University of West Georgia

Philosophy Program

Assessment 2009-2010

 

I.          Basic Information:

 

Number of majors: 57

Number of permanent faculty: 3

Number of temporary instructors: 3

Number of courses fall semester 2009: 20

Number of Core seats taught by full-time faculty f2009: 530

Number of Core seats: 180 in B1 (Phil 2110), 350 in C2 (Phil 2100, Phil 2120)

Number of degrees: one, BA

Number of concentrations: two, one in religion, one in pre-law

 

II.        Mission Statement:

 

It is the purpose of the Philosophy Program to expose students to the distinctive ways in which different philosophical traditions have examined the basic issues of life. Our aim is not only to examine these diverse philosophies, but to teach students a unique method of inquiry that has at its basis the belief that deep-seated convictions, prejudices and beliefs should be thoroughly scrutinized. It is our goal to help students focus on the meaning of an idea, its basis, coherence, and relation to other ideas; to understand the role of premises and inference in ordinary discourse as well as in philosophical argumentation; to recognize and define different world views; and to comprehend the history of philosophy in particular. In the process, we strive to teach students general problem solving skills and critical thinking skills, help them develop communicative, analytical and persuasive skills, and sharpen their writing and synthesizing skills.  All of this is done to enhance the lives of our students and to prepare them for success in academic and workplace environments

 

 

III.       Philosophy Program Goals and Objectives

 

Goal 1:      Provide high quality curriculum that emphasizes disciplinary rigor and ensures the transmission of a unique method of inquiry.

Objectives

·         To advise students rigorously to ensure appropriate selection of courses

·         To maintain class sizes that allow for quality faculty-student interactions

·         To review the curriculum on an annual basis for a reconsideration of courses which best reflect the appropriate method of inquiry

·         To participate in university and college activities that enhance opportunities for high quality curriculum

 

Goal 2:      To provide high quality instruction that promotes the development of effectiveness in communication, critical and independent thinking, problem solving, and the use of technology.

Objectives

·         To require extensive writing in courses that enhances disciplinary rigor

·         To require oral presentations in courses offered in the program

·         To require critical thinking exercises in courses offered in the program

·         To incorporate the use of technology in courses offered in the program

·         To evaluate students through methods that require critical thinking and writing skills

 

Goal 3:      To promote student research, scholarship, and creative endeavors which enhance an understanding of philosophical argumentation and prepare our students for success in the academic and workplace environments.

Objectives

·         To involve students in faculty research and publication projects

·         To assist students with individual research projects

·         To encourage students to participate in professional meetings

·         To encourage students to participate in professional activities

·         To encourage students to participate in scholarly competitions

·         To enhance students’ participation in community service activities

 

Goal 4:      To enhance faculty research, scholarship, and creative endeavors which enhance professional development and contribute to quality instruction.

Objectives

·         To strengthen faculty members’ scholarly activities

·         To strengthen faculty members’ ability to obtain internal and external funding for creative activities

·         To support faculty participation in professional meetings

 

Goal 5:      To reaffirm the equal dignity of each person by valuing cultural, ethnic, racial, and gender diversity.

Objectives

·         To review curriculum to design courses which reflect issues of diversity

·         To encourage all students to participate in program initiatives

 

 

IV.       Philosophy Program Curriculum Learning Outcomes

 

Every graduate of the Philosophy program will be able to:

 

·         Discuss the general historical development of the discipline of philosophy;

·         Discuss three major historical figures of philosophy;

·         Ask philosophical questions and differentiate their types;

·         Incorporate a philosophical position in oral and written communications;

·         Critically outline and analyze a philosophical question.

 

 

V.        Assessment Plan:

Our plan for documenting student mastery of these skills: All philosophy majors are required to take at least one 4000-level course. This course provides seniors with the opportunity to prepare a portfolio of written work as well as to work more closely with faculty and other students in a smaller class setting. We have designated this course a “capstone” course. This means that each instructor of such a course completes a Senior Outcomes Assessment Form for each senior-level student enrolled in the course. These forms are collated by the Director of the Philosophy Program. The plan of the department is to build, over time, a database from this information. We believe that prudent use of these data will allow us to assess the strengths and weaknesses of our undergraduate curriculum with a view to strengthening it where it appears to need strengthening.

 

*Graduating senior report card—comparisons in terms of gpas to other departments.  Comparisons of standardized test scores with overall major gpas to show little or no grade inflation in our program.

Poll of graduating seniors across campus to determine how philosophy fares compared to other programs with respect to satisfaction in skills and advising.

 

*While this would be ideal, we cannot do this without institutional support that would poll graduating seniors and provide breakdowns of data specific to our program.

 

Senior portfolio

            Includes senior seminar paper, completed program sheet, intellectual autobiographical    statement, names of recommenders, resume, and the Senior Outcomes Assessment Form.

 

Program Exit Survey

 

Biannual mail survey of alumni to be repeated in fall 2010.

 

Feedback Process: annual retreats of faculty to review assessment data and make changes to outcomes, syllabi, program requirements, etc.

 

VI.       Results to date. Results are available for the 2008-2009 year.  See Appendices A-C for results of Alumni Survey, Advising Survey, and Exit Survey respectively.  See Appendix D for data on aspirational and comparator peer institutions.  See Appendix G for program retention/graduation data.  Generally, these results would indicate the following areas of concern:

 

·        Limited number of faculty: this poses a challenge for maintaining the low faculty to student ratio.  The surveys indicate that students recognize that the program needs more faculty in order to provide more diverse course offerings.  Additionally, the comparator and aspirational peer data make clear that we surpass our aspirational peers in the numbers of majors we have compared to the number of faculty we have.  This has put a huge strain on the faculty in terms of teaching load and advising load.

·        Student perception of the skills they have acquired: while the surveys indicate that none of our students were unemployed immediately following graduation, they do indicate that perhaps our students were underemployed and did not have a clear sense of the skills they had acquired through their study of philosophy.   This is something we hope to rectify by working with students in senior seminar to produce a resume and through that process guiding the students to an understanding of their marketable skills.

·        Numbers in the religion track are not as high as anticipated given the popularity of the courses taught: we have talked about ways to improve recruitment of students into the religion track through the Phil 2130 Introduction to World Religions course and through identifying the strong students in religion.  We also anticipate reaching a wider variety of students by adding Phil 2130 to the Core in Area E.

·        Graduation rates: while our graduation rates have significantly improved in the last five years, we need to keep working towards motivating our students to graduate, making sure they graduate in a timely manner through appropriate advising, and tracking our students through the program. (See appendix G)

·        Program Goals and Learning Outcomes not as clearly in line with new Strategic Plan: We have worked through our program goals and learning outcomes to alter them to more appropriately fit the new Strategic Plan and to better reflect the work we do in our program. (See appendix F)

 

 

 

VII.     Implications and Limitations of these Results

Without a senior report card instituted at the University level, it is impossible to compare our students with the general university graduating population.  This significantly restricts our ability to evaluate our program as compared to other programs on campus.

 

Based on the data we reviewed and our discussions at our assessment meetings, we have instituted or will institute the following:

·        Senior Outcomes Assessment of all graduating seniors in senior seminar (see appendix E).  This assessment will take place as a kind of exit interview for all graduating seniors taking the Senior Seminar.  Students will be asked a series of question to determine how well they have met the learning outcomes of the program. 

·        New Program Goals, Objectives and Outcomes (see appendix F)

·        Continued argument for replacement of faculty lines previously lost and for new faculty lines to provide the diversity of courses students are seeking

·        Inclusion of student resume in Senior Portfolio as a way of helping students recognize their marketable skills

·        A template of courses for all four years of a student’s education in our program to assist students in making adequate and timely progress through the major and to assist in the advising process.

 

While we are working towards appropriate outcomes assessment, it is important to note that

The American Philosophical Association expresses concern about the use of outcomes assessment (OA):

The APA is concerned that requirements placed upon departments of philosophy and upon individual instructors to implement OA in its more radically conceived recent guises ... may be neither well warranted nor pedagogically wise. We observe that little work would appear to have been done to assess the value of OA itself in improving teaching and learning. It is moreover pointless to prepare extensive assessment programs in the absence of evidence that the means of assessment already in place can be improved upon with tangible educational benefits great enough to justify the costs and other disadvantages. OA does not take place in a vacuum, and may require the redirection of already limited funds and faculty time and effort. And there also is a very real danger that OA imperatives will create pressures to tailor the teaching of philosophy to things that admit of "before and after" measurement, to its serious detriment.

