Philosophy and Religious Studies Department to Separate

Posted: February 17, 2005 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Stephanie Hay

Faculty in the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies voted in November 2004 to approve a motion separating the two disciplines into two, independent departments, effective July 1, 2005. The Board of Visitors approved the request at its January 2005 meeting.

According to a memo approved by the department, the recent creation of the MA in Philosophy, as well as the development of the major in religious studies and the initiation of the MA in Interdisciplinary Studies concentration in religion, culture, and values, reflect the will and the capacity of each discipline to develop as separate academic units. The memo notes, “Decisions on personnel, curriculum, and other matters in each discipline must be made with an eye to the other and with the risk that involves. Once independent, each discipline will, in its own particular way, be able to present creative programs that contribute to the overall mission of the university and enhance its intellectual vision for the future.”

The departments are currently conducting separate, internal searches for chairs. Steve Vallas, chair of Sociology and Anthropology, is heading one committee, and Chris Jones, chair of Environmental Science and Policy, is heading the other search.

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