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Philosophy and Religion Department

Philosophy and Religion Department table at info fair


  Public Lectures from Philosophy & Religion 

Professor, Daryl Hale, is eating food in Austrian Hospice

Daryl is pictured enjoying Spätzle & Schnitzel at the Austrian Hospice, where he stayed and dined.

In the beginning of October, Professor Daryl Hale is lecturing at the Jackson County Public Library at 6:00 to 7:30 p.m..

  • Tuesday, October 1, 2019 : What is the New Atheism? Why so Angry?
  • Tuesday, October 8,2019: Who are the New Atheists? Can Belief last in A Secular Age? 
  • Tuesday, October 22,2019: Spiritual but not Religious? Secular Toleration? Reasonable Religious Pluralism in a Well-Ordered Secular Society?

Do you want to know more?  To get into the main lines of controversy, Daryl recommends these two books:

  • Dawkins’ God: from The Selfish Gene to The God Delusion (Wiley Blackwell, 2nd ed. 2015)
  • The Four Horsemen: The Conversation that Sparked an Atheist Revolution, Hitchens, Dawkins, Harris, Dennett (Random House, 2019)


WCU's John Whitmire named 2019 recipient

of the Faculty Award for Excellence in Student Service

John Whitmire holding the award

John Whitmire holding the award.

The Faculty Award for Excellence in Student Service is presented to a dedicated faculty member who understands that learning also occurs outside the classroom, and is more than an instructor; but is also a mentor.  We see this person interact with students and take a holistic approach to support student development. As the 2019 recipient, Whitmire recognizes the importance of the objectives set by Student Success, and supports those objectives by taking extra time and care in service to our students. 





PAR Faculty presented papers in Israel at the Congress of Personalism in August 2019

Daryl Hale enjoying a meal

Daryl is pictured enjoying Spätzle & Schnitzel at the Austrian Hospice, where he stayed and dined.

Dr. Daryl Hale joined colleague Dr. Jim McLachlan at the Congress of Personalism at Domus Galilaeae on the Mount of Beatitudes, Israel in mid-August 2019, organized by McLachlan.  They both traveled in the area and presented at the conference. Daryl presented “Profits, Paper, or Persons? Kant’s Dignifying of Labor” and Jim presented “Persons, Institutions, and Trust: The Intellectual Legacy of Thomas O. Buford” and “The Comfort of Things: Personal Objects, Possession, Dwelling, and the Desire to Be God in Sartre and Levinas”.  The conference accepted “papers in any area or discipline..., so long as their themes are of concern to the ideas and concepts of persons, personhood, and personality as a philosophical, theological, psychological, social, political, historical, creative or linguistic concern.” Want to know more? Click this link


PAR Majors - Outside of the Classroom 

PAR Students NCUR Conference 2018


Reading Their Philosophy and Religious Studies Papers

Students have read papers at WCU's Undergraduate Research Expo, NCUR (the National Conference on Undergraduate Research) and at Pacific University's Philosophy Conference.

Katie Riley read her paper at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research in 2018.

PAR Student NCUR Conference 2018


Ali Russell also read a paper at NCUR 2018. Her paper was titled "A Beauvoirian Analysis for the Reform of Social Structures Via the Black Lives Matter Movement."

PAR students also presented papers at Pacific University's Philosophy Conference 2018.

PAR Students Pacific Univ Conference 2018


Cody Lathe's was "The Human Endeavor in Sartre's Dialectical Ethics."

Mary Brown presented "Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz as Simone de Beauvoir's Feminist Hero."

While Marcus Tayloe read his paper “Immanuel Kant’s Moral Church.”

Studying Religions, Learning About Environment and Wilderness Issues

Field trips for classes in Buddhism, Hinduism and Environmental Ethics have included travel to the Buddhist Serenity Insight Meditation Center, Mount Soma Sri Somesvara Vedic Shiva Temple, and Kayford, WV.

PAR 356 Buddhism Field Trip Meditation Center 2018


Students on a Buddhism Class Field Trip to Serenity Insight Meditation Center in Asheville, NC. Students met with Bhante Ujotika Bhivamsa.

PAR Hinduism Field Trip Mount Soma 2018


Hinduism Students also took a class field trip to Mount Soma Sri Somesvara Vedic Shiva Temple in Clyde, NC.

Recognition and Accomplishments: Earning Awards

Majors in Philosophy and Religion are eligible to receive annual awards: the College of Arts and Sciences Dean's Outstanding Scholar in Philosophy and Religion, and the departmental Michael P. Jones Award for the Outstanding Student in Philosophy and Religion.  PAR Majors also have gotten WCU campus awards for being outstanding as an RA or Greek Life Organization President.

With our major you can graduate in four years even if you study abroad a year.

PAR Study Abroad K Smith Costa Rica waterfall

PAR Major: K-Smith in Costa Rica

What Else Do PAR Majors Do?


After graduation, MTayloe will start graduate school at his first choice: McCormick Theological Seminary

As a student in the Philosophy and Religion Department, you’ll study answers to the following fundamental questions: Who are we? What is ethical? What did they think then? What do they believe now? You may rethink your own answers. Your faculty instructors will illuminate the world of ancient and modern ideas and ideals and offer stimulating courses on important topics in pursuit of serious academic research.

