The Climate at the University of Colorado at Boulder Philosophy Department

The University of Colorado at Boulder Philosophy Department is dedicated to making this a department where all people, including women and those from underrepresented groups, can thrive and flourish. On these pages, you can find out more about what we're doing here at CU-Boulder to make this a better place for students and faculty alike. We think a crucial part of maintaining a good department climate is to make information about this program available to everyone, both members of our department as well as prospective students and colleagues.

We use the term 'climate' informally to refer to the overall social environment and conditions for teaching, learning, and doing research in a department, for all members, students faculty and staff. The climate is unfavorable, for some, when (i) there exist patterns of discrimination or harassment that go unchecked (e.g., through bystander indifference or complicity, ignorance, or administrative ineptness), or (ii) there are patterns of hostile, uncivil, or unprofessional behavior that go unchecked. An unfavorable climate cannot be produced by the actions of one or two bad actors; it takes a group of people to create, and to undo. A favorable and friendly climate is one in which members of a department from all demographic groups can feel confident that they can do their best work there, without fear of discrimination, harassment or hostile and uncivil behavior.

What we've been doing to make this a better place:

  1. We have had an official climate committee since Spring 2012. The purpose of the climate committee is to identify problems with the climate, e.g., by doing periodic surveys of members of the department, and to formulate policies and recommend steps to solve those problems. The climate committee is not intended to be an investigative body, and it has no authority to apply sanctions. The climate committee chair is appointed by the chair; the committee includes tenured and tenure-track professors, instructors, and graduate students.
  2. We were the first department to participate in the American Philosophical Association Committee on the Status of Women Site Visit Program, in Fall 2013. Since then, there are have been significant changes to the department, including the departure of three faculty members. We temporarily closed graduate admissions to make changes to our program, and have since reopened admissions.
  3. The Department has adopted Best Practices, which represent the ideals and goals that we hope to live up to, as we move forward after a challenging year. The Best Practices are intended to be aspirational, to set out ideals which we are working to achieve in practice. These are not regulations or rules; they are not by-laws, and are not intended to be additions to university rules; they are not, and are not intended to be, enforceable. They gain whatever power they have from the fact that we as a community, and as individuals, decide to live by these. As time goes by, we may decide that we want to adopt different ideals, and orient ourselves toward different goals, or different parts of the same goals. This is natural, and indeed to be hoped for. That is, this will be part of an ongoing conversation that the department will be having-hopefully not only in the annual faculty retreats that the faculty has pledged to undertake, but also in grad student meetings, climate committee, etc. It will be the job of the climate committee next year to continue to revise and refine this webpage and the best practices document, as they see fit.
  4. The climate pages of the department website are intended to serve as an informational resource for members of the department. It includes information about problems that women and people from underrepresented minorities face in our profession, and ways to address and counteract those problems in our classrooms and hallways. Making information available however does not mean that people will use it; hence, it will be up to members of the faculty, especially the Chair, DGS, the DUGS, the Teaching Mentor, members of the Climate Committee, and the Lead Graduate Teacher-to make others aware of these issues and methods of problem-solving.
  5. We have had significant changes to the faculty in the past three years. In 2014, we hired Prof. Iskra Fileva and Prof. Raul Saucedo. In 2016, Prof. Matthias Steup (formerly of Purdue University) joined us, as chair and professor. In 2017, we are looking forward to Prof. Heather Demarest (currently Assistant Professor at the University of Oklahoma) joining our department.
  6. We are pleased to have an official chapter of the Minorities and Philosophy here at CU-Boulder. Please visit their website for events sponsored by MAP.
  7. In the academic year 2016-17, we have 5 rostered instructors (one of whom identifies as female), 3 assistant professors (1 of whom identifies as female), 6 associate professors (1 of whom identifies as female), and 10 full professors (2 of whom identify as female). Among the graduate students, we have 9 MA students (2 of whom identify as female), and 34 PhD students (8 of whom identify as female). Among 24 faculty members, four identify as people of color, and among 43 grad students, 10 identify as people of color.

Updated 11/28/16