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Office of Institutional Effectiveness


Program Mission Statement

The Philosophy Program provides students the opportunity to investigate questions of wide-ranging significance (such as, Can I know that what I experience exists in reality? Do we possess free will? Is there a god? What is the fairest way to organize a society? Is justice possible on a global scale?), develop crucial skills of critical thinking and reflection, and communicate in a clear and organized manner. The program focuses both on equipping students with knowledge of the main areas of philosophy, including logic, ethics and social-political philosophy, metaphysics and epistemology, and the history of philosophy, and on acquainting them with the range and diversity of traditions and orientations in philosophy including the Anglo-American, Continental European, and Comparative and Non-Western traditions. Courses in the program emphasize skills that are both discipline specific and transferable, fostering students’ ability to think critically, develop well-reasoned arguments, analyze pressing issues, and reflect on the world around them and their experiences in order to cultivate meaningful lives.

The program promotes meaningful institutional, professional, and community engagement, especially in the applied areas of ethics and practical philosophy, emphasizing the application of philosophical knowledge and skills in both teaching and research. Informed by these commitments, the Department of Philosophy seeks to assist its multiple constituencies in appreciating the great intellectual conversations, in clarifying unexamined assumptions, in evaluating the ideas and norms that motivate intellectual inquiry, and in participating intelligently and responsibly in public debates.

Student Learning Outcomes

Students will demonstrate their abilities to:

Content/Discipline-Specific Knowledge/Skills

  • articulate and properly use relevant key terms, concepts, and ideas from the discipline of philosophy.

Communication Skills

  •  identify, analyze, interpret, and evaluate philosophical arguments within an academic project.

Critical Thinking Skills

  • clearly explain philosophical questions and positions within an academic project.

Assessment Approaches

The philosophy major will be assessed in a 3-year cycle through a senior-level project and a senior exit survey. Majors will be assessed through a project which employs original research, that requires them to bring together the theoretical and methodological skills developed in the major and apply them to a specific philosophical question or textual interpretation. These projects require that students use disciplinary specific knowledge and skills, demonstrate clear communication skills, and also demonstrate critical thinking within the discipline. Finally, students will participate in a group senior exit survey. Each student will have questions in advance, and they will be asked to complete the survey on their own. Then, students will bring their answers to a focus group session, conducted by a recent grad of the program. The session will be recorded and transcribed. These surveys and transcript will be evaluated to assess how well students could explain the field of religious studies, how they were connecting it with their career goals, and as a means to collect suggestions for the respective programs’ improvement.