Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Study: Effectivness of Track or Concentration Philosophy Programs

Over the past couple of months I have been thinking about some of the problems of academic philosophy, many of which have to do with the dreary employment situation which philosophers find themselves in. One of the topics which I have been researching over the last couple of months is the effectiveness of track programs.

Basically the my reasoning goes like this...


There are more Phds than positions in philosophy (2/1 at least), this is the problem.

By increasing the number of teachers, as a profession we will create even more PhD oriented philosophy students, and so are back in the same problem. 

So the question is, how do we create a greater demand for philosophy professors without creating more professional philosophers?

One Solution:
By using track programs such as Bio-ethics, Pre-law, Religion and others, we will be able to increase the number of needed professors for teaching and reduce the number of to-be philosophy professors.

Essentially what we need to do is export philosophy into other areas. Philosophy gives students a great number of skills which are essential to other subjects, why not look into the effectiveness of these programs.

I have recently emailed a number of universities which have track programs, particularly in pre-law hoping that they will answer some of the following question. 

So far the results have been favorable.

If your university or a university you know of has a track or concentration program it would be really great if you could let me know so I can include the department in this study

Here are some of the questions I asked (are there any I should ask which are not included?):

How many students are in your department total?

How many students are now in philosophy with a pre-law concentration?

How many that joined were already in the philosophy department?

How many came from other majors?

How many have gone on to law school?

Do you feel that having a concentration or track program has increased the number of students who declare philosophy?

Do you think your department is now a stronger and/or more attractive because of your concentration or track program?

Did starting a track or concentration program help your department with funding in anyway?

How did you build the core requirements which divide philosophy general from philosophy Pre-law?

Did you have to recruit another teacher?

Did you get in contact with law schools to see what they classes they thought were important?

How did you purpose the pre-law concentration? Is there a standard procedure in your university for creating a concentration or track program?

Was there any documentation from previous departments which was used to support the creation of a pre-law track or concentration program?

Are there any resources for creating track or concentration programs nationally or on the web?

Are there any other department you know of which have recently established a concentration or track program?

If you have experience with other track programs aside from pre-law, how was the response to those?

Did I miss any important questions? 

I would love some input on this subject if you have the time.
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