Teaching

“Every once in a while I will get a teacher or professor that really cares to help people understand values that will change their lives and teaches students [to] think for themselves, this was one of them.”

— Anonymous student comment, Introduction to Ethics,
Western Michigan University


Teaching Philosophy

I am a graduate student instructor at University at Buffalo (SUNY) and an adjunct professor at Niagara University.

I consider education in philosophy to be largely about acquiring transferrable skills in clear thinking and communication, and developing valuable character traits personally and professionally. Students in my courses focus on practicing the art of fruitful disagreement: representing someone else’s view clearly, coherently, and sympathetically before raising a concise, relevant objection. Students work with classic and contemporary texts in a variety of writing styles and genres. For example, reconstructing an argument about God’s existence or about whether there is a right to healthcare, and then critiquing the author’s reasoning or objecting to an author’s premise. Students also practice through dialogue with classmates and identifying reasoning patterns.

Almost all of my courses have some historical element to them. It is an opportunity to engage the student’s imagination and to expand the view of the world beyond their personal experience. This promotes a sense of humility and a recognition that philosophical views go in and out of fashion, but come with unique commitments and implications. Students are trained to make progress toward answers in a piecemeal manner, while developing a consistent worldview.

I am passionate about removing barriers to philosophical education. Where possible I eliminate the need for textbook, or require one that poses minimal financial burden (e.g., always less than $50). I strive to promote access for this who are disadvantaged by making as many as possible available as OCR-readable PDFs. I curate each course’s reading list to contain scholarly journal articles and important open-domain texts. In addition to these, I make my lecture slides and videos available – parts or whole lectures are on my YouTube channel, PhilosophyVajda. Autodidacts, struggling students, and those for whom the traditional higher-education system is itself an unnecessary obstacle, I offer guidance, direct instruction, and tutoring.


Teaching Experience

Distribution of courses among the 25 classes taught (updated: Sum. 21)

“He really was genuine […] You could tell how much he loved the course he was teaching and how much he genuinely would reach out to students to welcome them if they needed help because the class was exceptionally difficult. He is very passionate about his job and the course.”

— Anonymous student comment, Deductive Logic at Western Michigan University


“Great professor, explained everything so well and was passionate about the subject which made me passionate too.”

— Anonymous student comment, Biomedical Ethics at University at Buffalo

“One of the nicest teachers I’ve had at NU, overall a great guy. Definitely will be taking him next semester or as many times as I can with the classes he offers. I loved the way the classes were set up and I knew what to expect.”

— Anonymous student comment, Introduction to Philosophy at Niagara University


“Amazing professor overall. Was very excited to teach the course, it was very clear. He was very open to helping students and even reached out to help me. Great professor.”

— Anonymous student comment, Contemporary Moral Problems at University at Buffalo

Introduction to Philosophy

“Professor Vajda was a very reasonable and highly competent instructor! His lectures were well-prepared and often quite funny; I considered myself lucky to have a professor like him.”

— Anonymous student comment, Intro to Philosophy at University at Buffalo

“I love him, he’s cool, funny and overall was a great professor that I wish to have again. He doesn’t play favorites and listens to your concerns. Really good guy.”

— Anonymous student comment, Intro to Philosophy at University at Buffalo


Introduction to Ethics

Niagara University

University at Buffalo

Western Michigan University

“[What I enjoyed most about the class was] the group atmosphere and the uniqueness. The whole class was given dilemmas and we could debate concepts among ourselves rather than studying solely what scholars had written. Also Ali G. I like knowing what other ‘real people’ around me think, also the fact that the Professor was unbiased but played devils advocate allowed us to determine what we thought more than just being told what to think.”

— Student, Intro to Ethics at Western Michigan University

“Very effective! He seems very enthusiastic about teaching and philosophy which is good to get from a professor in an online class.”

— Anonymous student comment, Intro to Ethics at University at Buffalo


Contemporary Moral Problems

University at Buffalo

“I feel Mr. Vajda did an excellent job with the content of this course and I am extremely happy with the topics of study included. He mentioned that he would hope we either have our minds changed or consider a viewpoint that is not the norm in this day and age. I feel he has accomplished his goal and I am extremely happy with him.”

— Student, Contemporary Moral Problems
at University at Buffalo

“Professor Vajda gave me very helpful advice and responded in a timely manner when I had questions or struggled with topics.”

— Anonymous student comment, Contemporary Moral Problems at University at Buffalo


Biomedical Ethics: Social and Ethical Values in Medicine

“I was very nervous to be taking an online course, as this was my first time, but I must say I am very pleased with how this course went. I found the articles to be interesting and thought-provoking. Professor Vajda’s lectures really aided in my understanding of most arguments.”

— Student, Biomedical Ethics at University at Buffalo

“Professor Vajda was very helpful in this course and made it much more interesting. You could tell that he was very excited to teach and willing to help students when needed. It was also very clear that he is well versed in the course content and putting it in context within the ‘real world’.”

— Anonymous student comment, Biomedical Ethics at University at Buffalo


Professional Ethics

Western Michigan University


Critical Thinking

Western Michigan University

“The instructor was always readily available to answer any questions and provided useful feedback”

— Anonymous student comment, Critical Thinking at Western Michigan University


Deductive Logic

“This is a very passionate teacher who clearly knows what he is talking about. He is patient and maybe one of the best I have ever had.”

— Anonymous student comment, Deductive Logic at Western Michigan University

“He’s great at explaining ideas. He’s got a great sense of humor, but he’s still someone you can take seriously.”

— Anonymous student comment, Deductive Logic at Western Michigan University