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Ergo | Summer 2013

Undergraduate Program Update


As Director of Undergraduate Studies, EJ Coffman has continued to build a first rate undergraduate program. Added to the BA program this year were two new major concentrations, one in legal and political philosophy, the other in the philosophy of science and medicine. Each can be pursued with honors. These concentrations will attract both new and current students who aspire to establish careers in these important professional fields.

Both the number and diversity of our undergraduate majors continues to grow. Twenty students, a third of them female, declared themselves majors in the fall, and every week has brought new majors during the spring. Our department now serves about 80 majors and is well on its way to reaching its goal of 100 majors by AY2014-15.

Our undergraduate majors are an impressive group. To illustrate, Eric Dixon achieved finalist status for a nationally prestigious Truman Scholarship; Jason Moeller had a paper accepted for conference presentation at Coastal Carolina University; Kristen Beard was accepted into the prestigious Carnegie Mellon Summer School in Logic and Formal Epistemology; and Laura Cutshaw had a paper accepted (the only undergraduate to do so) for conference presentation at the annual meeting of the Society for Value Inquiry.

The department awarded a number of scholarships for AY2013-14 to deserving undergraduates. They include: Kristen Beard (Rolf Dieter Hermann Scholarship); Kathleen Connelly (Betsy Postow Scholarship); Kevin Gayler (Beard Scholarship); Eileen Gormley (Rolf Dieter Hermann Scholarship); Suzanne Lamb (Betsy Postow Scholarship); Robert Nowell (Rolf Dieter Hermann Scholarship); Amanda Steele (Rolf Dieter Hermann Scholarship); and Richie Whitehead (Rolf Dieter Hermann Scholarship). The department is pleased to be able to support these students in their studies and looks forward to their continued contributions to the department’s intellectual life next year!

The winners of this year’s Mark and Inge Moore Undergraduate Essay contest are:

  • Evan Ford, first place for The Consequences of Rational Envy on Rawls’ Justice as Fairness. Tying for second place, Jason Moeller for Valuing Nature—A History of Instrumentality, and Victoria Montebello for There’s a Mystery Man in Your Basement: An Argument Against OIC. Congratulations to these outstanding undergraduates for their fine work!

The Undergraduate Philosophy Club, led this year by majors Kristen Beard and Robert Nowell, has contributed a great deal to our undergraduate program and department in general. The club, which meets weekly, organized discussions with faculty members Adam Cureton, Alex Feldt, Markus Kohl, Ayca Boylu, and Lisa Hicks; hosted a movie night with faculty member Ryan Windeknecht; and organized and hosted a standing-room-only attended panel discussion on philosophy and neuroscience, entited “Brain and Boundaries: on the Limits of Neuroscience.”

With the start of AY2013-14, Clerk Shaw will take over the role of director of Undergraduate Studies.

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