I’m deeply saddened that Cedarville would consider cutting its philosophy program. I resonate with the many others who have posted about the intellectual and spiritual stimulation they received from the community surrounding the philosophy department and Honors program (not to mention the crises of faith handled).
Much is made at the ‘Ville of the “Bubble” and what will happen to students when they enter the “real world” and interact with constituencies composed of more than conservative Baptists. As a graduate of the Honors program with a minor in philosophy, I spent my time at Cedarville thinking outside my own set of particularities and those of the Christian subculture in which I studied.
I critically engaged philosophically-significant texts with my classmates and professors. They deconstructed my assumptions about the world and, in the process, I learned that others with whom I might disagree were equally as passionate and conviction-driven as I. Most importantly, I watched Dr. Mills and my other professors model Christlikeness in their words, modes of dialogue, and incarnational lifestyles. These experiences prepared me for my current vocation in public education in a way that no professional education could.
Since graduating, I have begun a career addressing the problem of educational inequity in the United States as a classroom teacher. My work has allowed me to interact with stakeholders of all kinds: politicians and parents, district superintendents and community leaders, teachers and students. I engage these stakeholders with an understanding of their intellectual framework and ability to discuss issues clearly and self-reflectively because of my education in philosophy.
I worry about Cedarville’s future. I worry first that future students will not have access to the professors and program that turned me from an arrogant, self-certain freshman into a college graduate capable of reflecting upon his own assumptions and beliefs in a critical manner. Moreover, I worry that this administrative decision symbolizes the death of the life of the mind outside the “Bubble” at Cedarville.