 

(from http://www.apa.udel.edu/apa/governance/statements/outcomes.html)

Philosophy aims to cultivate analytical and critical skills with respect to difficult and fundamental topics of human concern, such as truth, knowledge, explanation, mind, meaning, reality, God, duty, virtue, law and punishment. These skills are not easily subjected to meaningful outcomes assessment. The data presented in the present report should be interpreted cautiously, and prescriptions drawn from it should take account of the special nature of our discipline.

 

VIII. Feedback

The Philosophy faculty will meet early each fall semester to discuss the results of the exit survey, the alumni survey(when available), senior report card, and other outcomes assessments and to discuss possible changes to teaching methods and course outcomes.  Faculty will determine the basic findings and based upon those findings develop action items to be implemented during the academic year.  We shall compare the degree of fit between our stated goals and the composite view of our students. We anticipate that these feedback sessions could result in occasional changes in the philosophy curriculum.

 

This year’s assessment meeting took place in two different sessions.  Session one, on September 2, 2009 included a review of all survey data and data from our comparator and aspirational peer institutions as well as retention/graduation data for our program (see appendix G).  Session two, on September 9, 2009, included a revision of program goals and objectives, and the revision and institution of a Senior Outcomes Assessment form, as well as an overall review of our assessment plan.  For notes of these meetings, see appendix H.

 

IX.       Future plans. The philosophy department’s teaching mission has suffered from a shortage of faculty, given that the number of our majors is now at a record high. We are hopeful that the new hire that we are seeking for Fall 2010 will help address this problem.

Outcomes evaluation has shown some possible areas of concern (see above) which has been brought to the attention of faculty at the program level. We will continue to monitor our outcomes assessment data for such valuable feedback.

Our specific tracks (religion track and pre-law track) are highly successful, and we expect them to be even more so in the future.

Our undergraduate major program is currently robust, but still further growth in numbers and enhancement of the quality of our program is an eminently reasonable goal.

Continued focus on retention and graduation rates, including our methods of advising, will help to further improve our rates.

 

 

 


 

Appendix A

Results of Alumni Survey F2008

 

 

Year Graduated:      2000        2002        2005        2006        2007

                                2              1              1              2              5

 

Concentration:  Philosophy                                    Pre-Law                  Religion

                                72.7%                                      9.1%                        18.2%

Employment

 

1.             Which of the following best describes your current employment status?

                Employed full-time                                                                 54.5%

                Employed part-time                                                               18.2%

                Self-employed                                                                         0

                Enrolled in degree program                                                     27.3%

                Unemployed, not seeking work (skip to #7)                          0

                Unemployed, seeking work (skip to #4)                                                0

 

2.             What is the name of your employer?

                Baker Audio

                Bluegreen Resorts

                Impact Counseling & Consulting, LLC

                Johnny Rockets

                Ozburn-Hessey Logistics

                Provino’s

                Target

                University of Kansas

                UWG Excel Center

 

3.             What is your job title?

                CEO

                Customer Support Engineer

                Graduate Assistant

                Graduate Student

                Reference Specialist

                Sales Associate

                Server

                Server/Manager

                Software Engineer

 

4.             When did you being your job search?

                6 months to a year before graduation                                     9.1%

                3 to 6 months before graduation                                             27.3%

                0 to 3 months before graduation                                             0

                After graduation                                                                      45.5%

 

5.             How long did you actively job hunt before finding employment?

                3 months or less                                                                      72.7%

                4 to 6 months                                                                          0

                6 months to a year                                                                  0

                More than a year                                                                    0

 

The Philosophy Program, UWG

 

Please answer questions 7-9 using a scale of 1-5, with 1 being the least satisfied and 5 being the most satisfied.

 

7.             What is your overall level of satisfaction with the UWG Philosophy Program?

                Average: 4.5

 

8.             What is your level of satisfaction with the classroom experience in which you participated during the Philosophy Program?

                Average: 4.5

 

9.             How would you rate the learning environment in the UWG Philosophy Program?

                Average: 4.2

 

10.           Would you recommend the UWG Philosophy Program to others?  List the top three reasons why you would or wouldn’t.

                Yes=100%

 

11.           List the top three reasons why you would recommend the UWG Philosophy Program.

                (Number 1)

                Diversity of classes offered

                Excellent Professors  (2)

                Intimate setting due to small class size

                Learn to think, handle concepts, digest language

                Some of the most fund professors

                Teachers are very helpful

                The issues and material presented to be thought unhinges one’s comfortable opinions, opening one to the possibility of thinking

                The Philosophy program at UWG taught me how to think logically and clearly.  That one simple skill has served me well in all of my pursuits

                The professors were very open to dialogue in and out of class.  After attending UGA I noticed a vast difference

                The professors, namely, Dr. Janet Donohoe

 

12.           (Number 2)

                Class options and availability

                Philosophy examines important aspects of life of which people should be aware

                Professor enthusiasm and interaction

                Study of philosophy is elastic: good academic preparation for further study in wide array of different fields

                The classes were very interesting

                The program has some very smart professors

                The variety of class subjects are wide ranging

                There is a sense of sort of community between the faculty and students, the students with each other, and the faculty with each other

                Variety of courses

                While I was in the program I learned how to approach life in a scientific manner: to consider evidence factually and to pursue honest inquiry.  Having this understanding has helped me in my professional life as well as my personal life.

                Wide range of topics

 

13.           (Number 3)

                Fun environment to learn in

                Necessity of subject

                Student/Professor interaction

                Study of philosophy is interdisciplinary: many disciplines intersect in philosophy providing a range of learning.

                The analytic classes were helpful in preparing for law school.

                The exceptional abilities of the teaching staff

                The program forced me to open my mind and think in previously unused methods.  Being able to consider other points of view has been very helpful in personal and professional life.

                There is no major that has more of an impact on everyday life, regardless of occupation.

                We have a very balanced and diverse philosophy program

                You get to read stuff like Plato and Nietzsche for homework.

 

14.           Describe the best experience you had as a student in the UWG Philosophy Program

                Constantly arguing with all of my professors all throughout all of my classes.  Constantly having professors with different (and often opposing) ways of thinking and ideas always gave me something to think about and argue with (even if I agreed), and that is an essential aspect of any philosophy program

                Definitely senior seminar, particularly, Dr. Donohoe’s lecture near the end on Heidegger and being as a verb.  Also, when Dr. Lane was introducing Clifford in American philosophy class and pulled up a picture of the big red dog.

                Dining with my professors and seeing Derrida speak.

                I imagine it was in Philosophy in Lit and Film when Professor Donohoe asked, ‘what is the is of is?’  I was instantly confounded and intrigued.  Id’ never inquired into anything purely ontological, rather, I’d only considered onto-theology before.

                I really enjoyed my senior seminar class because it was a smaller amount of people and it gave time to focus on a single philosopher.

                In going to conferences to present papers and hear what my peers from other schools and states were doing, I was exposed to the ways philosophical research is conducted, presented, received, and challenged by others involved in the same process.

                Meeting of the Minds was always fun and really helped me understand particular people’s philosophies as a whole instead of just studying one of their texts in class.

                My best experience was in the epistemology course I took with Dr. Lane.  Delving that deeply into the material was invigorating and very exciting.  A lot of the courses I took were survey courses and you simply can’t get that depth of understanding.  The work I did understanding Quine’s position on the nature of knowledge and his scientific definition of experience gathering is still very helpful to me.

                My favorite experience was the performance the philosophical society put on in which the members role played several different philosophers and debated different topics.

                My second audition for Big Night.  After having skipped the first one I tried again and was successful.  I was the runner-up in the humanities division and it felt good to accomplish something that I had failed before. (This was a very close tie to my first “Meeting of the Minds” performance.)

                The exposure I had to quality texts.

 

15.           Describe the worst experience you had as a student in the UWG Philosophy Program

                Although there is a reward in writing papers, the frustration, angst, and general oscillations between inability and capacity had a tendency to dishevel one.

                At one point while taking multiple classes we began to have very large and important papers due on close to the same date for almost an entire semester.  Many other students shared this dilemma and we became stressed and a little overwhelmed.  Eventually, upon realizing the situation, our professors moved some dates around and relieved some of the pressure.

                Feeling like an utter moron while writing a Phenomenology final paper and realizing that I hadn’t comprehended a single combination of two or more words the entire semester.

                Graduating and not being around the day to day philosophical discussions that I enjoyed so much.

                I was unsatisfied with one of the student teachers, but that had a lot to do with my predisposition with philosophy in general at the time.  So, other than that, it was merely a subjective problem, one that was easily remedied with maturity.

