Assistant Professor


Individual Research Interests

Phenomenology (e.g. Folk Phenomenology, Heidegger, Marion)
Latin/American philosophy of education (e.g., Ivan Illich, Paulo Freire, William James)
Philosophical theology (e.g., liberation theology, illumination theology, political theology)
Philosophy of love (e.g. eros, desire, intuition)
Art and Art Education
Curriculum Theory
Humanities Based Research in Education

Research Supervision Interests

Primary area of supervision: philosophy of education including, but not limited to: Continental philosophy of education, phenomenological research in education, philosophical theology and education, philosophy of race and education, and Latin American philosophy of education.

Other areas of supervision: humanities-based educational research in the following areas: curriculum theory or curriculum studies, art education, educational psychology, and poetic and literary studies.

Also willing to serve on committees of wide general interest including, but not limited to: (post) qualitative social scientific studies, history of education, cultural studies, and higher education and leadership.

Prospective students wishing to study philosophy of education at the master’s level may apply to the M.A. degree in Educational Studies, concentration in Society, Culture, Politics and Education (SCPE), or to the M.Ed. degree in SCPE. For doctoral level study, apply to the Ph.D. degree in Educational Studies. Applicants interested in philosophical or humanistic studies may request to work with me. 


Sam Rocha was born in Brownsville, Texas, and raised in a nomadic lay Catholic missionary family, raised in the states of Texas, Utah, Ohio and also Reynosa, Mexico. He began playing guitar at the age of five and singing soon thereafter. He attended the Baylor Debate Institute in the summer of 1998, where he discovered and fell in love with philosophy. His religious roots in the charismatic renewal movement took him to the Franciscan University of Steubenville where he completed a B.A. in philosophy and Spanish literature as a Gates Millennium Scholar in 2005. He wrote and recorded his first folk demo, Amór, during this time and played in music ministry and local dive bars. After graduating, he worked for one year at Transfiguration Catholic School as a Spanish teacher and explored corporate positions at Target and Medtronic for another year while completing an M.A. in Educational Leadership at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota, as a Gates Fellow in 2007. He opened for “Floetry” (the opener for “The Roots”) during this time and was the bandleader of “Chema” (they recorded a demo, Appetizers). Rocha also began working as a regular sideman for local bands, including “Sonar.” 

From 2007 to 2010 he completed an M.A. and Ph.D. in philosophy of education at Ohio State University as a Gates Fellow. His dissertation, “Education, Study, and the Person,” received the Loadman Dissertation Award. During his studies at Ohio State, Rocha was a regular performing artist at Vonn Jazz Lounge, guitarist for “Gruvment” and the Worship Center of Central Ohio, and worship leader for Peace Lutheran Church contemporary services and he also co-led “Matias-Rocha y Nueva Trova,” a Latin-Jazz quartet, with Rolando Matias, sharing the stage or billing with Othello Molineaux (Jaco Pastorius), David Hampton (Rick James), Eddie Bayard (Pharez Whitted), Joe Lovano, Eddy Martinez (Ray Barreto and Tito Puente), and others. 

From 2010 to 2012 he was appointed the Owen Duston Visiting Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Teacher Education at Wabash College, in Crawfordsville, Indiana, where he also coached the college rugby club to a conference championship and became an honorary member of the Malcolm X Institute of Black Studies. Rocha released Freedom for Love, a folk EP, and self-published an anthology of online writings, Things and Stuff, in 2011. In 2012 he published a co-authored chapbook, Poems by Sam and Sam

From 2012 to 2014 he was appointed Assistant Professor of Educational Foundations and Research at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks, North Dakota. In 2013 he self-published A Primer for Philosophy and Education. Rocha played with his own band and was the drummer and singer for “Mojo Filter,” he also worked as a sideman with “Little Bobby and the Storm.” 

Since 2014, Rocha is Assistant Professor of Philosophy of Education at the University of British Columbia, in Vancouver, Canada, where he is also a member of the Green College Common Room.  In 2014 he published a second edition of A Primer for Philosophy and Education with Cascade Books and in 2015 it won the American Educational Studies Association Critics Choice Book Award. Also in 2014, he released Late to Love, an Augustinian soul album with Wiseblood Records.

In 2016 he released Fear and Loving, a soundscape companion album to his 2015 book, Folk Phenomenology: Education, Study, and the Human Person, published by Pickwick Publications. His band plays regularly at The Wolf and Hound in Kitsilano and his academic talks frequently double as concerts. His 2015 essay in Visual Arts Research, “A Tales of Three Cubicles,” won the Outstanding Contribution Award for that year.

In 2017 he published his first book of essays, Tell Them Something Beautiful: Essays and Ephemera with Cascade Books. Rocha has served as the president of the Society for the Philosophical Study of Education, is the Communications Director of the Philosophy of Education Society, book review editor for Studies in Philosophy and Education, and a member of the Theory and History of Education International Research Group.

Rocha’s work orbits his philosophical, musical, and religious interests. In contrast to his formal training in letters, he is a folk musician, unable to read or write music. This untrained, analphabet sensibility contributes to his fascination with education, schooling, and curriculum. His nomadic Texican ethnic heritage and ancestry have led to similar and intertwined reflections on race. A lifelong Roman Catholic, Sam’s writing often considers questions of religious identity from a confessional and autobiographical perspective, along with philosophical interventions into theology. His signature notions of pastoral philosophy and folk phenomenology continue to grow and evolve in his writing and teaching. He is committed to preserving the legacy of the humanities in education. Sam and his wife, Anne, have three children, Tomas, Gabriel, and Sofia, and are parishioners at St. Mark’s Catholic Church.


The Ohio State University, 2010, Ph.D
The Ohio State University, 2009, MA
University of Saint Thomas, 2007, MA
Franciscan University of Steubenville, 2005, BA

Selected Publications


Rocha, S. D. (2017). Tell Them Something Beautiful: Essays and Ephemera, Eugene, OR: Cascade Books.

Rocha, S. D. (2015). Folk Phenomenology: Education, Study and the Human Person, Eugene, OR: Pickwick Publications.

Rocha, S. D. (2014). A Primer for Philosophy and Education, Eugene, OR: Cascade Books. (Winner of the 2015 AESA Critic’s Choice Award)

Selected Chapters:

Rocha, S. D. (in press). Tears at the eye doctor. In Travis, S., Kraehe, A. M, Hood, E., and Lewis T. (Eds.), Pedagogies in the flesh: Teaching, learning, and the embodiment of sociocultural differences in education. Bloomsbury.

Rocha, S. D. and Clegg, D. (2017). Thought and study: The rigour of having an idea. In Ruitenberg, C. (Ed.),  Reconceptualizing study in educational discourse and practice. Routledge.

Rocha, S. D. (2017), History and philosophy of education as ‘pre qualitative’ educational research. In Errante, A. and Blount, J. (Eds.), The relationship and need of philosophy and history of education. Rowman and Littlefield.

Rocha, S. D. (2015). The blue soul of jazz: Teaching on waves of anguish. In T. Lewis and M. Laverty, (Eds.), Art’s Teaching, Teaching’s Art. New York: Springer.

Selected Articles:

Rocha, S.D. and Burton, A (2016). “Strong as death is love”: Eros and education at the end of time. Espacio, Tiempo y Educación 4(1), 1-12.

Rocha, S.D. (2016), “Folk phenomenology and the offering of teaching,” Journal of Curriculum and Pedagogy, 13:2, 121-135.

Rocha, S.D. (2016), “Education as Mystery: The Enchanting Hope of Desire,” Educational Philosophy and Theory 48:8, 811-826.

Rocha, S.D. (2016). Lines of tension, Rays of light: An autotheography. In Duarte, E. (Ed.), Philosophy of Education 2015 (58 66). Urbana, IL: Philosophy of Education Society (2013 Annual Meeting of the Philosophy of Education Society, Portland, OR, March 14-18).

Rocha, S.D. (2015). Kinship, analogy, and experiment: A collage. Curriculum and Pedagogy, 12:3, 241-251.

Rocha, S.D. (2015). A tale of three cubicles. Visual Arts Research. 32-42. (2015 Outstanding Contribution Award from the journal Visual Art Research)

Rocha, S. D. (2014). Educación de carne y hueso, education of flesh and bone: Variations on a folk melody. Lápiz: Journal of the Latin American Philosophy of Education Society, No. 1, 66-77.

Rocha, S. D. (2014). Incarnate reading: A cerebralist, cows, cannibals, and back again. In C. Mayo (ed.), Philosophy of education 2013 (pp. 120-128). Urbana, IL: Philosophy of Education Society.

Rocha, S. D. (2013). Unscientific science and the insignificance of significance: James, Kuhn, and Flyrberg. InterActions: UCLA Journal of Education and Information Studies, 9(2), 1-20.

Rocha, S. D. (2013). Compulsory schooling as preventative defense. Studies in Philosophy and Education, 32(6), 613-621.

Rocha, S. D. (2012). Erotic study: Fortune, baby-talk, and jazz. In C. Ruitenberg (ed.), Philosophy of education 2012 (pp. 63-71). Urbana, IL: Philosophy of Education Society.

Rocha, S. D. (2012), Who gets to be a philosopher? Dewey, democracy, and democratic identity. Philosophical Studies in Education, 62-72.

Rocha, S. D. (2009). A return to love in William James and Jean-Luc Marion, Educational Theory, 59(5), 579 – 588.

Selected Reviews:

Santoro, D. A. and Rocha, S. D. (2015). Review of Gert Biesta, The Beautiful Risk of Education, Studies in Philosophy and Education, 34(4), 413-418.

Rocha, S. D. (2013). Review of Eduardo M. Duarte, Being and Learning: A Poetic Phenomenology of Education, Studies in Philosophy and Education, 32(5), 551-557.

Rocha, S. D. (2012). Review of Michael Ehrmantraut, Heidegger’s Philosophic Pedagogy, Educational Philosophy and Theory, 44(5), 568 – 570.

Rocha, S. D. (2011). Review of Jorge Gracia, Latinos in America, Journal of Philosophy of Education, 45(3), 581 – 583.