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Ergo | Summer 2013

Graduate Program Update

As part of his post-retirement activity, Richard Aquila has continued to oversee our graduate program, with assistance from Jon Garthoff, who takes over next year.

In the fall of 2012, the department welcomed a bright and enthusiastic group of new students. They will be followed in the fall of 2013 by an equally bright and enthusiastic group just admitted. As a group, the graduate students have never been more talented or diverse. For example, a third of the graduate students now are female; three are Chinese; one is South Korean. The department also continues to host visiting scholars from China who are eager to work with particular faculty members and participate in our department’s rich intellectual life and research culture.

Recent PhDs Joel MacClellan, Erik Krag, and Court Lewis have been busy teaching and writing. Between them, they have seven articles or chapters and an edited collection either published or forthcoming. MacClellan, who is currently a visiting assistant professor at Washington State University, was recently selected as a Human-Animal Studies Fellow for Summer 2013 at Wesleyan University in Connecticut. The fellowship is jointly orchestrated by the Animals & Society Institute and Wesleyan Animal Studies, and is sponsored by the Humane Society of the United States, the National Canine Research Council, and New York University's Animal Studies Initiative. MacClellan will work with a distinguished group of scholars addressing themselves to, among other things, philosophical issues regarding the moral status of and our moral relationships with animals. MacClellan’s work received a boost from the UT philosophy department’s 2012 symposium on Animals, Ethics, and the Law.

Earning their PhDs this year are Todd Burkhardt, who will return to service as a Lt. Colonel in the US Army, and Gavin Enck, who is completing a year as a clinical ethics fellow at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. John McClellan will complete his PhD in the coming months and has just accepted a position as a full-time tenure track assistant professor of philosophy at Carson-Newman University.

Todd Burkhardt, Gavin Enck, Trevor Hedberg, and Roger Turner all had articles or chapters accepted for publication in scholarly venues. Enck had two! Turner presented a paper on the highly selective main program of a meeting of the American Philosophical Association.

Devon Bryson and Jeremy Makely presented papers at the prestigious Brown University Shapiro Graduate Student Conference and the Northwestern/Notre Dame Graduate Epistemology Conference, respectively. And Matt Ruble will present a paper at the prestigious Philosophy and Psychiatry Conference at Oxford University this summer. These accomplishments are just the tip of the iceberg; overall this year, our graduate students have collectively published or have forthcoming five articles or chapters, and have delivered fifteen conference presentations!

Our 2013 Summer Dissertation Fellowship in Value Theory—initiated in 2012 through the generosity of John Prados and others—was awarded to Jason Fishel. Fishel’s dissertation, supervised by John Nolt, is titled “The Green Staff of Asclepius: Building a Sustainable Medicine.”

The department’s annual graduate student teaching award was renamed this year as the John Hardwig Graduate Teaching Award in recognition of Hardwig’s devotion to teaching and to mentoring future teachers of philosophy. This year, the award was given to Nolan Hatley, who has been doing an outstanding job in the classroom.

Under the supervision of Jon Garthoff, we launched a Graduate Research Seminar for students as they write their dissertations, theses, or pursue other substantial research projects. This year’s participants were PhD candidates Meghan Beard Bungo, Jason Fishel, and John McClellan (assistant professor, Carson-Newman University), and MA candidate Gary Shipley. The seminar is likely to become a requirement for those writing PhD dissertations.

Next year, the department will launch an annual Richard Aquila Graduate Student Essay Prize. Our department has long held an undergraduate essay contest, but has had no graduate student essay contest or prize. This new prize, recognizing Aquila’s many years of devotion to improving graduate student writing, will correct that imbalance and afford the faculty an opportunity to recognize an outstanding graduate student essay each year. Details on the contest and prize will be released early in the fall of 2013.

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