                My worst experience was in the hermeneutics class I took.  To be completely honest, I feel that I went in with an attitude of false inquiry.  I had already biased myself against the authors of the readings before I attempted them.  So while I didn’t have a good time in that course, it is entirely possible that it was my own fault.

                Not having many classes that were directed towards the pre law program

                The first year I had an audition for Big Night.  I was scared and couldn’t stop crying so I left the audition and didn’t present.  I was always disappointed in myself and felt like I had let my professors down.

                The philosophy of religion class taught by Ms. Green was the worst experience I had.  I guess she was just new to teaching and wasn’t really sure what she was doing yet.  We did not learn anything; it was a waste of my time and money.

                Watching some of the professors retire.

                Without a doubt, it was being there while the department was in limbo between religion professors.

 

16.           List three strengths of the Philosophy Program at UWG.

                (Number 1)

                Caring professors who go the extra mile for their students

                Diverse course matter and ideas

                Diversity of classes

                Lots of written exams that required more than memorization

                Patience

                Professors (2)

                The informative approach used by the professors

                The professors.  I was genuinely impressed with the staff and how hard they worked.

                The variety and balance in staff regarding philosophical stances and teaching styles

                The wide range of exposure to different fields, time periods, and overall approaches to Philosophical issues given in this department constitutes one of its greatest strengths.

 

17.           (Number 2)

                Class diversity

                Diverse classes

                In being exposed to not only the history of philosophy but being asked to take up someone like Plato in a critical way, Philosophy was displayed as something you do and are instead of just something you study.

                Perseverance

                Student involvement

                Students are free to have their own opinions about various authors instead of being forced into conforming to the professors’ conceptions.

                Teachers that care and will take time to help you.

                Teaching from primary texts (like learning to read Hegel, etc.)

                The classroom experience which was always fun and always included interesting conversations.

                The faculty’s openness to meeting and discussing topics with students.

                The University’s administration.  I believe they are truly committed to learning.

 

18.           (Number 3)

                A tight community

                Activities that the philosophy department sponsors (meeting of the minds, clubs)

                During the completion of a degree students are allowed and encouraged to become comfortable and friendly with each other, allowing a related and efficient environment in which to learn and express themselves.

                Getting to know the other philosophy students and discussing topics even away from the classroom

                Interest of subject

                Meeting of the minds, lunch with the professors

                Smaller classes

                The hiring of Phenomenologists

                The opportunity.  UWG is positioned in a geographically and demographically advantageous situation.  I believe there is a great opportunity for a mid-size state university

                Variety of courses

                With events like the monthly lunch with the department, Philosophical society, and the general attitude professors hold towards students presents an intimate atmosphere.

 

19.           List three changes you would like to see in the Philosophy Program at UWG

                (Number 1)

                I feel that the philosophy program suffers due to UWG’s status as a commuter school.  I think as the university grows that is changing, but think that by trying to establish more of a community the program can greatly benefit itself.

                I would like to not have the times the classes begin and end make it difficult to attend other classes within the same program punctually.

                I would like to see more intra-disciplinary communication that keeps the “alternative viewpoints” open as opposed to the dismissive stances towards other philosophical approaches that tends to seep into the classroom.

                I would like to see more students encouraged to major in philosophy.

                Masters Program

                Metaphysics being offered

                More professors.  The program is great, but far too small.

                More religion classes.

                More teachers

                The program should be distinct from the English program if this has not happened already.

                Topics I have been interested in that I would have liked to study more: virtue, beauty, identity, death.  Also, I really enjoyed the senior seminar because it was on one philosopher.  I know it may be hard having more classes on just one philosopher because people may just not be interested in the one offered, but it really made me feel like I had some focus within my studies as opposed to the more usually distant, survey approach.  Alberg taught on mimesis that I could not take, and I would have killed to be in Tietjen’s Kierkegaard seminar, etc.

 

20.           (Number 2)

                A greater involvement with the Psychology department

                A little more focus on how to apply philosophy in the workplace

                A little more variety in the learning methods; lectures and basic discussion will always be the most common but some students may benefit from more original or complex/artistic methods.

                Class on Nietzsche

                Diversity

                I remember being rather perturbed with the Philosophical society. (What I am saying comes from attending it several years ago and only sporadically my senior year). I really appreciate that Lane invests in, and runs it.  Perhaps one of the things is that there was not participation by other professors, but it is always fun to see two professors dialogue.  I always remember watching Dr. D. and Lane interact and wishing y’all would break out into debate.  That would’ve been great.  I remember one time Dr. Alberg attending the Philosophical society and being really frustrated with the conversation.  I think part of my being perturbed was because of the sweeping topics that were assigned for discussion and my reoccurring feeling that the conversation meandered away into people’s pontifications.  Perhaps, more narrow topics with a more strictly guided conversation, would have kept my attendance.  I just had the feeling that I wasn’t learning anything new.  I did appreciate it when people were in charge of researching or bringing in something to ground the discussion.

                I would like the program to focus more on science and the link between science and philosophy.  For example, in the computer science realm, I think a course charting the history of how philosophical logic became modern computational theory (e.g. Whitehead, Leibniz, Goedel, Boole, Church, etc.) would be interesting.  I also think that a course covering the links between philosophy and psychology would be interesting.  See this program at Stanford: www.stanford.edu/dept/hps/index2.html as an example. 

                I would like to see more philosophy classes required for students with other majors.

                It would be nice, if possible, to have topics classes—i.e. metaphysics or epistemology—and examine the different approaches towards these branches—what does Plato say, Heidegger, Carnap, etc.?
                more classes for pre-law focus

                The philosophical society had slipped at the end of my undergraduate career.  If it hasn’t picked back up already, it needs to.

                               

21.           (Number 3)

                A choice regarding the topic of senior seminar

                An M.A. option

                I think the program could benefit from fewer survey courses and more specialized courses.  Of course, this will only happen as the program grows and more students are available to take said courses.

                I think there should be more incentive for students to join the philosophical society

                More classes that focus on just one or two philosophers

                Most likely impractical, but sometimes it would have been more beneficial if students could, at least occasionally, be grouped primarily with students of similar familiarity with the subject matter.

                The implementation of technology into courses and focusing on technology as a philosophical phenomenon

                The program growing.

                This point is a little hard to explain.  Sometimes I felt like different classes were, in a sense, woven together well (event btw Donohoe and Lane) and this was very helpful.  But sometimes I felt like I was given a philosopher and his/her philosophy extracted from a sense of where it is situated in history as related to other philosophical systems and movements.  I remember feeling this way especially in the ancient/medieval and modern classes.  I would really have appreciated the presentation of older philosophies with a sensitivity to their implications for concepts in broader contexts.  (I know that this risks the concentration of the lecture by trying to broaden out and cover more.  But at the same time, I remember thinking how I could not imagine anything more divorced from contemporary relevance than monads, substance, antinomies, accidents, ataraxia, etc.)

                We should have more events—which is up to the students more than anything—such as professors presenting their research to students and other faculty, students present papers to each other, essay contests, etc.

 

22.           If you had the chance to make a choice about a major again, would you choose to be a Philosophy major?

                Yes=100%

 

23.           Do you think there is more the Philosophy Program could have done to prepare you for the working world?  If so, what would it be?

                Although the discipline gives you critical thinking skills, sharpens one’s ability to analyze a situation and think through its problems towards its possible solutions, which were well formed and established because of this program, the main function of philosophy is not to prepare me for the “working world.”  In any event, however, it did so in terms of the above statements.

                Hmm…this is tough.  I feel like studying philosophy prepared me for the working world by giving me thinking tools, equipment to be more informed and engaged in my work.  It helps that classes dipped into other arenas—much intersection between philosophy, literature, religion, and law.  Perhaps this could be more intentional.  For example, more involved discussion on contemporary US politics in the political philosophy class, or more interaction between pragmatism and its relationship to culture in American philosophy class.  Maybe this is not answering the question.  But they’re just ideas that are perhaps related.

                I switched majors several times before concluding that I was not attending a trade school and that I was looking for a major that would benefit me in dealing with life as a whole, rather than job specific intricacies.

                Increase the amount of interpersonal communication (papers, presentations, etc.) that a student must perform.  In the business world I often have to give presentations, meet with clients, work with new team-mates, write documentation and so forth.  The interpersonal skills that I developed at UWG certainly helped, but there is always room for improvement.

                Maybe a class on corporate philosophy

                No, I think the major itself prepared me for the working world.

                Not really.  I didn’t choose Philosophy because of the working world.

                Not that I can think of right now.

                Problem solving applications as needed in life

                Talked a little more about it.