Meetings with your adviser will clarify which degree path will best fit your interests and plans: B.A., philosophy concentration, B.A., religion concentration, or a minor in philosophy or religion.

You’ll also find an abundance of events and special opportunities such as clubs, publications, conferences, seminars, and visiting scholars available to you. 

The philosophy and religion department brings you excellent teachers and engaging subject matter. As part of WCU's Philosophy and Religion Club, students watch and discuss movies and issues, and meet and talk with visiting scholars. Students attend conferences, conduct research and write for "The Gadfly," a student publication that uses satire and irony to point out social, political and economic problems  

Careers in Philosophy and Religion

Why do so many philosophy majors excel in law, business, education, the ministry, and medicine?

According to a recent study:

  • On the LSAT, philosophy and religion majors outscored majors in economics, business, international relations, and public administration.
  • On the GMAT, philosophy majors scored higher than majors in economics, statistics, accounting, business, management, or marketing.
  • 48% of philosophy majors who applied were accepted to medical school, compared with 43% of biochemistry majors, 42% of pre-med majors, 35% of biology majors, 25% of nursing majors, and only 22% of pharmacy majors.

Philosophy performance on the GRE

Philosophy performance on the LSAT

What happens to Western’s philosophy and religion majors?

WCU Philosophy graduates have been accepted at top-flight graduate and professional schools, including the University of Georgia, Villanova, UConn, Marquette, Emory, and Kansas; Rutgers, Case Western Reserve, and Duke University Law Schools; and seminaries from Vanderbilt to Liberty to Lutheran Theological Southern.  They’ve also worked as a building contractor, a counselor, a community service director, a legislative aide for an NC state representative, a middle school math and science teacher, an IT specialist, a professional journalist, among a host of other professions.

Careers for Philosophy Majors

Check out the American Philosophical Association (APA) career guides and resource booklets, available online.

Graduate programs in philosophy

Check out the American Philosophical Association (APA) Guide to Graduate Programs in Philosophy, available online.

Who else majors in philosophy?

An extensive list of individuals who studied Philosophy

As the following list shows, philosophy majors are ready for anything:

  • Steve Allen (writer & comedian)
  • Amartya Sen (winner of the 1998 Nobel Prize in Economics)
  • William Bennett (former drug czar & NEH leader, Book of Virtues)
  • William Jefferson Clinton (President)
  • Woody Allen (director & comedian)
  • Mary Higgins Clark (mystery writer)
  • Gene Siskel (movie reviewer)
  • Philip K. Dick (on whose science-fiction classic "Blade Runner" is based)
  • John Elway (quarterback, Denver Broncos)
  • Ivan Frolov (editor of PRAVDA)
  • Rebecca Goldstein (novelist & MacArthur prize recipient) 
  • Harrison Ford (actor)
  • Vaclav Havel (former President of Czechoslovakia)
  • Mark Hulbert (financial columnist for FORBES magazine)
  • Carl Icahn (business person & corporate raider, bought TWA)
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. (civil rights leader)
  • Bruce Lee (martial arts & actor)
  • Steve Martin (comedian & actor)
  • Kate Millett (author of Sexual Politics)
  • Iris Murdoch (novelist)
  • Freeman Patterson (photographer, author of The Art of Seeing)
  • Neil Peart (drummer for rock group Rush)
  • Pope John Paul II (vicar of Christ)
  • Mick Schmidt (former Philadelphia Philly)
  • John Silber (former president of Boston University)
  • Susan Sontag (essayist)
  • Dave Thomas (SCTV)
  • Alex Trebeck ("Jeopardy" host)
  • David Foster Wallace (novelist & MacArthur prize recipient)
  • Moses Znaimer, (Owner of CITY-TV and MUCH-MUSIC, Toronto) 

How can I get a job in the department or on campus?

To search for current open positions in the offices and departments at Western Carolina University, work-study eligible students go through the Financial Aid office.  For campus employment that isn't work study, students go through the CCPD, Center for Career and Professional Development, campus employment page.  Non-students can create an account at the WCU campus employment online application site: (Employment at WCU).

Faculty and Staff

Our faculty has a wide range of expertise, experience, interests and connections. They are writers, researchers, public speakers, administrators, and community leaders. But they are, first and foremost, teachers, and the small size of most philosophy and religion classes makes for exceptional interaction between teacher and student.

Name Email Phone and Office
Christopher Hoyt
Department Head 828-227-3972
Stillwell 226A
Daryl Hale 828-227-3853
Stillwell 230
David Henderson 828-227-2939
Stillwell 232
Amy McKenzie 828-227-3852
Stillwell 226
Carrie McLachlan (online) 828-227-7262
Stillwell 226
James McLachlan 828-227-3940
Stillwell 234
Scott Muir (online 18-19) 828-227-7262
Stillwell 226
Ioan Muntean (18-19) 828-227-3939
Stillwell 257
Michelle Sorensen 828-227-2932
Stillwell 251
Jeffrey Vickery 828-227-3939
Stillwell 257
John Whitmire 828-227-2636
Stillwell 231

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