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U. Chicago Reforms PhD Programs: Lifts Limits on Funded Time, Sets Limits on Number of Students

The University of Chicago has announced several reforms to its Ph.D. programs in the humanities, social sciences, and some other fields. The changes cover graduate student funding and teaching responsibilities:  “Every enrolled PhD student in good academic standing has full tuition coverage, paid health insurance premiums, and funding for the duration of their program at least at the guaranteed stipend level,” apparently with no preset limit on the number of years one can receive funding (though presumably programs may remove students for lack of progress). Funding is independent of teaching duties—“Regardless of whether a student is teaching in a particular quarter or year, gross stipends will not vary”—and teaching duties will be aimed at helping graduate students “learn how to teach.” “The total number of PhD students across a particular school or division [e.g., Humanities, or Social Sciences, or Divinity] will be a fixed number, and new students will not be admitted until currently enrolled students graduate or leave their program. The model allows for variation across fields in time to degree and provides autonomy for departments to weigh the trade-off between entering cohort size and years in the program.” As Colleen Flaherty puts it at Inside Higher Ed: If full funding is the carrot to finish one’s degree in a timely manner, minimizing financial distractions, there is a stick—at least for departments. [More]

Graduate Students on Diversity and Inclusivity in Philosophy (guest post by Carolyn Dicey Jennings)

The following is a guest post* by Carolyn Dicey Jennings, associate professor of philosophy and cognitive science at University of California, Merced, and creator of Academic Placement Data and Analysis (APDA). Graduate Students on Diversity and Inclusivity in Philosophy by Carolyn Dicey Jennings Many philosophers recognize that the field has a “gender problem,” and maybe even a “race problem,” but I have come to believe that it has a diversity problem. This is because I helped lead a survey that revealed problems for women, those who identify as non-binary, racial and ethnic minorities, those from a low socioeconomic background, those with military or veteran status, LGBTQ philosophers, and those with disabilities. Graduate students from these backgrounds are underrepresented, find themselves less comfortable in philosophy, find philosophy less welcoming, are less likely to recommend their graduate program, are less satisfied with the research preparation, teaching preparation, and financial support of their graduate program, and are less interested in an academic career. This is a problem not only for reasons of equity and inclusion in philosophy, but also because diversity improves collective performance—philosophy is worse off as an academic discipline so long as it has this diversity problem. Fortunately, the participants in our survey provided some insight on how we might move forward, especially favoring increased representation from these groups among faculty [More]

Graduate Students on Diversity and Inclusivity in Philosophy (guest post by Carolyn Dicey-Jennings)

The following is a guest post* by Carolyn Dicey Jennings, associate professor of philosophy and cognitive science at University of California, Merced, and creator of Academic Placement Data and Analysis (APDA). Graduate Students on Diversity and Inclusivity in Philosophy by Carolyn Dicey-Jennings Many philosophers recognize that the field has a “gender problem,” and maybe even a “race problem,” but I have come to believe that it has a diversity problem. This is because I helped lead a survey that revealed problems for women, those who identify as non-binary, racial and ethnic minorities, those from a low socioeconomic background, those with military or veteran status, LGBTQ philosophers, and those with disabilities. Graduate students from these backgrounds are underrepresented, find themselves less comfortable in philosophy, find philosophy less welcoming, are less likely to recommend their graduate program, are less satisfied with the research preparation, teaching preparation, and financial support of their graduate program, and are less interested in an academic career. This is a problem not only for reasons of equity and inclusion in philosophy, but also because diversity improves collective performance—philosophy is worse off as an academic discipline so long as it has this diversity problem. Fortunately, the participants in our survey provided some insight on how we might move forward, especially favoring increased representation from these groups among faculty [More]

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