COVID-19: Because of the pandemic, almost all of the department’s courses had to be offered remotely during the 2020/21 academic year. For most faculty, this was a demanding and time-consuming challenge that had an adverse effect on their scholarly work. As a result of a rapid increase in the rate of infection, the very few departmental courses that were started in person in Fall 2020—in oversized classrooms, with masks and social distancing required—had to be moved online a few weeks into the semester. Fortunately, a similar move was not necessary in Spring 2021. The department’s administration has been conducted remotely since March 2020; all departmental meetings and events have taken place on Zoom; and all scheduled talks by visiting speakers were postponed or canceled. The department’s administrative office will reopen partially from July 6 unless the COVID situation deteriorates. We are hoping to be able to return to more-or-less normal operations in Fall 2021.
Enrollments: Despite the pandemic, 5,581 students registered for the department’s courses during the 2020/21 academic year—a drop of only thirteen from the record number of 5,594 in the previous academic year.
Major Anniversaries: Two members of the department’s faculty celebrated significant long-term service anniversaries in 2021: Ronald P. Endicott (Ph.D., Michigan), associate professor of philosophy, 20 years, and Timothy Hinton (Ph.D., MIT), professor of philosophy, 25 years.
Resignation: Kevin Richardson (Ph.D., MIT), who was appointed as assistant professor of philosophy at NC State in August 2017, resigned at the end of the 2020/21 academic year to take up a position at Duke University. A specialist in metaphysics and the philosophy of language, Richardson currently focuses on the nature of the social world.
Scholarly Reassignment: Karey A. Harwood (Ph.D., Emory), associate professor of religious studies and women’s and gender studies, received a scholarly reassignment for Spring 2021 to continue her work on a project entitled “Public Moral Arguments Surrounding School Integration: Wake County’s Example.”
Cream of the Junior Faculty: The College of Humanities and Social Sciences’ Outstanding Junior Faculty Award in the Humanities has existed for only four years, but has been won by the department’s nominee on each of the three occasions on which it has nominated a candidate. Our winners have been: Levi McLaughlin (religious studies) in 2018; Sanem Soyarslan (philosophy) in 2020; and Veljko Dubljevic in 2021 (see Dubljevic Garners Honors).