                The program didn’t prepare me for the working world, it prepared me to be a better students for future academic endeavors.

 

 

24.           What skills do you use on a regular basis in your job that were enhanced through your studies in the Philosophy Program?

                Analyzing situations, arguing, writing, the search for truth itself, identifying flaws in thoughts and beliefs, understanding and authentically dealing with myself and other people, dealing with the world in general.

                Critical thinking, ethical application and advanced problem solving skills.  The logic skills I was taught have assisted me in computer programming and troubleshooting.  The skills I learned gave me a solid foundation for completing my Masters and beginning my doctorate.  The program also granted me skills to effectively hire and fire ~50 employees over the course of my managerial career.

                Dealing with people, problem solving, logic

                I am able to communicate ideas clearly and handle a customer’s objections quickly.  I can consistently make solid presentations and make people feel comfortable making an impulse purchase.

                I constantly used the logic skills I learned at UWG.  It is invaluable to me in my line of work.  The communication skills I developed have also helped me succeed by making sure I can accurately and succinctly convey information.

                I evaluate and repair large audio and video systems while simultaneously dealing with flaring emotions and varying expectations.  Being able to see the “big picture” and understanding those emotions on a level not verbally communicated helps me diffuse hostile situations and think through abstract problems.  Some people might argue that my degree is completely unrelated to my occupational field, but I maintain that my degree gives me the tools to solve unforeseen problems and keep the customer happy, even when faced with a negative response or diminished hopes for satisfactory resolution.

                I’m a graduate student now and I use all of the skills gained from UWG.  However, in last employment (barnes and noble booksellers) frequently talked about philosophy with my customers.  It helped me create a customer base.  The program also provided me with excellent critical thinking skills which allow me to attack old problems with new insight, no matter what job I’m doing.

                My ability to read an issue or situation in terms of the whole project and the particular steps needed to get to that whole has been greatly enhanced because of the philosophy program.

                Reading comprehension, vocabulary, speech, critical thinking, applying the ontological argument to pointless circumstances, etc.

                This is coming from perspective of studying with a religion concentration.  Philosophy was the perfect degree for further graduate studies in theology.  Because philosophy deals so much with language and interpretation, it is excellent preparation for analyzing religious texts and provides the necessary groundwork for any serious study of theology.

                Writing skills and analyzing what I read.

 

25.           In what ways has your philosophy degree contributed to your quality of life, either positively or negatively?

                As I continue reading, I am able to discern an author’s argument, analyze it and construct my own informed opinions and apply them to everyday decisions.

                As mentioned previously, I believe my study of philosophy has taught me to look at all sides of an argument.  In any conflict I am involved in (personal or professional) I try to use this skill to evaluate the situation.  Many times I have been able to resolve conflicts in a positive manner thanks to this training.

                Aside from making my job easier to deal with, I enjoy the introductions I received to the world’s greatest texts on thought and action.  I still actively read Philosophical texts and enjoy translating them into laymen’s terms for the “uninitiated.”  Maybe it was Woody Allen who said, “Most degrees confuse people for the first few years after college, but Philosophy messes you up for the rest of your life.”

                Both positively and negatively, I find myself without the ability to remain comfortable and confident in any current opinion or belief, which tends to unsettle me and upset others.

                I have a few potential opportunities which I would not have had were it not for the philosophy degree.  I can understand things that I would not before.  I now have useful resources through professors and other alumni at West Georgia.  A degree in general grants you a certain small amount of respect.  I understand myself more and am better able to deal with an unsatisfactory world and all of its inadequacy.  On the negative, philosophers can expect to be mocked frequently.

                I have accomplished and continue to accomplish a diversity of goals.

                It helps me understand others and their opinions so it has enhanced all of my relationships.  It also helps me explain myself clearly so others can understand me.

                It’s hard to say.  I never stop thinking, I learned that from my professors.  Some days that’s an asset and some dys it’s more of a detriment.  I’m glad to be in a Master’s program.  My philosophy degree has given me a life-long love of learning (and fantastic alliteration skills!) that I cherish every day.

                Philosophy taught me not to just take things as they appear without first thinking about them.

                Positively, I don’t feel like I passively accept things as they come to me.  I approach the world in a more critical, open posture.  Negatively, perhaps this results in being hypercritical.  I have become pretty skeptical about language, truth claims, etc.

                This is a difficult question, mainly due to the terms positive and negative.  Generally speaking, I’d say positive.  However, philosophy has made me aware, or, rather, allowed me the ability to articulate certain existential feelings I’ve always had. Whether that’s a good or bad thing, I’m not sure, but I’m grateful to have studied the people that have come before me, enabling me to broaden and narrow my dispositions concerning life.

 

26.           What advice would you like to share with current Philosophy majors?

                Be patient!

                Don’t look at philosophy as a class, or mere knowledge to be acquired.  This is about your life, the horizons you’ll view, who you’ll become, what you’re becoming, and most importantly, how you choose to be.

                Enjoy it and focus on absorbing as much information as possible while still forming your own understanding and ideas.  While you need to make decent grades, the things that you learn and the various methods of comprehending the world and beyond that you will form and perfect will be valuable to you always.

                I would tell current philosophy majors not to take for granted the readings and discussion that are required of them.  Cherish the resources that are available to you and embrace every bit of knowledge that you can, it will help you down the road because lessons learned in a philosophy class are lessons that will never be irrelevant.

                If some girl you’re in love with says to you, “Why don’t I go to Grad school first and you make money so that I can make more with my Master’s Degree and support you when you go back,” accept the fact that life will happen and you won’t go back for a LONG time and regret falling for that line every day.

                Learn how to solve problems, people life to pay for solutions to difficult questions.

                Learn to dwell within uncertainty, as much as is humanly possible, because your already on the way there.

                My advice would be to be creative in how you apply philosophy.  For example, my degree in philosophy has been very useful in my career as a computer programmer.  The skills that are taught in the course of obtaining a philosophy degree can be applied to almost any field with great success. Do not limit yourself.

                Study philosophy but make sure you study some things that will help you get a job as well.  And if you want to go to graduate school, start right after graduation.  It only gets harder the longer you wait.

                Take ethics early, modern late.

                There are people in your life (family, friends, etc) that won’t understand why you’re pursuing philosophy.  I was teased all the time because I was getting a degree in thinking and who needs that?  My answer: the world needs that.  Someone has to think, and if you can get paid to do it that’s even better.  The truth is that philosophy can be a slippery slope and you can get lost in your own head with the knowledge you acquire, make sure you really love it and if you do, then stay with it.  You’ll spend the rest of your life happy with your choice, I know I do.


 

Appendix B

Results of Advising Survey 2005, 2007

 

Results of the Philosophy Advising Survey used Fall 2005 are as follows:

 

On a scale of 1 to5, with 1 meaning ‘never’ and 5 meaning ‘always,’ answer each of the following questions: (There were 7 respondents)

 

1.             My advisor is available for advising sessions.

                5=71%

                4=14%

                3=14%

 

2.             My advisor has an understanding of core requirements.

                5=71%

                4=14%

                3=0%

                2=14%

 

3.             My advisor has an understanding of major requirements.

                5=57%

                4=43%

 

4.             My advisor has an understanding of minor requirements.

                5=43%

                4=43%

                3=14%

 

5.             My advisor is willing to discuss my course options.

                5=86%

                4=0%

                3=14%

 

6.             My advisor often makes suggestions about the courses that I should take.

                5=43%

                4=43%

                3=0%

                2=14%

 

7.             My advisor answers questions that I have regarding graduation requirements.

                5=57%

                4=43%

 

8.             My advisor is generally helpful

                5=86%

                4=14%

 

Comments: 

Advising should be given on a more individualized basis, meaning, from the student’s transcript and areas of interest, the advisor should glean the best arrangement of classes for that particular student.  Advising should not be as general as “this is what the program requires, therefore you must take this at this time.”

 

I’ve never had any problems with my advisement.  In fact my advisor is superb.  This semester it was impossible for us to meet due to time conflicts and so my advisor took the time for an email advisement which was very convenient for me.  That’s dedication.

 

The Philosophy Program as a whole has always been very helpful with any questions about graduation or advisement.  They make an effort to ensure their students will be advised and graduate on time.

 

My advising experience has always been very positive and always helpful.  My advisor rocks the house.

 

There was recently a snafu regarding the number of Philosophy elective classes needed.  This is the only complaint I have.

