Philosophy Threatened at Simmons University


The administration of Simmons University has said that it is planning to close the school’s Department of Philosophy and end its major program.

Philosophy is one of several departments targeted.

“No decisions are final yet,” reports The Boston Globe, adding that “a final plan will be presented to the university’s board in October after university leaders meet with all departments.”

The university, which is women-only at the undergraduate level (but not for its graduate degrees), is facing financial constraints owed partly to what seems like a very bad deal it made with the online learning company 2U, according to which the company gets 50 to 62 percent of the tuition paid by each student in its online programs. According to the Globe, more than half of Simmons’ graduate students are in such online programs. The contract with 2U was made in 2013 and renewed (!) in 2018 for another 21 years.

Faculty were apparently instructed by the administration not to talk to the press. One professor, speaking anonymously to the Globe, says: “Cutting out the humanities and social sciences is like cutting out the heart and then seeing if the body will still walk.”

The current president of Simmons, Lynn Perry Wooten, has an academic specialization in “crisis leadership.”


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Ignatius Panakal
11 months ago

Closing down the Department of Philosophy is making more illogical people and leaders in the world. The university should re- consider its decision.

Pamela Hilton
11 months ago

As a Simmons College alum, our Philosophy Dept. was always small. As a college started as a school for practical professional degrees, it has been a mission to prepare women for the world of work. I did take philosophy classes with Dr. Ochs then the sole Philosophy professor. It was a requirement for many degrees including education decades ago. The reorganization at Simmons has been happening for the past few years to prepare for the future professional areas most chosen by the students.