University Loses Two Profs to Ivies

UVM is not an Ivy League school, but with two philoso-phy professors leaving for jobs at two different Ivy Leaguers there are professors of the equivalent stature.

Professor David Christensen, who has been here nearly twenty years, is leaving for Brown University, and Professor Derk Pereboom, who is also the department chair and has been here for 22 years, will leave for Cornell University.

Christensen and Pereboom were both contacted by Brown and Cornell University, re-spectively, expressing their interest in each of the professors for a teaching job.

Although they will be paid more at the universities they move to, both professors ex-pressed that money is not factor in deciding to leave.

“For both of us, the Uni-versity of Vermont made us a very attractive counter of-fer such that in both cases the difference in family income would have been insignificant,” Pereboom said. “There’s no financial reason to move in my case.”

Both Professors will shift from teaching only under-graduate students to teaching mostly graduate students.

“One of the things that I’ve never done at UVM is I’ve nev-er taught my own research, probably because it tends to be more on the technical side and it’s the kind of thing that doesn’t lend itself as well to undergraduate teaching,” Christensen said.

Despite the loss of two prominent philosophy profes-sors to Ivy League schools, the philosophy department at UVM still ranks well nationwide.

Brain Leiter who holds the Hines H. Baker and Thel-ma Kelley Baker chair in law, serves as professor of philosophy and is the founder and director of the law & philosophy program at University of Texas at Austin wrote in a blog that, “Even with these losses, it still remains among the very top departments (in terms of faculty quality) offering only an undergraduate degree.”

Among schools that do not offer a Ph.D. or M.A. in philosophy, Leiter has rated UVM alongside Amherst College, California Institute of Technology, Dartmouth College, Reed College and Wellesley College as having the best fac-ulties in the nation.

Both Christensen and Pereboom agree that the faculty in the department is very close.

“I was chair when a lot of our junior faculty were hired, so our department is a very cohesive group. We work together very well, we read each other’s papers, we cultivate each other philosophically and I’m very much a part of that way of doing things,” Pereboom said.

“There are very few departments anywhere of any size where the people get together at lunch everyday and eat together,” Christensen said.

Christensen and Pereboom said independently that it will be sad to leave behind their friends, colleagues and the UVM community as a whole.