their learning matters. Together, we are engaged by the class materials and truly wonder about what the right answers to life's important questions might be. In these classes, we talk (and laugh) a lot!

  • Question

    What makes your curriculum interesting or valuable to students?


    Philosophy looks at many of life's most fundamental questions. Students often come to philosophy classes and realize that they wondered about some of the topics we cover: how should we live with others? what does it mean to be a just society? How do we include others in our conceptions of the "good life"? What obligations do we have to help others--esecially those that live far from us? Are humans more special than other animals? What makes humans special?

  • Question

    What are some ways that you help students succeed when they need extra help?


    I am friendly and approachable and enjoy helping my students. I am accessible to students outside of class through student hours, prompt email correspondence and zoom. I enjoy connecting with students and learning from them, whether they are in a traditional face to face classroom or online. I teach, advise and encourage students in such a way that we work together in the pursuit of knowledge and the creation of a better world.

Fun Facts

  • Fun Fact #1

    I try to camp at least once a month--even in the winter (although I count "camping" in the winter as staying in a camper cabin!). I love to be outdoors kayaking, canoeing, paddle boarding, running, hiking, walking, or gardening.

  • Fun Fact #2

    I love to talk about philosophy. I coached my kid's high school Ethics Bowl team so I could talk about philosophy with them and their friends.

  • Fun Fact #3

    I believe in donating a significant portion of my income to highly effective charities where my dollar can help the most people. Ask me about this!

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