History of Department

NMU's Department of Philosophy began in earnest with the University's expansion in the 1960s. Until the installment of A. Craig in 1966 as the department's first full-time faculty member, philosophy courses at the University were offered only occasionally by a member of history or social sciences. In 1968, Francis Lee joined Dr. Craig. Dean David Dickson supervised the small department until Eugene Whitehouse took over his position, serving from 1967 through 1981.

Lee went on to take a new position, and between the years of 1969 and 1971, the department grew. It added three new faculty members to its ranks: Donald Dreisbach, James Greene and David Cooper, all of whom hold Ph.D.s and currently teach in the department as full-ranking professors. Associate Dean Whitehouse led the department until becoming its permanent head in 1981, a position he held until July 1, 1994 when Barry L. Knight, head of the History Department, took over until his retirement at which time he was replaced by Russell Magnaghi as Chair of History and Philosophy.

Because the department functions primarily as a service department to the University, typical lower-level undergraduate class sizes have approximately 50 students per section. Upper division classes, however, often have as few as 10 to 15 students. This provides upper division students with impressive access to the full-time professorial staff, a feat rarely paralleled at larger public universities.