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Looking Back: Department News from the Past

front of NC State's Winston Hall

1971/72: During the regular academic year a total of 2,214 students enroll in the department’s courses. This is an increase of 8.6% from the 1970/71 enrollments of 2,038, which were in turn 35% higher than departmental enrollments in 1969/70. The department offers three sections of a new course called Philosophy Seminars on the Human Condition: one on the nature of peace, one on Gnosticism and one on the women’s liberation movement. Visiting speakers include Judith Jarvis Thomson of MIT and Abraham Kaplan of the University of Michigan.

1981/82: W. Randolph Carter, professor of philosophy, is designated as an Alumni Distinguished Professor in recognition of his outstanding teaching. James H. Moorhead, associate professor of religious studies, has an NEH Fellowship for Independent Study and Research; A. Donald VanDeVeer, professor of philosophy, has an NEH Fellowship for College Teachers. Departmental faculty present sixteen papers at conferences and publish twelve articles in professional journals, two edited books, six chapters in books and one sole-authored book, Tom Regan’s Animal Rights and Environmental Ethics (University of California Press, 1982). Visiting speakers include Alvin Goldman and Holly Smith of the University of Illinois at Chicago Circle and Gregory Vlastos of the University of California, Berkeley.

1991/92: Enrollments in the department’s courses during the regular academic year peak at 4,696, a level not surpassed until 2009/10. After a year as a visiting assistant professor at the University of Chicago, Douglas M Jesseph (Ph.D., Princeton) is appointed as assistant professor of philosophy. He is promoted to associate professor in 1995 and to professor in 2001. He leaves NC State in 2008 to take up an appointment at the University of South Florida. Mary Kathleen Cunningham, assistant professor of religious studies, wins a college Outstanding Teacher Award. Tony K. Stewart returns from a Fulbright Senior Research Fellowship in Bangladesh and is promoted to associate professor of religious studies.

2001/02: After a stint at the Arkansas State University, Ronald P. Endicott (Ph.D., Michigan) is appointed as assistant professor of philosophy and director of the department’s cognitive science program. He is promoted to associate professor in 2004. He is still director of the cognitive science program. Jason Bivins, assistant professor of religious studies, wins the College of Humanities and Social Sciences Outstanding Junior Faculty Award; Timothy Hinton is promoted to associate professor of philosophy; and William Adler, professor of religious studies, publishes The Chronography of George Synkellos (Oxford University Press, 2002) with Paul Tuffin of the University of Adelaide.

2011/12: The department’s Logic and Cognitive Science Initiative (LACSI) hosts its second biennial conference in September 2011. The topic, Meaning in Context, is of fundamental importance to work in semantics in both philosophy of language and linguistics. The speakers include one of the most distinguished philosophers in the field, Robert Stalnaker of MIT, and one of the most distinguished linguists in the field, Angelika Kratzer of the University of Massachusetts. In January 2012 David Austin, associate professor of philosophy, replaces Jason Bivins as associate head of the department and continues in this position until his retirement in Summer 2022 (read more). Department faculty give fifteen invited research presentations during the academic year, including presentations in Aberdeen (Scotland), Berlin, Moscow and Rome.