The Philosophy Department is committed to the mission of St. Cloud State University as a liberal academic institution. We seek to promote critical thinking, a greater self-understanding (in the form of encouraging students to develop their own views and gain an awareness of their intellectual heritage), and intellectual integrity (including respect for others and their viewpoints). Many of the skills instilled by the study of philosophy, such as analytical thinking, clarity, abstract thinking, and writing skills, are useful in preparing students for the workplace as well as for academics. But we believe that Socrates' ideal of The Examined Life is the foundation on which a liberal education is to be constructed. The spirit of inquiry into ourselves, our human condition, and our relationship to the rest of the world will serve all students well in developing life-long learning habits and a mature understanding of themselves and their responsibilities as persons and citizens.
We envision our department as a community of scholars unified in a commitment to intellectual inquiry and integrity, both for the pursuit of truth and to serve as a model for students. In practice this would require enough faculty to fulfill teaching responsibilities to our major/minor programs, to general education and for service to other programs, and to do so with a teaching load that enables faculty to contribute to assessment and achieve service goals without sacrificing excellence in teaching and productive scholarship. It would also require attracting and retaining sufficient numbers of high-quality students to make it possible for all our faculty to teach major/minor courses in their areas of expertise and interest. As a community of scholars, we envision increasing our contribution to graduate education, perhaps through a certificate program aimed at faculty from two-year institutions who are seeking certification in high demand teaching areas. Ideally, in addition to serving these more immediate constituents, the department will increase opportunities to serve and edify the larger community and students generally by bringing speakers to campus, hosting lecture series, and organizing workshops that link philosophy to broader social and intellectual concerns. The philosophy department is a natural locus for fostering and modeling interdisciplinary studies on campus and we envision continuing our successful interdisciplinary collaborations and building upon them in the future.