Contact: Sasha Steinberg
STARKVILLE, Miss.â€”An associate professor of philosophy is Mississippi Stateâ€™s 2015 Humanities Teacher of the Year.
The selection of J. Robert Thompson is being announced by the universityâ€™s College of Arts and Sciences, along with the Mississippi Humanities Council. As part of the honor, Thompson will present the collegeâ€™s annual humanities lecture.
Titled â€śThe Humanities and Human Nature,â€ť his address begins at 3 p.m. Monday [Nov. 30] in the Shackouls Honors College Forum Room. Thompson will explore a critical element of what makes people humanâ€”the ability to understand one anotherâ€™s thoughts and actions.
The event is free to all, as is a reception immediately following in the same fourth-floor Bryce Griffis Residence Hall location in the universityâ€™s Zacharias Village.
Along with formally presenting a topic of his choosing to campus and local communities, Thompson is receiving a $300 honorarium.
A philosophy and religion department faculty member since 2008, Thompson specializes in the history of philosophy (ancient, early modern, 20th century analytic), epistemology, metaphysics, logic and applied ethics.
â€śMSU has some of the strongest humanities departments in the region, and the faculty in the humanities are impressive across the board. I am grateful both for the existence of an award that shines light upon the excellent work being done in the humanities and for being selected for that award,â€ť Thompson said.
R. Gregory Dunaway, dean of MSUâ€™s College of Arts and Sciences, said Thompson is â€śmost deserving of this prestigious recognition.â€ť
â€śHe has been an extraordinary classroom teacher and academic adviser. He has done much to advance the humanities in general, as well as being a pivotal figure in revitalizing and enhancing our undergraduate program in philosophy,â€ť Dunaway said.
Thompsonâ€™s research focuses on the philosophy of mind and language and philosophy of cognitive science, including social cognition and linguistic competence.
Among others, he is the author of two published papers, â€śMeaning and Mindreadingâ€ť (Mind and Language, 2014) and â€śSignature Limits in Mindreading Systemsâ€ť (Cognitive Science, 2014). Both papers were among the five percent of submissions accepted by their respective journals.
Political science professor Rick Travis, who also serves as MSUâ€™s associate dean for academic affairs and student services, lauded Thompson â€śfor his no nonsense, engaging, helpful style of teaching.â€ť
In addition to teaching introductory, intermediate and advanced undergraduate courses, Thompson serves as the undergraduate program coordinator for philosophy. A member of the universityâ€™s Robert Holland Faculty Senate, he also chairs his departmentâ€™s promotion and tenure committee and serves on its curriculum committee.
Thompson is a member of multiple professional organizations, including the American Philosophical Association, Society for Philosophy and Psychology and Southern Society for Philosophy and Psychology, in which he currently serves as secretary.
A philosophy doctoral and masterâ€™s graduate of Washington University in St. Louis, Thompson previously served as president and vice president of the Mississippi Philosophical Association. A native of Evanston, Illinois, he also holds a bachelorâ€™s of philosophy from Carleton College in Minnesota.
In October 2014, he was selected as the College of Arts and Sciencesâ€™ Researcher of the Month. He also received the universityâ€™s State Pride Award in 2010.
For more on the Monday humanities lecture, contact Whitney Peterson at 662-325-2646 or email@example.com.
Learn more about MSUâ€™s College of Arts and Sciences at www.cas.msstate.edu; its philosophy and religion department at www.philosophyandreligion.msstate.edu.
MSU is Mississippiâ€™s leading university, available online at www.msstate.edu.