To his students Dr. Kris Phillips is more than just an assistant professor of philosophy at SUU. He is engaging, hilarious, personable and is always there for them in and out of the classroom.
During his first few years at college, a professor made a huge difference in his life. Now he works to pay it forward.
After changing his major about seven times, and taking a large variety of general education classes, he ended up in a logic course. “Up to that point there was no clear path for my future,” said Phillips. “But my logic professor changed everything for me. He was fun, quirky and I loved the subject.”
He asked how he could take similar classes, so his professor advised him to join the philosophy program. “I started to enjoy school, which was new for me, because I’d found my passion,” said Phillips. “In fact, I liked school so much I ended up in it forever, because now I’m teaching.”
Phillips earned his B.S. at Central Michigan University and his M.A. at Western Michigan University, both in philosophy. He then joined the SUU faculty in 2014 shortly after earning his Ph.D. in philosophy at the University of Iowa.
Phillips teaches the following classes:
- PHIL 1000 Introduction to Philosophy
- PHIL 1250 Reasoning and Rational Decision Making
- PHIL 3011 Philosophy of Religion
- PHIL 3300 Theory of Knowledge
- PHIL 3400 Mind, Language & Reality
- PHIL 4010 Senior Seminar
- PHIL 4120 History of Modern Philosophy
- PHIL 4850 Philosophy of Mathematics in the 17 Century
- HONR 1040 Foundations of Honors
- HONR 2010/4010 Dialogue in the Disciplines
Almost every semester without fail at least one student approaches him after the first day of class and tells him they’ve been looking for this their entire lives.
“College is such a crucial time for people,” he explained. “It’s fun to be able to see them figure out who they are and what they want to be and to be a small, albeit small, part of that.”
In the classroom, Phillips teaches through lectures and discussions. He enjoys telling jokes, usually at his own expense, and incorporates out-of-date hip hop and pop culture references to make class even more fun. He also uses film clips to ground some of the more abstract concepts and help students realize where they’ve seen those concepts before.
Phillips enjoys working at SUU because he feels strongly that education is valued here and quality teaching is a high priority.
“I like that there is this nice balance at SUU. As faculty we are encouraged to produce new scholarship, to be at the cutting edge of our field, but to also bring students along for that. I like to involve students in my research.”
He serves the SUU community as a member of Allies On Campus and a member of the Student Assessment Intervention Team. He also contributes to his field through professional research, book reviews, and presentations.