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Profiles & Awards

New Faculty Award: Dr. Justin McBrayer

In Dr. Justin McBrayer’s mind, professors should not profess. They should question. By that he means professors should be active participants in learning by guiding discussion and debate around a topic. Students and professors should learn together.

Dr. McBrayer, assistant professor of philosophy, is careful about his teaching because he knows the value of what he teaches. A common misperception is that philosophy is not a practical major that offers good job prospects after graduation. In fact, the very opposite is true. Philosophy majors tend to do very well in graduate school and earn very good salaries in their careers, but that’s not the most important reason to study the discipline, according to Dr. McBrayer.

“Education should be about a whole lot more than what kind of job you’re going to get. Almost no one when they die will think that their job was the most important thing that they did during their life. The most important things will be how they lived their life, how they treated other people, what kind of policies and social change they pursued, and maybe their relationship with God,” he says.

“Getting a job is a necessary condition for a good life, but it’s not sufficient. Philosophy trains you to take a step back from life’s big questions and get a handle on which ones are most important and how to go about answering them.”

Dr. McBrayer’s passion for helping his students find success and satisfaction with their lives extends outside of the classroom and into his own home, which happens to be in Animas Hall surrounded by hundreds of students. He and his family often host students in their home, which gives them a chance to interact with students without the formal structure and authority the classroom can bring.

“It’s been great. We’re here to make a difference in the lives of students and living in Animas Hall gives us that much more opportunity to do so.”

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Tags: awards Philosophy academics