Philosophy Survives at Illinois Wesleyan

Today the Board of Trustees of Illinois Wesleyan University (IWU) met to decide on their proposal, announced last month, to eliminate various programs and departments at the school, including philosophy. Not all programs survived, but philosophy did.

The Board recommended “transformation” for philosophy, as opposed to other options recommended for other academic units such as “sustain”, “closure”, “delete major and minor”, etc.,

“Transformation,” according to the Board’s letter, could involve:

pedagogical innovation, interdisciplinary outreach, and more efficient use of resources. Each of these programs has had preliminary discussions with the Academic Affairs office and will submit a written plan to that office, with specific goals and timelines, before the conclusion of the fall semester.

While philosophy will continue at IWU, the one-sided process employed in developing the plan and the way employees were ambushed by the Board of Trustees has left some faculty at the university unhappy. As one professor put it via email, “academic freedom and tenure have been undermined at our institution, and we will continue to fight for our colleaugues.”

Here is a breakdown of the Board’s decisions:

Academic Unit Board Decision
A&F: Accounting Investment; Transformation
A&F: Finance Sustain
American Culture Studies Closure

(Delete Major and Minor)

Anthropology Closure

(Delete Major and Minor)

Biology Transformation
Business Administration Sustain
BA: International Business Closure

(Delete Major)

BA: Marketing Sustain
Chemistry Transformation
Computer Science Transformation
Design Technology & Entrepreneurship Closure
(Delete Major and Minor)
Economics Investment; Transformation
Educational Studies Transformation
English Sustain
Environmental Studies Transformation
Greek & Roman Studies Closure

(Delete Major and Minor)

Health Promotion & Fitness Management Sustain; Investment
History Transformation
International Studies Transformation
Mathematics Transformation
Neuroscience Sustain
Philosophy Transformation
Physics Transformation
Political Science Transformation
Psychology Transformation
Religious Studies Closure

(Delete Major and Minor)

School of Art Transformation
School of Music Transformation
School of Nursing Sustain
School of Theatre Arts Sustain; Investment
Sociology Sustain
World Languages, Literatures & Cultures Closure (French & Italian)

(Delete French Major & Minor and Italian Minor);
Transformation (Spanish)

Women’s & Gender Studies Transformation



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Rollo Burgess
3 years ago

Sad days for those at IWU… that set of decisions looks to me like systematic philistinism aimed at turning this institution into a training academy for accountants.

In addition to the depressing cultural vandalism, I work for a leading audit firm (though I am not myself in that part of the business) and we hire and value people with all sorts of educational backgrounds including humanities, philosophy etc. You learn business on the job, not at university, has always been my view. But clearly those running IWU disagree.

Steve Sullivan
Steve Sullivan
3 years ago

Best wishes to the Wesleyan philosophers. I taught Philosophy there for three semesters in the early 90s.