Philosophy in the Coastal Bend

When Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi (TAMU-CC) faculty members designed a core curriculum in preparation for the admission of the University’s first freshman class in 1994, they assigned a unique and central role in that curriculum to a Philosophy course entitled Foundations of Professional Ethics, making it the capstone course (and sole upper-level course) of the core. As the capstone course, it would provide a transition from the rest of the core to the students’ work in their major fields, requiring students to apply knowledge and skills acquired or developed in their core courses to the study of ethical issues in their majors and prospective careers.

Since 1996, when TAMU-CC hired its first two Philosophy faculty members (Piker and Sencerz), the core Philosophy course has not only performed its capstone role well, but has also introduced students to the study of Philosophy and prompted many of them to take additional Philosophy courses and some of them to join the Ethics Bowl teams.

To meet increasing demand, the College of Liberal Arts has hired two additional Philosophy Faculty members (Tiller and Berkich), significantly expanded its Philosophy course offerings, and established a very successful minor in Philosophy. In addition, TAMU-CC has established a reputation for excellence in the area of ethics, as a result of the efforts and success of its Philosophy students and faculty in regional and national Ethics Bowls. TAMU-CC’s Ethics Bowl teams have compiled a record of four regional titles, one national title, three finishes in the top ten nationally, and eleven top three finishes (regional and national combined) in ten years of competition. They have attracted both regional and national attention, receiving (for example) a commendation in December 2007 from Corpus Christi Mayor Henry Garrett; and coverage in the New York Times (“Ethics Bowls: Where There Is No Final Answer,” 8-5-01) after winning the National Ethics Bowl Competition in March 2001.

As enrollments increase, the Philosophy program is making its best attempt to obtain approval to offer the Philosophy Major.  For as our former Dean Richard Gigliotti was fond of saying, if the university could have only one major, that major would have to be philosophy.