As noted in prior newsletters, my time recently has been largely devoted to curriculum reform, and I have some good news to report! For the first time in 30 or more years, Georgetown College will have a new general education curriculum beginning in the 2010-11 school year. The faculty has worked very hard to craft a plan which they believe will allow each student who wanders through the halls of Pawling and Asher, Anderson and Cooke, to come away armed with the tools to shape their own identities and communities in ever more constructive ways. It’s been a long project in the development phase (four years!), and though our implementation work will involve a good bit more effort over the next couple of years, it’s been exciting to see the work so many people have invested to make an already excellent Georgetown education even better inch closer to a finishing mark.
I’m wrapping up my ninth year at Georgetown, and I’m still having a great time working with our students. Last year’s freshman class was simply outstanding, and I particularly have enjoyed getting to know the first batch of Oxford Honors Scholars. They may read this entry, so I won’t brag too much (we don’t want to build any self-importance now do we?), but they rose to meet the challenges set before them and they really seem to care about making the most of their studies. I know we’ll hear big things from them. In addition, the group we sent to Oxford this year was the biggest ever, and all our students continue to earn high praise from their Oxford tutors for ability and effort. Finally, my philosophy students this year have done a thorough job of convincing me that our discipline is alive and kicking! My ethics of consumption class last fall did excellent work and helped me fine tune and evaluate several of the ideas that are slowly making their way into the book that shares the name with the course title.
I continue to write about Kantian virtue and its particular relationship to consumption issues. I presented a paper entitled “Kantian Temperance” at a Conference on the Cardinal Virtues at Viterbo University in La Crosse, WI. My book on the ethics of consumption, though placed on the back burner during curriculum reform, is still taking shape. I’ve quit making predictions about when it’ll be finished, but I’m hoping it’ll be before the economic downturn progresses to such depths that it makes the subject matter irrelevant.
On the home front, our family moved into a new house (speaking of consumption!) about a block off campus. We were sorry to leave our beloved ranch house in Indian Hills, but the move was occasioned by the realization that one day our children might actually want their own rooms and by the fact that I might actually move my sedentary self around a bit if I lived that close to campus. The last part has definitely come true. My car has been driven about three times since we moved in January. The house is 75 years old, and it was built by Dr. Charles Hatfield, a former mathematician at Georgetown College. Any 75 year old house will have its challenges, but we have truly loved filling out our new space and finding a new way of living in our new (old) home.
I hope that all who have some investment in our department are doing well, and I encourage you to drop us a note or stop in to tell us how things are going for you!