Diversity & Inclusion
The UIC Department of Philosophy seeks to promote and support diversity in the profession, through the recruitment, training, and support of a diverse graduate student body.
• We recruit students with a wide range of educational trajectories. Our current students studied at two-year and liberal arts colleges, and public and private universities from across the country, the Americas, Asia, and Europe. They joined us with bachelor degrees, or after graduate study. On their way to philosophy they have studied computer engineering, education, music, theatre, theology, painting, physics, and more; many bring this knowledge to their studies. They also have a variety of life experiences: working after college or not, with partners and children or not, with health challenges or not, for instance. You can learn more about them on our website. We welcome applicants from any background, who hold a four-year college degree, with training in philosophy.
• We provide financial support reflecting the diverse needs of a diverse population. Information about financial support and awards provided by UIC can be found on our website. They include the Abraham Lincoln Fellowship, for students from groups historically underrepresented in graduate programs; in three of the past four years our nominees have received fellowships. (Applicants from underrepresented groups should also be aware of UIC’s application fee waiver program.) Other awards to support travel and research are available; faculty assist students making applications. Advanced students can also teach summer courses. We recognize that adequate funding is essential for students, and we work to provide the best support possible for our diverse population.
• We provide academic and other training reflecting the diverse needs of a diverse population. In addition to standard academic advising by faculty, we provide a range of support for student success. For instance, the department pairs all incoming students with a peer mentor in their third or fourth year of study, who can share their experiences. We offer regular seminars for writing, teaching and presenting, and students run a work-in-progress series for students, faculty and visitors. The Graduate College also offers a range of programs for professional development. For students from underrepresented groups a number of further support structures exist: the Summer Research Opportunities Program, UIC’s new Pipeline to an Inclusive Faculty initiative, and the Fellows Mentoring and Support initiative. We aim to provide all our students with the support they need to grow into scholars.
• We aim for a curriculum that takes a broad view of philosophy, and includes and respects insights from a range of perspectives and sources. We support students whose research benefits from studies in other departments: our students have earned simultaneous degrees and certificates at UIC in fields such as math, physics, and gender and women’s studies, and other opportunities exist. Faculty and students are working to broaden the canon in their teaching through their syllabuses, and courses including, for example, the metaphysics of race, Islamic philosophy, and feminist philosophy. We believe that philosophy gains vitality through engagement with diverse perspectives.
• We collect and make public data on our program. Our website contains information on student dissertations and placement, while the APA Grad Guide contains demographic information. The availability of such information can help students make informed decisions about study.
• We are committed to making an inclusive department in which the concerns of all members are recognized. We have a long tradition of including students in decisions: they have a voice and vote in department meetings. We recently carried out and acted on a climate survey, to help us better hear and support all students regardless of race, color, religion, gender status, national origin, ancestry, age, marital status, disability, sexual orientation, veteran status, or class. But we recognize that our work to make philosophy an inclusive enterprise is a work in progress, and will continue to evaluate and improve our efforts.