The Department of Philosophy is committed to cultivating a diverse, inclusive, and critical community of Philosophers at Gettysburg College. We recognize that philosophy proceeds from a multiplicity of cultural and historical roots and is practiced through a broad plurality of methods and styles. We are also aware that this recognition entails a constant struggle against a monocultural, monolingual, and racist conception of philosophy that has long dominated the field and which academic philosophers are responsible for perpetuating. This struggle animates every aspect of what we do as a department. Multiculturality, inclusiveness, and anti-racism in philosophy are matters of intellectual depth, scope, and rigor, as much as social justice. On one hand, we are responsible for creating an academic field of philosophy in which philosophers of color, women, and LGTBQ+ philosophers and philosophy students want to participate, at the level of our department but also in the discipline and in academia at large. It is not their responsibility to accommodate the demands, expectations, norms, methods, and topics of study previously established by a dominating parochial culture. The responsibility lies with every philosophy department, and especially predominantly White institutions like ours, to create an environment that is open, respectful, and encouraging of differences in philosophical perspectives, pedagogies, and attitudes. On the other hand, it is only by creating this space of equity and respect worthy of the participation of people who reflect the world we actually live in that we can manifest our vision of philosophy as a pluralistic human activity. In recognizing these goals, our department is committed to the following value-driven practices that will further our anti-racist, inclusive, and multicultural mission, aligned with our departmental learning outcomes: (1) Creating inclusive knowledge; (2) Creating inclusive skills; (3) Creating inclusive dispositions.
- Anti-racist pedagogy and mentorship inside and outside the classroom. For example, teaching the racist, sexist, and colonial history of academic philosophy in the US and Europe; identifying students who need additional support due to systemic inequities and partnering with student services to provide support, resources, and necessary accommodations; promoting diversity and inclusion in the organization of academic and student activities, etc.
- Developing multicultural syllabi that do not reinforce whiteness, sexism, anti-LGBTQ hate, and other active forms of discrimination and silencing of voices. For example, auditing courses for reinforced whiteness; revising course titles according to content taught; creating courses in philosophies marginalized by the currently dominant Anglo-European canon; introducing philosophers, problems, questions, theories, concepts, and methods from multiple philosophical traditions and time periods in all our core courses and our intros; introducing marginalized voices in a positive light in terms of strengths and not only deficits; etc.
- Establishing anti-racist learning goals in existing courses. For example, learning goals that help students interrogate their own biases or the biases of the discipline; learning goals that help students recognize power imbalance and issues of trust; learning goals that help students understand how discrimination in philosophy biases the distribution of benefits, harms, and risks, etc.
- Leading efforts on and beyond campus to promote anti-racism and justice in academia. For example, organizing panels, workshops, discussions groups; publishing; sharing with and learning from others best practices in philosophy pedagogy; etc.
- Including Diversity and Inclusion syllabus statements indicating what instructors will do to create anti-racist and inclusive classrooms.
- Using equitable course materials to reduce learning costs. For example, open educational resources, library reserves, texts made available via Moodle, etc.
- Employing strategies to mitigate the effects of hidden curricula and implicit bias in assessment. For example, using different types of assignments; increasing the transparency of assignments by clarifying purpose and steps to complete the task, and the criteria for success; etc.
- Understanding anti-racist and inclusive teaching as a long-term project and continuing to educate ourselves in inclusive pedagogy and best practices.
We recognize that our department’s learning outcomes and their associated student-oriented practices must also be aligned with parallel practices to create inclusive teaching and research environments for our faculty and staff:
- Including anti-racism, bias awareness, bias mitigation, and acknowledgement of the work put toward diversification and inclusion efforts as official values to be rewarded in our departmental review process for annual, pre-tenure, tenure, and promotion.
- Redesigning our guidelines, standards, and expectations for our departmental review process for annual, pre-tenure, tenure, and promotion according to our departmental values. For example:
- Assigning less relative value to student course evaluations (SET) as a measure for evaluating teaching effectiveness given the rich literature on SET bias and inefficacy as a tool for summative purposes;
- Assigning more relative value to experimental and interdisciplinary practices aimed at broadening our understanding of philosophy and improving all learners experience.
- Assigning more relative value to the instructor’s contributions to the broade teaching and learning community on and beyond campus.
- Including anti-racism, bias awareness, bias mitigation, and acknowledgement of the work put toward diversification and inclusion efforts as official values to be rewarded in our hiring process.
- Providing training for faculty and inviting guidance from external reviewers to create appropriate contexts for using student surveys, comments, and instructor ratings in faculty reviews and evaluations.
- Developing measures to support, retain, and help flourish faculty with underrepresented and marginalized identities. Among them:
- Empowering junior faculty as full partners in the departmental decision-making process;
- Acknowledging the coercive character of traditional ranking and promoting non-hierarchical, equitable partnership;
- Being open to change the direction of the department along with the interests, practices, methods, and areas of research of junior faculty, especially junior faculty from underrepresented backgrounds or working in areas of philosophy marginalized in the US;
- Accommodating to and encouraging differences rather than forcing new faculty to assimilate to the department’s culture;
- Protecting flexibility and adaptability as departmental values;
- Practicing transparency to alleviate the lack of psychological safety experienced by junior faculty and especially faculty with underrepresented backgrounds and areas of study;
- Devising relief measures against “invisible” labor, such as promoting awareness, keeping track of unequal charges of labor, and offering incentives.