The Expertise of Secular Leaders is becoming Accessible for Everyone

Affordable access to thoughtful and dynamic leaders across the nonreligious spectrum has been my priority for many years. Online education is gaining momentum, but high quality and practicality are essential. A new secular educational project is taking the next step in these important directions.

Partners for Secular Activism is a new nonprofit educational organization based in the Washington D.C. area. I have accepted the position of PSA President, and I’m eager to hear input from anyone similarly interested in the possibilities of internet instruction – please reach me at admin@secularactivism.org.

Our first month of courses, all lasting one month and costing $59, are led by Chris Mooney (science writer at Mother Jones), Richard Carrier (philosopher and historian), Julia Hemphill (doctoral candidate in sociology at York University in Toronto), and George Dvorsky (prominent futurist and transhumanist).

Course lectures, links to readings and videos, and forums for discussions with the instructor and students are included in the online classroom’s website. Some courses will discuss a book, to be purchased first. Visit the classroom website anytime to contribute your posts and receive the instructor’s replies in discussion forums. There is nothing “live” to be missed – log in and participate anytime day or night, 24/7.

PSA will offer three to six courses each month. Sign up for the mailing list at secularactivism.org to get advance announcements – classes tend to fill up quickly. Future courses on highly relevant topics are planned from prominent speakers, writers, organizers, and experts from every corner of the nonreligious world, eager to communicate directly with people at the grassroots level.

The “About Us” page at PSA sums up the vision. Three highlight paragraphs are enough for repeating here:

The mission of Partners for Secular Activism is to facilitate education about secular, scientific, and civic issues and activities for the public. By bringing knowledgeable scholars and expert communicators together with audiences wanting more information about issues that matter to their lives, we will elevate the general understanding of reasoning, science, civics, ethics, and topical issues affecting the public. Courses announced by PSA are open to anyone, and they deliver educational value for everyone.

Partners for Secular Activism focuses its educational mission on the public understanding of core areas of intellectual and logical competence, scientific comprehension, policy choices involving scientific information, civic issues affecting all members of society, philosophical and ethical insights, social and political justice, moral concerns confronting us as inhabitants of the planet, and emerging opportunities from technological advancements.

PSA isn’t yet another secular organization promoting a manifesto or an ideology, and we aren’t seeking ‘members’ or ‘affiliates’. (Please sign up for email announcements, though!) We simply seek good educators who can communicate and instruct about real-world information and concerns. PSA does one thing, and we will do it well: provide an accessible and easy-to-use platform for online education, open to anyone providing educational value for their intended audiences. PSA is happy to work with educators and leaders, and link to organizations and their educational programs, generally aligning with PSA’s educational mission. Ask us how we can specially design educational courses and programming for you to offer as an educator, or for meeting your organization’s specific learning needs.

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About John Shook

John R. Shook, PhD, is a scholar and professor living in the Washington, D.C. area. He is research associate in philosophy and instructor in science education for the University at Buffalo. He is also President of Partners for Secular Activism, an educational nonprofit offering online classes of interest to the secular side of life at secularactivism.org. Click the About tab under the header to learn more about John.


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