 

 

Results of the Philosophy Advising survey used Fall 2007 are as follows:

(19 respondents)

 

1.             Will you graduate with a philosophy degree within four years from when you enrolled in college?

                Yes=21%

                No=79%

 

2.             If you will not graduate within four years, what is the reason for needing more than four years to complete your degree?

               

                Waited to declare major-5%

                Did not take 15 hours each semester-17%

                Double major-39%

                Took time off for personal reasons-17%

                Was a transfer student-5%

                Language requirement-5%

                Scheduling difficulties (classes not offered)-5%

                Other-5%

 

3.             Are there any courses within the Philosophy Program currently required for your major that you think should not be required.

                No-84%

                FORL-16%

 

4.             Are there any classes that are not currently required within the Philosophy Program that you think ought to be?

                No-79%

                Psychology-5%

                Existentialism-5%

                Other-11%

 

5.             Are there courses that you would like to have offered within the Philosophy Program that are currently not offered?

                No-57%

                Epistemology-5%

                Ancient and Medieval should be separated-5%

                More Law-5%

                Christian Theology-5%

                Singular Philosopher-9%

                Philosophy of Language-5%

                Feminist Philosophy-5%

                Other-5%

 

6.             Has the advising you have received been adequate in helping you to meet requirements, make progress toward your degree and graduate in a timely manner?

                Yes-100%

 

7.             What is the main strength of the Philosophy Program?

                Professors-68%

                Critical Thinking-5%

                Small Group-11%

                Teaches how to learn and read-5%

                No answer-5%

                Communal Learning-5%

 

8.             What is the main weakness of the Philosophy Program?

                Not enough Professors-43%

                Nothing-13%

                Not enough classes offered-26%

                No answer-4%

                Too small-4%

                Not enough pre-requisites for upper-division courses-4%

                Not enough summer classes offered-4%


Appendix C

Results of Exit Survey 2004-2008

 

On a scale of 1-10 with 1 meaning “not at all” and 10 meaning “a great deal” how well has the Philosophy Program met the following goals:

 

 

1.             To provide a high quality curriculum that emphasizes disciplinary rigor and ensures the transmission of a unique method of inquiry.

 

10=4                                        14%

9=7                                          25%

8=10                                        36%

7=4                                          14%

6=2                                          7%

5=0                                          0%

4=1                                          4%

28                                            100%

 

 

2.             To provide high quality instruction that promotes the development of effectiveness in communication, critical and independent thinking, problem solving, and the use of technology.

 

10=4                                        14%

9=10                                        36%

8=8                                          29%

7=3                                          11%

6=2                                          7%

5=1                                          3.5%

28                                            100.5%

 

 

3.             To promote student research, scholarship, and creative endeavors which enhance an understanding of philosophical argumentation and prepare our students for success in the academic and workplace environment.

 

10=10                                      36%

9=8                                          29%

8=2                                          7%

7=6                                          21%

6=1                                          3.5%

5=1                                          3.5%

28                                            100%

 

 

4.             To affirm the equal dignity of each person by valuing cultural, ethnic, racial, and gender diversity.

 

10=10                                      36%

9=6                                          21%

8=6                                          21%

7=1                                          3.5%

6=2                                          7%

5=1                                          3.5%

4=1                                          3.5%

3=0                                          0%

2=1                                          3.5%

28                                            99%

 

 

5.             What would you consider to be the strengths of the Philosophy Program?

 

Diversity of approaches=12

The faculty=12

Teaching communication skills=1

Teaching critical reading/thinking skills=2

Community=3

Promotion of student scholarship=2

Small Program=1

It’s fun=1

Faculty/student interaction=4

 

 

a) The wide range of exposure to different fields, time periods, and overall approaches to Philosophical issues given in this department constitutes one of its greatest strengths.  In being exposed to not only the history of philosophy but being asked to take up someone like Plato in a critical way.  Philosophy was displayed as something you do and are instead of just something you study.

 

b) The faculty!!  The faculty of the Philosophy Program is the greatest strength of the Program, with their vast knowledge of all aspects in philosophy and their willingness to help all individuals succeed.  They are mentors and leaders.

 

c) This Philosophy department has met, with exceptional quality, goals 1 and 2.  The instructors encourage students to further enhance their communication skills both linguistically and in writing.

 

d) The Program is divers and therefore offers a focus to any and all approaching students.  The professors are incredibly well versed in the subjects and capable of explaining ideas clearly and effectively.  There is a high degree of interaction among majors, as well as encouragement from the professors for active participation in campus philosophical activities, and outside of campus in presentations and paper submissions.

 

e) The professors.  Their passion for teaching is magnificent.

 

f) The fact that the program is smallness of the program and the fact that the classes are small.  This allows for relationships between professors and students to be built easier which is very helpful towards learning.  The teachers of the program are the other strength of the program.  Dr. Lane and Dr. Donohoe are very good at making the topics they teach make sense and also at making them fun and exciting.

 

g) Donohoe, Alberg.  Challenging!  I always feel dumb and intelligent all within the span of one class hour.

 

h) The vast majority of the teachers have a deep love of their profession and are extremely effective in teaching.  The availability of the teachers also gives the program a feel of friendship between teacher and student that I find helpful in being able to do my best work.

 

i) The variety of teachers that specialize in different areas of philosophy such as analytical, existentialism, etc.

 

j) This program is fun and inviting.  It keeps people who aren’t majors signing up for philosophy classes.

 

k) The diversity of the professors—each with his or her own area of expertise.

 

l) Faculty members are close to students.  Some of them encourage students to ask questions, attend meetings, etc.

 

m) A variety of teachers.  The Philosophy Program teachers are different which makes each class different as well as interesting.

 

n) Well-balanced between Continental and analytic, generally makes material interesting.  WE study a broad range of philosophies.

 

o) For being small, it has a good variety of different perspectives in philosophy.  My intro classes in ethics and philosophy were the reasons I declared my major.  I never ventured far from Dr. Donohoe’s classes (I’ve only taken Lane once and Alberg once) but I feel thoroughly prepared and informed from my classes on the ‘Continental’ side.

 

p) Availability of professors and wide variety of courses.

 

q) The amount of courses dealing with a range of different philosophical approaches.  Diverse views from the professors.

 

r) The variety of teaching methods.  Each teacher teaches differently.

 

s) Personal environment, professors who actually care, who really want to help, and who we can idolize in a not-joking way.

 

t) The open communication between the professors and the students and opportunities for further study outside the classroom.

 

u) The range of choices in classes, the emphasis on reading a text critically, the faculty’s commitment to the success of the student.

 

v) The open mindedness of the professors in class.  Sometimes class reading bring up other philosophical questions and the professors are always ready to help.  This allows us to gain knowledge in subjects of philosophy that are not offered.

 

w) The diversity of the philosophy program and their offered areas of study in philosophy.  The one-on-one factor that plays a role in a more qualitative students-teacher interaction that is important for this particular major.

 

x) Interesting classes and subject material.  Professors very proficient in their fields.  A sense of camaraderie amongst the students.

 

y) The strengths are that the program encourages the students to think critically.  That is going to be useful in the future.

 

z) The fact that philosophy challenges the minds way of thinking.

 

aa) The professors seem truly interested in the students.

 

bb) All the professors are very welcoming and helpful.

 

 

6.             What would you consider to be the weaknesses of the Philosophy Program?

 

Need more interdisciplinary communication=1

Limited course offerings=12

Need to explain how to write a philosophy paper=1

Needs more focused direction=1

Size of introductory courses=1

Too Continental=1

Introductory courses=1

Some of the Faculty/temporary faculty=3

Ethnic/cultural diversity=1

Need more professors=3

Need better advising=1

 

a) Although there is a wide range of Philosophical approaches—from Analytic and Symbolic Logic to Phenomenology and Hermeneutics, form Ancient to Modern, etc.—there could still be more interdisciplinary communication that keeps the ‘alternative viewpoints’ open.  That is, most classes begin with saying how some other time period, approach, etc. got things wrong and where this one goes right.  Although the questionability and demand to think through the problems remains, there does seem to be a sense of easy dismissal in terms of what Modern Philosophy rejects, for instance.

 

b)At first thought of this question I was going to say that the weakness of the Philosophy Program is, as far as I knew it, the small number of disciplines covered relative to philosophy as a whole, but after a second thought I realize that the philosophy program was limited by being ‘under the wing’ of the English Department.  The Philosophy Program could not have done any better with the resources it had available.

 

c) the department could explain what style of writing is conducive to a great philosophy paper.

 

d) It is still to small.  There are some classes that are only offered every two years, which should be offered more frequently.  Also the program could use better direction.  Each focus, pre-law, religion, etc. should be more full.  I would like to see philosophy of law/criminal justice, logic, and other law related classes offered every semester, and the same with religion courses.  Often students have a difficult time enrolling in classes to fulfill their study program.

 

e) The bias towards a Continental style of philosophy.  Also, the size of introductory classes is unacceptable.  A non-lecture style of class is also very popular and very annoying.

 

f) The smallness of the program makes it so that there is not as much a variety of classes as there could be.  This is all I can think of.

 

g) Intro classes!  Including critical thinking—except for Donohoe, that I know of, the intro classes are not challenging or mind-blowing in the way that philosophy can be.

 

h) Some of the professors are far less effective than others.  The method of the better professors can’t make up for the lack of quality of an individual professor.

 

i) Not enough ethnic, cultural diversity in the staff such as Spanish, Black, etc. All the staff looks alike.

 

j) The main weakness of the program is in its lack of depth.  I would like to see more upper-level classes that go into one or two philosopher’s entire philosophies.

 

k) possible disunity because of extreme diversity.

 

l) Lack of understanding the areas outside of philosophy.  For example, we need to know evidence of evolution BEFORE we talk about the issue of creationism in Religion class.  Another example is that some faculty members are careless about sending proprietary Microsoft Word documents on e-mail, which might undermine free flow of ideas.

 

m) Need to offer more classes each semester.  More logic classes would be good.

 

n) Professors have a very hard time being unbiased some of the time.  This can be a strength and a weakness.  Sometimes there (in certain classes) is so much material that there isn’t time to interact with and talk about the material.

 

o) The religion dept. hopefully will strengthen in the future.  I had a few interim professors here in the last year or so who unfortunately did not give me much inspiration or much challenge intellectually.

 

p) A major weakness is the size of the program.  However, only so many individuals are interested in philosophy.

 

q) Not enough Eastern Philosophy.  Way too many courses that were only MWF.  I wish there were more exploratory classes along the lines of Philosophy of Literature and Film.  More primary source readings.

 

r) The lack of classes available, and a need for more teachers and more upper level classes offered during the summer.

 

s) Lack of budget for professors, too many pre-law kids, too many Friday afternoon classes.

 

t) more teachers!

 

u) Some of the classes required for the major were not of interest to me.

 

v) The classes are not real wide.  There are not a lot of different class options and the ones that are taught each semester have to be taken since there are not a lot of philosophy classes taught.

 

w) A limited amount of professors.  2 or 3 more would seem perfect for having more options for classes.  At the same time though, the 4 professors seem to offer the maximum of classes that is in their ability to teach or for anybody that is.

 

x) Too limited a selection of classes.  I basically had to take most of what was offered.

 

y) I understand that we are all adults but the program could do better with helping students make better choices about which courses to select.

 

z) Philosophy at West GA needs to have more of a variety of philosophers to study.

 

aa) I don’t feel prepared to graduate, even though I am doing so very soon.  I thought senior seminar would prepare me more for this by tying everything together that I had learned thus far, but so far I don’t feel like it has.  IT is a great class, but just feels like every other philosophy class.

 

bb) When I first started taking philosophy of religion courses they were all taught by visiting professors.  Now that I have come to the end of my studies here, I realize how much many of these past professors did not go over.

 

 

7.             Based upon the information provided in Question 6 (if any), what improvements would you suggest?

 

More analytic philosophy=1

Closer ties to English=1

Hire more faculty=8

None=2

More ethnic diversity within faculty=1

More indepth/different classes=7

Encourage more interaction=2

 

a) If this is possible, professors that are immersed in a certain time period or approach could be present in one way or another during one or some of the class periods.  This could be a bodily presence, a brief, written statement, or something along those lines.  What is crucial is having someone who is deeply enfolded in that particular approach or time period “there” to defend and clarify what a particular thinker, epoch, etc. thought and said.

 

b) This might sound cliché, with regard to this question, but…none.

 

c) The Philosophy department should work more closely with the English department.

 

d) See 6.

 

e) Have more professors of the analytic style of philosophy.  And please get away from the idea that a discussion class is useful.  Lectures are much more informative.

 

f) It should become a department and get more money to hire a few more professors.

 

g) All classes read the philosophers themselves!  It’s Essential!

 

h) Make sure the teachers in the department are effective.  Not all students will like the same teacher, but if all students find an individual to be ineffective, get rid of her.

 

i) A Black person; a Asian, an Spanish.  So that all people will be able to see young and old models as well as a well rounded group of people.

 

j) More seasoned professors and more indepth classes.

 

k) none, disunity is bound to happen.  To my knowledge no professor ever held a grudge.  That’s a positive thing.

 

l) scientific issues or technical legal issues might well be covered in a philosophy class.

 

m) Maybe hire an extra teacher.  Teach more variety of classes.

 

n) Always encourage interaction, and make room for it.  Being unbiased in harder…Professor are unbiased a lot of the time.

 

o) Religion professors with more knowledge of Asian/Western religion.

 

p) It’s difficult to interest people in philosophy, so I’m unsure.  Perhaps more public functions.  The lunches were nice this semester.

 

q) I would like to see more classes even though it is not the fault of the philosophy program because they simply don’t have the resources for more classes.

 

r) More teachers, more upper-level classes and more summer classes.

 

s) Money, getting rid of people in that program who can’t or won’t honestly consider things, and earlier classes or relocating half the department to Carrollton.

 

t) Not really sure…

 

u)

 

v) Either more professors or more opportunities to do studies in other areas.  The Program is not big but there are a lot of fields I wish I could have studied in my philosophy work.

 

w) Just a couple more professors.

 

x) Hire more professors.

 

y)

 

z) Taking a poll on what the students or who the students would like to study.

 

aa) Teachers of senior seminar should utilize the entire discipline rather than focusing on “their” philosopher.

 

bb) Well, the department has a more permanent religion professor, which helps.  However, it would be great to have a wider variety of philosophy professors.

 

 

*8.           What are your plans for after graduation (e.g. job, graduate school, etc.)?

 

Graduate school (unspecified)=3

Graduate school in philosophy=1

Get a job=3

No idea=2

Work for awhile, then go back to grad school=2

Law school=1

 

*9.           What skills do you think you have acquired in the Philosophy Program that you will be able to use in your life after graduation?

 

Critical Thinking skills=8

Ability to ask questions=2

Self-awareness=1

Ability to recognize multiple perspectives=2

Logic=1

Analytical skills=3

Communication skills=5

Organization skills=1

Reading comprehension=1

Argumentation skills=1

Research skills=1

 

a) The critical thinking skills, the ability and willingness to take up multiple perspectives when looking at an issue, the recognition of the importance of what question you are asking and the way you ask as to the direction of the inquiry, and a general sense of reflecting on myself along with the world and tradition I inhabit.

 

b) With regard to everything that I learned in the Philosophy Program, I would need the space of an entire novel to discuss this, but to cover the basics, I learned how to analyze all problems that I encounter to the fullest extent so that I can use reasoning skills that I learned to logically deduce the best possible solution.  I also learned great communication skills that will help me succeed.

 

c) an ability to question myself and others as well as a broader range of knowledge.

 

d) the capacity to think, really think.

 

e) communication, organization, the ability to think about problems rationally, think more broadly about subjects and real-world events.

 

f) Critical thinking skills, communication skills, ability to assess arguments, articulation of ideas.

 

g) My reading comprehension has gotten much better.  My critical thinking skills have also improved drastically.

 

h) The skills are greatly important for my self-fulfillment and also for the preparation for grad school.  Better writing skills, more intelligible argumentation and more interest in philosophy in general.

 

i) Critical thinking.  Being able to analyze a given situation for all its worth.  An appreciation for learning, reading.  An appreciation for different ways of thinking.

 

j) Being able to critically analyze.

 

k) Critical thinking—I just hope I can get a job with this degree.

 

l) I have acquired better writing skills, as well as better researching skills that will be very helpful in graduate school.

 

 

10.           If there was a faculty member who made significant contributions to your course of study and you would like to mention her or him for purposes of recognition, please provide her or his name. 

 

a) In general, the combination of Dr. Lane and Dr. Donohoe has had the most influence on me.  There vastly differing approaches, interests, and general way towards Philosophy was fundamental to my experience.  The fact that I was exposed to both of their methods and ways of thinking, that I had to think through them and question myself gave me fruitful, albeit uncertain, foundations.

 

b) From my introduction into the Philosophy Program to my conclusion by graduating from it, Dr. Robert Lane was a great mentor to me and I looked up to him.  If I ever needed anything, even things outside of Philosophy, I could go to him and he would be so willing to help me.  I admire him and commend him for being such a great mentor to me.  Thank you Dr. Robert Lane.  I extend a “thank you” to the rest of the faculty of the Philosophy Program as well.

