Message from the Department Chair

Message from the Department Chair

Greetings and welcome, on behalf of the Philosophy Department at Ave Maria University!

We have a lot to share and be excited about here--an excellent undergraduate major which is soundly based on the philosophy of Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, and Aquinas, while also conveying an understanding of modern movements such as analytic and continental philosophy.  All of our faculty members are deeply conversant with the Catholic intellectual tradition while being specialists as well in some particular area. 

Our faculty members complement one another excellently. Dr. Barry David is an expert on St. Augustine and developments in Plato’s philosophy.  Dr. Maria Fedoryka is well known for her work in the phenomenological approach to philosophy made famous in Catholic circles by Pope Paul II.  Dr. Joseph Trabbic is highly knowledgeable in continental philosophy. I myself have written several books on Aristotle and published articles on Hume, Plato, Aquinas, and Locke, among others.  All of us have a solid grounding in the philosophies of St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas.  As the numbers of students at the university and in the major grow, we expect to continue adding talented philosophers to our faculty, including a new hire for the Fall of 2014.  I should add that Ambassador Michael Novak teaches courses in philosophy as a Visiting Professor, and Fr. Robert McTeigue, SJ, offers compelling and very popular courses on medical ethics and classical rhetoric.


Because students can work closely with us, in small seminars, reading groups, and directed study, you will get personal attention here.   There are many opportunities to associate with our faculty and become friends of professors outside the class environment.   You can take your studies as far as you wish, and our best students have gone on to study at some of the best graduate programs around the world, including the Catholic University of America, the University of Arizona, Cambridge University, and the University of St. Thomas.

We frequently have significant philosophers and important Catholic intellectuals visit campus.  In only the last year, for example, our students could hear lectures by John Rist (Toronto, Cambridge);  John Haldane (St. Andrews); Fr. Kevin Flannery, SJ (Gregorian); Russ Hittinger (Tulsa); and Ed Feser (Pasadena).   In the fall, the eminent philosopher Roger Scruton (Oxford, St. Andrews) will be a Scholar-in-Residence.  A vibrant Philosophy Club and local chapter of the national philosophical honor society, Phi Sigma Tau, round out the program by sponsoring event, discussions, and talks.

If you have not visited our campus, please consider scheduling a tour of our facilities. A program faculty member will be available to meet with you.   And please do not hesitate to write to me directly if you have any questions about our program or philosophy itself.



Dr. Michael Pakaluk
Chair, Department of Philosophy