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Our Commitment to Diversity and Inclusiveness

The Penn State Philosophy Department strives to be a national leader in increasing the diversity and inclusiveness of our discipline, and actively promotes the College’s and University’s diversity mission. Each year we recruit a diverse group of graduate students with a view to placing them in prominent positions in the academy; and our successes in this area have been recognized in a recent cover-story [pdf] in the Chronicle of Higher Education. The department has also recruited a diverse group of faculty whose areas of expertise include Critical Philosophy of Race, Feminist Philosophy, African American Philosophy, and Latin American and Latina/o Philosophy. These efforts, along with thoughtful attention to course offerings and syllabi, have contributed to our undergraduates and graduates experiencing a wide range of diversity in their philosophy classes. Our Department has made diversity and inclusiveness a key priority, one that influences our pedagogical mission at the deepest levels and that yields fundamental benefits to our research and public mission.


Mellon   Mellon Foundation grant

In recognition and development of our diversity efforts, in 2017 the Department won a four-year, $800,000 Mellon Foundation grant to improve our recruitment and support of graduate students contributing to the discipline’s diversity and inclusiveness, and to provide an exemplar to other departments across the country. This grant goes toward active recruitment from underrepresented groups; expanding our CUSP program (see below); enhancing mentorship; paying for dissertation completion fellowships; and creating a diversity-related postdoctoral fellowship.



PIKSI   Philosophy in an Inclusive Key

With the Rock Ethics Institute, the Philosophy Department hosts and funds one of two PIKSI (“Philosophy in an Inclusive Key”) summer institutes. The institute is designed to encourage undergraduate students from under-represented groups to consider future study in the field of philosophy. PIKSI will emphasize the on-going project of greater inclusiveness that is transforming the discipline, inviting students to be participants in the conversation. PIKSI is also supported by the American Philosophical Association and the Mellon Foundation.



CUSP   Cultivating Underrepresented Students in Philosophy

CUSP ("Cultivating Underrepresented Students in Philosophy") is an all-expense paid two-day workshop held at Penn State each April for up to 8 promising prospective graduate students in philosophy from traditionally underrepresented groups (including African Americans, Chicano/as and Latino/as, Native Americans, and Asian Americans). During their visit to campus, students will present their writing samples and have the opportunity to respond to questions. Students will be exposed to the life of philosophy in the department and to the discipline of philosophy more broadly by attending workshops and lectures, speaking with graduate students and faculty, and investigating what it means to pursue a graduate degree in philosophy at Penn State.

For any students interested in this program, please write to at your earliest convenience.



CBWP   Collegium of Black Women Philosophers

The Collegium of Black Women Philosophers (CBWP), directed by the department's Kathryn Gines, is a philosophical organization whose purpose is to encourage and foster a networking and mentoring relationship between the underrepresented Black women in philosophy at all levels, as well as to recruit more Black women into the discipline.



Critical Philosophy of Race Journal   Critical Philosophy of Race

The Critical Philosophy of Race initiative of the Philosophy Department's partner, the Rock Ethics Institute, seeks to promote the recruitment, retention, and graduation of racial minorities both at the graduate and undergraduate levels; sponsor workshops on contentious issues with a view to promoting interracial understanding; be a clearing house for resources that promote the study of the history and current state of race thinking and racism; mentor young philosophy faculty toward tenure; become a site for interdisciplinary engagement with issues of race both in the Penn State system and more broadly; and set up global as well as local partnerships at every level with a view to promoting a better informed discussion of racial issues.

This initiative also houses the Critical Philosophy of Race journal, which is edited by several Penn State faculty members. 



WGSS Af-Am   Dual-title PhD Programs

Philosophy graduate students may enroll in a dual-title degree with the following two programs:

African-American Studies

Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies