Centers of Distinction

Colin Anderson, Professor of Philosophy

For more than 160 years, Hiram College has pushed boundaries in delivering a high-quality education to its students.

One of the reasons this is possible, Philosophy Professor Colin Anderson said, is because of the remarkable freedom afforded to faculty. Because of Hiram’s small size, faculty members from across disciplines frequently work together, sometimes out of necessity, sometimes out of sheer curiosity. But no matter the reason, what they create is a truly unique learning experience for students.

“Our interdisciplinary character and interdisciplinary goals provide almost all faculty with this really wonderful opportunity to continue to be as students, while also teaching,” said Professor Anderson, who is also the George and Arlene Foote Ethics Chair.

“First at Hiram,” to him, means the opportunity Hiram College students have to stand out in the crowd, because of this truly unique educational experience.

 “It suggests, to all students, that they can and they ought to, at Hiram College, find ways of being out in front of everyone else,” Professor Anderson said. “Being absolutely unique and being able to accomplish things that differentiate themselves, not only from others at Hiram, but peers at all other institutions of higher education.”

The residential nature of Hiram College allows for students to engage in learning opportunities beyond classroom doors.

“Because students make their home on this campus and in this community,” he said, “their involvement with faculty and staff, with coaches, with peers, with their friends … allows for much more widespread learning opportunities than would happen if one were coming to an institution for a few hours a day and only interacting with the students and other people within the confines of a course.”

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Professor Anderson sits on a committee that solicits letters from current and former students about faculty members, as part of the faculty review process. In those letters, he sees continuous testament from students who say they were “first.”

“One of the things that is absolutely, almost universal in these letters, is the impact that individual faculty members have upon students in their careers, their plans and their education,” he said. “And we have regular, consistent testimony that students leave Hiram College, I think, thinking of themselves in this way. In some sense, they were first, they were attended to as individuals, they had friendships with faculty members and staff members.”

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