Central Washington University
College of Arts and Humanities
Department of Philosophy
Date: March 1, 2007
Jeffrey Dippmann, Chenyang Li, Heidi Szpek
Department Chair College Dean
Philosophy Self-Study Report
(September 2001—June 2006)
Table of Contents
I. Departmental Mission and Goals 1
A. Departmental Description and Mission 1
B. Programmatic Goals 3
C. Centrality/Essentiality 10
D. Describe Departmental Governance System 14
II. Description of the Programs 14
A. Undergraduate Programs 14
B. Teacher Preparation Contributions 17
C. Certificate Programs 17
D. Currency of curricula 17
E. Effectiveness of the process for reviewing curriculum 17
F. Effectiveness of instruction 18
G. Required measures of quantity for academic programs 19
H. Required measures of efficiency for the last five years 20
I. Assessment of students and programs 22
J. University Centers 23
III. Faculty 23
A. Faculty Profile 23
B. Faculty Vitae 24
C. Faculty Awards for Distinction 24
D. Adjunct/Lecturer Contributions 24
IV. Students for Five Years 25
A. Number of Degrees Awarded 25
B. Graduate Assistants 25
C. Student accomplishments 25
D. Graduate Thesis 28
E. FTEs served in general education 28
F. Advising Services for Students 34
G. Other Student Services 34
V. Facilities & Equipment 36
VI. Library and Technology Resources 36
A. Vital Resource 36
B. Literacy Proficiencies 37
C. Utilization by Faculty 37
VII. Analysis of the Review Period 38
A. Major Accomplishments 38
B. Challenges 39
C. Resources Provided 41
VIII. Future directions 41
A. Aspirations 41
B. Quality, Quantity, Efficiency 42
C. Future Directions 43
D. Balance of Teaching, Service, Research 43
IX. Suggestions 44
X. Appendices 44
A. Faculty Scholarship, Service and Mentoring 45
B. Faculty Vitae 59
C. Graduate Thesis 117
I. Departmental Mission and Goals
A. Departmental Description and Mission
The Department of Philosophy at Central Washington University (CWU) offers two programs that are closely linked. One program is a Major in Philosophy proper; the other program is a Philosophy Major with a Specialization in Religious Studies. The goal of this department is to sustain and promote both programs while also providing strong support for the General Education program and several interdisciplinary programs.
Philosophy is “the love of wisdom.” It is not a body of doctrines to be learned but an ongoing process of inquiry into questions which express people’s deepest concerns, such as the meaning of human existence, the nature of reality, the criteria of knowledge, and the grounds of human conduct. The Philosophy Department offers courses in the thought of great philosophers of the past and present, both Western and non-Western, and in the principal topical fields of philosophic investigation, such as ethics, logic, theory of knowledge, and philosophy of religion. The faculty conduct philosophical research and present their results to their professional peers as well as to wider audiences. The students acquire skills and techniques that enable them to understand and evaluate the philosophies of other people, to recognize how these ideas and debates influence our contemporary lives, and to philosophize on their own. These attainments are useful in any profession and throughout life. The Philosophy Program offers a comprehensive examination of Western philosophical history, with students engaging the thought of philosophers ranging from Plato to Levinas through close reading of primary texts. The department also offers courses in Indian and Chinese Philosophy in order to broaden our students’ appreciation for the world’s rich intellectual heritage. Some majors in philosophy take Religious Studies courses to enrich their curriculum.
The Religious Studies Program provides an objective, cross-cultural analysis of the world’s religious traditions. The academic study of the history of religion plays an indispensable role in meeting the broad educational goals of the University. Knowledge about the breadth and diversity of religion not only characterizes the well educated individual, but also is essential for understanding, working and living in an increasingly multi-cultural society. For those interested in working in an international setting or outside the United States, a basic comprehension of how other people envision their reality is critical in developing a global perspective. Since the majority of the world's history, art, literature, music and contemporary life is incomprehensible without an awareness of the corresponding religious ideas and cultural influences, the study of religious history, beliefs and practices is an integral part of a complete education. Just as it is impossible to understand fully the history of Europe and the United States without gaining familiarity with their Judeo-Christian heritage, so too the cultural and material histories of Asia, the Middle East and Africa are imbued by the tenets of Confucianism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Shintoism, Taoism, Islam, Judaism and numerous indigenous traditions. Majors in this program also take 10-20 credits of upper-division philosophy courses toward the completion of the program.
