Former Graduate Chair, Philosophy; University Professor
As Graduate Chair, I oversee the world's largest and intellectually most diverse philosophy department. The size of the department enables us to offer our graduate students unparalleled breadth and depth. As chair of the graduate department, I also have a say in all appointments to the graduate department. It provides a wonderful opportunity to build on our strengths. Students often come to me looking for help or creative solutions so that they can take advantage of a wide variety of opportunities, both within the department and elsewhere.
As a faculty member, I enjoy teaching graduate courses and seminars, but my favourite part is supervising dissertations. Since coming to the University of Toronto, I have supervised 17 doctoral dissertations. The opportunity to help brilliant young scholars develop their own ideas and situate themselves within an ongoing debate is particularly satisfying.
One of the benefits of a large and diverse department is that, whatever area of philosophy that interests you, there are lots of talks, reading groups, and so on going on all the time.
I have been at the University of Toronto for 26 years. During that time, I have seen the quality of our graduate students improve steadily. Philosophy was one of the very few departments that did not increase the size of our doctoral program. In some disciplines, there are jobs in industry for PhDs; in philosophy, although some of our past PhDs have gone on to a wide variety of successful careers, the main employment opportunities are in academe. We wanted to keep the program small enough that we could place most of our students. But we also wanted to keep it intense. That intensity ensures that the students are well-positioned to learn from each other.
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