Western Washington UniversityCommunications and Marketing
DATE: March 6, 2009 11:48:11 AM PST
WWU Named Among Best Schools in the Country for Philosophy

Contact: Ryan Wasserman, associate professor of philosophy, at (360) 650-3860 or ryan.wasserman@wwu.edu

BELLINGHAM—Western Washington University recently was named as one of the best universities in the country for philosophy by The Philosophical Gourmet Report, a respected regular review of the nation's best philosophy programs.

"It is great to see that the excellence we know firsthand here at Western is becoming more widely recognized," said WWU President Bruce Shepard. "We've known for a long time that we have one of the best philosophy departments in the country."

Western's is one of just two public university undergraduate philosophy departments mentioned in the report, which is a compilation of the advice of several hundred prominent members of the philosophy profession. It's edited by Brian Leiter, the John P. Wilson professor of law and director of the Center for Law, Philosophy, and Human Values at the University of Chicago.

"Among schools that do not offer the Ph.D. or M.A. in philosophy, those with the best philosophy faculties would probably include: Amherst College, California Institute of Technology, Dartmouth College, Reed College, University of Vermont, Western Washington University and Wellesley College," wrote Leiter in the report.

The Philosophical Gourmet Report enjoys widespread readership among philosophers throughout the world, said Ryan Wasserman, an associate professor of philosophy at WWU. The previous edition had more than half a million hits online, he said.

"This is definitely a huge honor for our department, and we're all really excited about it," Wasserman said. "Everyone in our profession will be reading this and taking it seriously."

The mention of Western among such heady competition provides a few major benefits to Western, Wasserman said.

First, it acts as a serious draw for prospective students looking for a top-notch undergraduate program.

Second, it helps students gain admission to some of the better graduate schools, Wasserman said.

"Grad schools will see this, and when they see that a student graduated from Western Washington University, it'll help that student stand out from the hundred or so other applicants," he said. "And better grad programs mean better jobs for our students."

Third, the ranking also is a huge boon to and recognition of the department's faculty.

"The rankings are based on the quality of the faculty," Wasserman said, adding that WWU faculty will be more likely to receive invitations to attend high-profile conferences and serve on important advisory boards, thus increasing the visibility for the Philosophy Department and for Western.

The Philosophical Gourmet Report is published by Blackwell Publishing.

For more information, contact Ryan Wasserman, an associate professor of philosophy at WWU, at (360) at (360) 650-3860 or ryan.wasserman@wwu.edu. The Philosophical Gourmet Report is online at http://www.philosophicalgourmet.com/.

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