The Philosophy Department’s mission aligns with that of the University in the preparation of students for “responsible citizenship, responsible stewardship of the earth, and enlightened and productive lives” through participation in the University’s general education Program, as well as its own major Programs. The department is also actively involved in many of CWU’s Interdisciplinary Programs, such as Asia/Pacific Studies, the Douglas Honors College, Women’s Studies, Film and Video Studies, and American Indian Studies, in order to better prepare our students for the internationalism and growing cultural diversity of the 21st century.
Philosophy plays an essential role in preparing students for real life. While many students may initially believe that Philosophy and Religious Studies are not practical majors, renowned philosopher Bertrand Russell writes to the contrary:
The ‘practical’ man [person], as this word is often used, is one who recognizes only material needs, who realizes that men must have food for the body, but is oblivious of the necessity of providing food for the mind . . . . The value of philosophy is, in fact, to be sought largely in its very uncertainty. The man who has no tincture of philosophy goes through life imprisoned in the prejudices derived from common sense, from the habitual beliefs of his age or his nation, and from the convictions which have grown up in his mind without the cooperation or consent of his deliberate reason. To such a man the world tends to become definite, finite, obvious; common objects rouse no questions, and unfamiliar possibilities are contemptuously rejected. As soon as we begin to philosophize, on the contrary, we find . . . that even the most everyday things lead to problems to which only very incomplete answers can be given. Philosophy, though unable to tell us with certainty what is the true answer to the doubts which it raises, is able to suggest many possibilities which enlarge our thoughts and free them from the tyranny of custom. Thus, while diminishing our feeling of certainty as to what things are, it greatly increases our knowledge as to what they may be; it removes the somewhat arrogant dogmatism of those who have never traveled into the region of liberating doubt, and it keeps alive our sense of wonder by showing familiar things in an unfamiliar aspect. (Problems of Philosophy, Chapter 10).
Therefore, in today’s high-tech world, the abstract reasoning skills, analytical tools, and communication skills, as well as an awareness of the corresponding religious ideals and cultural influences of an increasingly multi-cultural and global society, obtained through studying Philosophy and Religious Studies, are increasingly valuable. As Peter Veruki, head of external relations at Vanderbilt University's Owen Graduate School of Management, recently noted:
It's about maturity and leadership rather than how many accounting courses did you take. Companies are going to start to look at the fundamental value set of an individual and their basic education. Did they study Philosophy and culture and history rather than just accounting, finance and engineering? Fast-forward 20 or 30 years, we're going to find [business leaders] who maybe majored in Philosophy rather than business. (http://www.careerjournal.com/salaryhiring/industries/seniorexecs/20050613-white.html?cjpos=home_whatsnew_minor).
As a translatable skill, training in Philosophy and Religious Studies prepares students to adapt to new technical innovations, while particular concrete training quickly becomes outdated. The following statistics illustrate the value of a philosophical education:
According to a study1 of GRE scores from 1988-1991, Philosophy majors do exceptionally well on the GRE. On average, Philosophy majors had:
the highest mean verbal score of students in all majors.
the second highest mean analytic score of students in all majors.
a higher mean quantitative score than all other humanities and social science majors.
The 2006-2007 official GRE Educational Testing Service report reconfirms the value of studying philosophy. It lists Philosophy Majors as scoring the highest among all majors in Social Sciences, Education, and Humanities and Arts in Verbal and Analytical Writing Categories and the second highest in Quantitative Category (http://www.ets.org/Media/Tests/GRE/pdf/994994.pdf ).
A similar analysis of the LSAT in 1994 study shows that:
The mean LSAT for Philosophy majors is higher than it is for both Political Science and Pre-Law majors, the typical majors in Pre-Law Programs.
The mean LSAT score for Philosophy majors is the fifth highest for all humanities and social science majors.
Philosophy majors likewise excel on the GMAT. From 1991-1996:
Philosophy majors earned a higher mean score than for any type of Business major.
Outside of the hard sciences, Philosophy has had either the first or second highest mean score on the GMAT each year.
Including the hard sciences, the mean GMAT score for Philosophy majors is fourth or fifth highest of all majors.