 

c) I was inspired in one way or another by every faculty member here.  From Dr. Alberg I was encouraged to continue to research Ancient and Medieval philosophical thinking.  I enjoyed being exposed to the diverse thought and am glad we did not just stick to the Greeks. From Dr. Lane I learned how grueling the Philosophical writing process can be and am a better writer for it.  Last but certainly not least, Dr. Donohoe has been an inspiration to the upmost.  She has encouraged me to continue writing and has inspired my interest into many topics that can be combined with Philosophy.  This semester with her has been truly enlightening.  I am pleased to call her my undergraduate mentor.

 

d) Dr. Lane, Dr. Donohoe.  Each of these professors have made my experience here more full and more enjoyable.  They have in depth knowledge of the material and have shown an interest in my post-graduation success.

 

e) Dr. Robert Lane.  I would have to write an essay to describe his accomplishments, but simply put he has changed my life.

 

f) Dr. Lane, Dr. Donohoe.  Dr. Lane should get tenure.

 

g) Alberg, Donohoe.  Again, they’ve changed my thoughts on thought.

 

h) Dr. Lane has been the best professor I’ve had.  He has made me the best student I could be in his classes and I look to him not only as a teacher, but as a friend.

 

i) Dr. Auble has inspired me since day one at this university.  His skills in communication and music came across as a love of philosophy.

 

j) Dr. Donohoe is brilliant and a great professor.  Dr. Lane is the best teacher I have ever had!  Dr. Alberg is always willing to help out a student as much as he/she needs.

 

k) Dr. Robert Lane and Dr. Janet Donohoe.  I will be forever in debt to them, whether they know it or not.

 

l) Dr. Robert Lane, my advisor, helped me a lot in answering questions in email, preparing letters of recommendation, suggesting reading materials, etc.

 

m) All of the faculty members are great.

 

n) They all did…Dr. Lane helped develop my logical thinking and argument skills, Dr. Donohoe showed me the world of Continental Philosophy, and Dr. Alberg taught me a lot about the classical philosophers.

 

o) Dr. Donohoe

 

p) Each professor has contributed in my philosophical thought.  I was most influenced by Professor Donohoe.  I have a greater affinity toward Continental thought, so this clearly aided.

 

q) Dr. Robert Lane, Dr. Janet Donohoe, Dr. Jay Alberg in no particular order of influence.

 

r) Dr. Donohoe and Dr. Alberg both go above and beyond to make sure we enjoy as well learn things in classes.

 

s) All of you have done so much for me, from so many different perspectives.  I couldn’t give a full answer to this here.

 

t) Donohoe, Lane, Tietjen; they’re like superheroes and Alberg is like Charlie from Charlie’s Angels…(no really, each one has had an impact and has helped fuel my love for philosophy)

 

u) Dr .Donohoe

 

v) Dr. Tietjen

 

w) I couldn’t honestly list one name because they all have had a great impact upon me and my course of study.

 

x) Tietjen, Donohoe

 

y) Mark Tietjen, was a great influence on my success because he truly has a passion for philosophy and the success of his students.  He was the only philosophy professor that REALLY worked with me and understood my struggles with being a philosophy major.

 

z) Dr. Lane and Dr. Tietjen.  Even though they are very different in their styles of teaching, they both are great at what they do and are genuinely interested in their students and the study of philosophy.

 

aa) I really liked Dr. Manlowe even though she no longer teaches here (which is probably good since she wasn’t the best lecturer), however outside of lecture she was a wonderful help.  I also really enjoyed both Dr. Lane and Dr. Alberg.

 

 

11.           Additional information you would like to provide.

 

a) I have been a wayward traveler when it comes to college.  I attended Kansas State, East Carolina and here.  It is the Philosophy Professors here that kept me coming back to UWG semester after semester.  I didn’t want to quit for them too (like I had so many times for other people) and now I can say I didn’t quite.  Instead, I made it.  I made it and did better here than anywhere else.

 

b) In order for this University to become more diverse, there have to be the intentional desire and willingness to reach out in areas where Asians, Blacks, and Spanish are located.  We must go and get the talent and bring it here, not to expect for the talent to come here.

 

c) Use primary texts.  Don’t make professors teach classes outside of their specialization!  Split classes like existentialism, phenomenology, and American Phil., and Modern phil. (etc) into two semesters so we can learn more about each philosopher.  Hist. of phil. And science should be required for philosophy major.

 

d) I dislike that such an important discipline is only a program and not a department.  I also think it’s silly to combine English and Philosophy.  History would be a better choice. Of course, I can’t blame the program for those decisions and I don’t.  The encouragement I was given to pursue my career was phenomenal and I consider myself truly lucky to have been able to participate in such a wonderful program.

 

e) Don’t do drugs.

 

f) Best five years of my life!

 

g) It’s good to see the profs. Working os hard to make a quality program, it makes it even more worthwhile to be a part of.

 

h) After spending my years her eat WGA, my decision to be a phil. Major has been the most surest and important decision I have made.

 

 

*12.         Please give a thoughtful evaluation of your philosophy program.

a) I am glad to see that the program is progressing

 

b) This program is overall, quite incredible.  Each professor shows a true passion for their students success and engagement with the material.  They all set aside time for personal assistance and offer advice on program related topics as needed.

 

c) Overall I think the program is excellent.  With department status and another professor or two it could be great.  All of the professor though are absolutely wonderful.

 

d) This program is the best thing that ever happened to me.  It gave me an interest in a discipline that I have come to love and it has helped me grow as a person and a thinker.  The program is great and it allows individuals to learn and grow by giving them knowledge that leads them to thinking harder about many different things.

 

e) I believe it has helped me prepare as best I can for my career goal of being a lawyer, not merely teaching what to think, but rather how to think has been key.

 

f) More classes on Religion is needed.

 

g) I enjoyed all of my classes but I feel like my knowledge lacks the depth I will need for graduate school.

 

h) It’s my passion.  I learned so much and am grateful that at such a small institution with such a small philosophy program I found a wealth of knowledge. 

 

i) There are a lot of interesting philosophical issues that really matter.  Thinking about the meaning of Copenhagen Consensus would be more important than Plato’s Crito, for example.  Dealing with new philosophical issues (e.g. human cloning) might be considered more.

 

j) Our Philosophy Program is challenging and interesting.

 

k) I like it.  I learned a lot and want to continue studying philosophy.  See 5,6,7

 

l) I am very happy with the small but personal education.  I was very happy with the amount of primary texts that I grappled with (despite how hard they were).  At the same time I enjoyed the format of the political philosophy course.  I might not have been a philosophy major if not for Dr. Donohoe.

 

m) I enjoyed the professors and classes offered, but I wish there were more courses offered such as metaphysics, philosophy of language, semiotics, etc.

 

n) Philosophy drew me in from the start and allowed for a much different academic experience.  I was used to the simple quiz/test format like in the sciences/mathematics sphere.  Overall it was AWESOME!!!

 

 

* These questions were not asked on all of the surveys since we changed the survey in 2007.


 

Appendix D

Aspirational and Comparator Peer Institutional Data

 

 

Aspirational Peers

Institution

Department

#  T/TE faculty

# majors

# lower-division seats/semester**

# upper-division seats/semester**

faculty teaching load

Appalachian State U

Phil & Relig

7

24

810

145

3-3

James Madison U

Phil & Relig

13

71

910

286

3-3

Montclair State

Phil & Relig

6

35

400

150

3-3

U of Northern Iowa

Phil & Relig

4

28

245

255

3-3

UNC Wilmington

Phil & Relig

8

35

800

110

3-3

West Chester U-PA

Phil

6

59

630

120

4-4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

UWG

Eng & Phil

3

57

260

150

3-3

**These are very rough estimates based on often incomplete or incomparable data.

 

 

Comparator Peers

 

Institution

Department

#  T/TE faculty

# majors

# lower-division seats/semester**

# upper-division seats/semester**

faculty teaching load

Bridgewater State

Phil

7

30

735

140

4-4

Central Washington U

Phil & Relig

7

60

315

49

3-3

East Stroudsburg U PA

Phil & Relig

5

13

600

100

4-4

Edinboro U of PA

Phil

4

14

588

96

4-4

Jacksonville State U

Psych & Phil

XXX

XXX

XXX

XXX

XXX

Kutztown U of PA

Phil

7

30

550

180

4-4

Minnesota State Mankato

Phil

6

15

81

15

4-4

Northeastern State U

No Phil

XXX

XXX

XXX

XXX

XXX

Saginaw Valley State

Phil

5

N/A

N/A

N/A

3-4

Southeastern Louisiana U

No Phil

XXX

XXX

XXX

XXX

XXX

University of Central MO

Eng & Phil

3.5

10

385

75

4-4

Southeast Missouri State

PoliSci, Phil & Relig

3

37

350

220

4-4

U Central Oklahoma

Humanities & Phil

4

30-35

1300

189

4-4

U Wisconsin-Whitewater

Phil & Relig

4

0

220

45

4-4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Appendix E

Senior Outcomes Assessment Form

 

 

Student Name: _________________________________________________________________

 

Date of Assessment:__________________

 

Assessor:______________________________________________________________________

 

Rate the student’s ability to do the following on a scale of 1 to 5.

