Philosophy Professor Hired for Second PPE Track

Claremont McKenna College has appointed Adrienne Martin, a tenured philosophy professor at the University of Pennsylvania, to teach the philosophy segment of the new track of the college's Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE) major. 

Martin, whose research focuses on ethics and moral psychology, is expected to teach two philosophy courses in the fall and the philosophy segment of the PPE program in spring 2015. With an additional track, the PPE program will double in size from approximately 14 to 28 students. 

PPE and philosophy professor Paul Hurley, the chair of the search committee, said that the final round of the selection process for the philosophy position was in February, when two male candidates and two female candidates visited campus for intensive multiple-day research presentations and interviews with faculty members, students, and administrators.

Hurley said that it is difficult to find candidates at the senior level who are not only distinguished scholars, but also effective and committed teachers.

“That was a priority for us, and one of the appeals for [Martin] is that her teaching record is outstanding and she is very thoughtful about teaching,” Hurley said. “She was the consensus choice of the members of the search committee."

PPE professor Ward Elliot agreed, citing her presentation skills.

“She was very outgoing, smart, affable, and gave a good presentation,” Elliott said.

Martin will be one of three female philosophy professors at CMC, and the only woman in the PPE faculty.

“What you want to do is find candidates who involve no tradeoff between other qualities and diversity, and we looked hard and talked some people into applying who wouldn’t have otherwise, but she’s one of the leading young philosophers working in medical ethics and moral psychology in the country and a fabulous teacher and a woman,” Hurley said.

Martin needs approval from the Appointments, Promotion, and Tenure Committee and the Board of Trustees, according to Hurley. It is predicted that she will have an official appointment by the end of May.

“We’re all very confident because she’s a rock star,” Hurley said.

Since PPE majors work with a philosophy professor their sophomore year, an economics professor their junior year, and a politics professor their senior year, the first priority in setting up the new track has been hiring the professor to teach the philosophy class. Hurley said that Martin will help decide the appointments to the politics and economics segments of the major. 

“There are some wonderful faculty members in each department who have expressed interest, and we’re pretty confident that we will find good people to teach the government and economic slots in the second section with professor Martin,” Hurley said. 

“There’s tremendous student interest, so we don’t anticipate any problem with filling up a second track," he added. "PPE is pretty popular."

PPE student Clay Spence CM '16 said that he favors the expansion.

“I think PPE is a really cool opportunity, and I’m glad that more people will have the opportunity to take part in it,” he said. 

Spence said that he believes that many PPE applicants do not apply even if they are qualified and interested in the program because they think their chances of being accepted are low. However, with an additional set of PPE professors, Spence said, he thinks that more students might feel encouraged to apply.

Although Spence is not in Martin's track of the PPE program, he said that he plans to take one of her classes in the fall.

Martin is scheduled to teach a course on ethical theory and an advanced seminar on morality. Her research focuses on ethics, applied ethics, and moral psychology, including topics such as love, apology, gratitude, and hope. Her book How We Hope: A Moral Psychology was published last year. She received her bachelor’s degree in philosophy from New York University; her master’s in philosophy from the University of California, San Diego; and her doctorate in philosophy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.