"Pied Piper of Philosophy," DeLapp Honored for Teaching Excellence

DeLapp has transformed philosophy into the second-fastest growing major at Converse
DeLapp has transformed philosophy into the second-fastest growing major at Conve

Dr. Kevin DeLapp was recognized by the South Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities (SCICU) consortium with the Excellence in Teaching Award during a dinner ceremony in Columbia, SC on April 8. He is among 20 college professors across the state honored for fostering serious inquiry, critical thinking, and a broader understanding of the world in which we live.

"I admire his keen ability to teach (students) how to wield both their minds and even occasionally a sword."

The Excellence in Teaching awards are presented annually to one nominee from each of the state's private colleges, and include a $3,000 professional development stipend.

While the honorees represent many different academic disciplines and bring a rich diversity of education, experience and interests to campuses, SCICU notes the common threads are woven throughout the group. "They first and foremost are teachers who come to our liberal arts institutions to work one-on-one with students whom they also serve as advisors, mentors and friends. They are dedicated and committed professionals who have worked long and hard to be the best in their particular academic discipline in order to instruct and guide future generations as their life's work. They are value-centered, passionate, creative and caring," says SCICU.

DeLapp joined the Converse College faculty in 2006. He holds the Harold E. Fleming Chair of Philosophy and serves as coordinator of the philosophy program at Converse. He received his bachelor's degree with highest honors from the University of California at Santa Cruz and completed his Ph.D. in philosophy from Duke University. A leading scholar of moral realism, he regularly teaches courses in ethics, Greek and Chinese philosophy, logic, aesthetics, and the philosophy of religion. His new courses have ranged from a philosophical investigation of monsters and monstrosity to the philosophy of truth and lying. He has been a recipient of the Curriculum Innovation Award for his work with first-year programs, and in 2011 he received the Kathryne Amelia Brown Award for excellence in teaching. Dr. DeLapp is also the founder and moderator of the Converse Fencing Club.

Under Delapp's leadership, philosophy has become the second-fastest growing major at Converse. His colleagues praise him for his deeply interdisciplinary approach. Students and colleagues alike praise his unique combination of rigor and a genuinely caring approach; and students say his discussion-driven classrooms encourage them to critically think through vital and sensitive issues. His students have gone on to top-level graduate and professional programs in a wide variety of areas. In addition to philosophy, law, and medicine, students have pursued study in art and art history, aided by Dr. DeLapp's creation of a philosophy and art internship with a major art collection.

President Betsy Fleming praises Dr. DeLapp for his "passionate commitment to helping Converse students develop their own voices and philosophical vision. I admire his keen ability to teach them how to wield both their minds and even occasionally a sword." Vice President for Academic Affairs Jeffrey H. Barker adds that "Dr. DeLapp is an outstanding example of the teacher-scholar-mentor. He inspires students and colleagues alike to take the highest and most creative path."