1=student fails at this task

2=student is below average at this task

3=student is average at this task

4=student is above average at this task

5=student excels at this task

 

 

1.             Student can discuss the general historical development of the discipline of philosophy.

 

Rating: ____ Comments:

 

 

 

 

2.             Student can discuss three major historical figures of philosophy.

 

Rating:____ Comments:

 

 

 

 

3.             Student can ask philosophical questions and differentiate their types.

 

Rating: ____ Comments:

 

 

 

 

4.             Student can incorporate a philosophical position in oral and written communications.

 

Rating: ____ Comments:

 

 

 

 

5.             Student can critically outline and analyze a philosophical question.

 

Rating: ____ Comments:

 

 

 

 

6.             Student exhibits robust critical thinking skills.

Rating:____ Comments:

Appendix F

New Program Goals, Objectives, and Outcomes

 

 

Program Goal 1: Curriculum and Instruction

To provide a broad curriculum encompassing a variety of philosophical methods and traditions, as well as high quality instruction employing both traditional and emerging pedagogical techniques, such that students who complete the B.A. in philosophy possess a core body of philosophical knowledge and skills.

 

Objectives

·        To maintain class sizes that allow for quality faculty-student interactions.

·        To require extensive, written results of philosophical research in upper-division courses.

·        To require oral presentations of philosophical research in select courses.

·        To incorporate the use of new media in select courses.

·        To assess the curriculum on an annual basis with a view to improving it whenever and however possible.

 

Outcomes

Every student graduating with a B.A. in philosophy will be able to:

·        discuss the general historical development of the discipline of philosophy; 

·        discuss three major historical figures of philosophy;

·        ask philosophical questions and differentiate their types;

·        incorporate a philosophical position in oral and written communications;

·        critically outline and analyze philosophical issues;

·        exhibit critical thinking skills.

 

 

Program Goal 2: Progression, Graduation, and Professional Preparation

To ensure that students progress toward their degrees at a satisfactory pace and that they graduate within a reasonable period of time.

 

Objectives

·        To advise every philosophy major once per semester to ensure appropriate selection of courses.

·        To offer required courses with sufficient frequency to allow students to graduate within a reasonable period of time.

·        To provide a variety of opportunities for extra-curricular philosophical activity, including student-driven events and organizations.

·        To assist students in identifying the skills they have acquired in order to market themselves in academic and workplace environments.

 

Outcomes

·        The graduation rates of philosophy majors will be consistent with or exceed those of the institution.

·        By the time that he or she graduates from the institution, each philosophy major will complete a senior portfolio containing evidence of his or her professional preparation.

 

 

Goal 3: Student Research

To encourage student research and other creative endeavors that enhance an understanding of philosophical argumentation and prepare students for success in academic and workplace environments.

 

Objectives

·        To assist students with individual research projects.

·        To encourage students to participate in professional meetings and scholarly competitions.

 

Outcomes 

·        Some philosophy majors will participate in scholarly activities other than those required by their course work (Honor’s theses, presentations at student conferences, submissions to undergraduate philosophy journals, etc.)

 

 

Goal 4: Professional Development of Faculty

To promote professional development by supporting faculty research and other professional activities.

 

Objectives

·        To fund faculty participation in professional meetings.

·        To strengthen faculty members’ ability to obtain internal and external funding for other scholarly activities.

·        To facilitate reassigned time for research and paid research leave.

 

Outcomes

·        Faculty will make appropriate progress through ranks by meeting or exceeding requirements for the professional development necessary for promotion.

·        Faculty will demonstrate consistent productivity in annual reports.

 


 

 

 

Appendix G

Philosophy Program Retention Data

 

 

 

Aug

Sept

Oct

Nov

Dec

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

AVG
Majors

Graduates
(Dec-May-July)

subtotal

Lost from
UWG

Retention rate

 

 

2009-10

 

 

 

56

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2008-09

56

58

 

59

59

55

60

59

62

58

 

63

58.9

11

47.9

12

75%

2007-08

53

 

56

55

 

48

50

50

53

 

 

52

52.1

3

49.1

13

74%

2006-07

46

48

48

55

 

54

57

 

58

57

 

57

53.3

6

47.3

10

79%

2005-06

33

 

 

32

42

38

38

 

48

46

48

 

40.6

4

36.6

9

75%

 

 


 

 

Appendix H

Notes from Assessment Meetings Fall 2009

 

Philosophy Program ASSESSMENT Meeting

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

12:00 noon

 

 

1.         Review of Alumni Survey:        

Any trends?  No students were unemployed at the point of filling out the survey.  Some students may have been underemployed.  A recurring comment from those surveyed indicates that they see a need for more philosophy faculty.  It is important to keep in mind that those surveyed all came through the program when we had more faculty that we have currently at yet they still saw the small number of faculty as a drawback to the program.

                                     

Any possible action needed?  This is more evidence that the philosophy faculty need to continue to make arguments to the administration that we need to replace the faculty lines we lost in the 2004-2005 year and need to argue for additional faculty lines as well.

 

 

2.         Review of Advising Survey:      

Any trends?  Mandatory advising seems to have worked pretty well.  The weaknesses identified have to do with resources—desire for more course offerings and different course offerings.  Repeatedly students suggest that there are not enough faculty.

 

Any possible action needed?  See above.  We need to argue for more faculty.  We also discussed the possibility of putting into place a template of courses for all four years to assist students in planning ahead and making timely progress towards graduation and to assist faculty in advising students.

 

 

3.         Review of Exit Survey: 

Any trends?  Again, the primary weakness identified is the small number of philosophy faculty.  Whereas the primary strength is identified as the faculty.  So, we need more of  us!

 

Any possible action needed?  We need to focus on keeping the faculty/student ratio at or below current levels.  We need to argue for more faculty.

 

           

4.         Review of Aspirational and Comparative Peer Information:       

Any trends?  We are already at or above the levels of our aspirational peers in terms of the faculty/student ratio.  The fact is, we have fewer faculty than all of our aspirational peer institutions, but more majors than all but 2 of them.  We are teaching as many students in our upper-division courses as several of the institutions that have many more faculty than we have.

 

Any possible action needed?  Same old story, argue for more faculty lines.

 

 

Philosophy Program ASSESSMENT Meeting

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

12:00 noon

 

 

1.         Review of Retention and Graduation Data:       

Comparison of Philosophy with UWG:  Our retention rate within the major is on average 75% making us comparable to the university as a whole.

 

Any possible action needed?  Continue working on our advising to ensure students are making adequate progress toward graduation.  Keep the faculty/student ratio within acceptable limits to make students feel connected to the program and eager to succeed.

 

 

2.         Review of Program Goals and Objectives:

Possible changes?  Completely rework the Program Goals and Objectives.  Draft provided by Dr. Lane.  Reviewed, revised and accepted by the whole.

 

 

3.         Review of Proposed Senior Outcomes Assessment Form:

Changes?  In light of changes to the program goals and learning outcomes, the senior outcomes assessment will have to be reworked.  We decided that the assessment will take place each fall semester for all students enrolled in the senior seminar.  The assessor will be whichever professor is teaching senior seminar.  Students will not be advised to study for this assessment since it is really an assessment of us and not them.  Students will be assessed both in conversation with the professor, but also through the written work submitted for a grade for senior seminar.  The assessment will in no way effect the student’s grade in senior seminar.

 

4.         Review of Assessment Plan

Changes?  Various appendices will be added to the assessment plan including all data that has been reviewed as well as items that have been the content of our discussions here.  The assessment plan will be sent to both the chair of the English and Philosophy department as well as to the Associate Dean for the Humanities for their own information about ways in which we are assessing and improving the philosophy program.

 

Assessment will be on-going with a feedback assessment meeting happening again next fall, 2010.