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Ramsey appointed associate dean of Barrett at West campus


October 19, 2010

Ramsey Eric Ramsey, an associate professor in Arizona State University’s New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, has been appointed associate dean of Barrett, the Honors College at the West campus.

“We are lucky to have attracted such an excellent teacher, scholar and administrator to this post, one that will oversee the continued growth of Barrett at the West campus,” said Elizabeth Langland, New College dean. “Dr. Ramsey will advance the development of ASU’s West campus as a distinctive and comprehensive campus and one that blends liberal arts, education and business programs with innovative, collaborative and solution-based teaching and research.”

Ramsey’s appointment is actually a return to ASU’s honors college. He served as associate dean and faculty director of Barrett from 2001-05, and since 2005 has been an associate professor in the honors college. He came to ASU’s West campus in 1994 as an assistant professor in communication studies and was appointed associate professor in that department in1999. He continues to serve in that capacity today.

“Honors colleges remain important, in large part, for their ability to allow those students who are willing the opportunity to enhance and enrich what is already wonderful about universities in general,” said Ramsey, a philosopher who earned his Ph.D. from the joint program in philosophy and communication at Purdue University in 1994. “In Barrett, our required two-semester freshman seminar is exemplary in this regard.

“To have special curriculum designed around classic primary texts allows students to join in the conversation with one another by interrogating the texts that are themselves part of the ongoing conversation of humankind. This class is often cited, even long after graduation, by Barrett students as the most memorable and important class of their academic career.”

Recently, USA Today named ASU one of the 100 Best Value Colleges for 2010 and specifically cited Barrett as a factor in the recognition, identifying the honors college as “outstanding.” Barrett students at ASU are free to major in any field offered at any of the university’s four campuses: West, Tempe, Polytechnic, Downtown Phoenix). Unique honors housing is available at all four sites. While the students enrolled within Barrett constitute a single community with a presence on each ASU campus, the trajectories and missions of each contribute to a somewhat different honors experience.

At the West campus, Barrett students are immersed in a small-college environment, including small class size and one-on-one interaction with faculty, while able to enjoy the advantages and resources of a larger research university. Through Barrett, West campus students are involved in research, have access to financial aid, live with other students and more.

“Dr. Ramsey brings a special intellect and an interdisciplinary approach that will be of great benefit to our Barrett students at the West campus,” said Langland. “He is committed to providing wide-ranging and engaging opportunities to our students and presenting them in a meaningful way that casts a focus on the real world and its challenges and its promise.”

Ramsey’s research interests focus on a continental philosophical perspective that deal with questions oconcerning the ethical practice of communication, contributing thought to both theoretical debates and praxis-oriented discussions. He is the author of two books: “Leaving Us to Wonder: An Essay on the Questions Science Can’t Ask” (2005, State University of New York Press, co-authored with Linda Weiner) and “The Long Path to Nearness” (1998, Humanity Books). In addition to book-length studies, he has published essays and book chapters indebted to interdisciplinary study in major journals and currently edits a philosophy and communication book series. He is a co-editor and contributor to

“Experiences Between Philosophy and Communication: Engaging the Philosophical Contributions of Calvin O. Schrag.”

He said he is continually impressed with the enthusiasm of Barrett students.

“One expects their academic success, although at times they even surprise by being insightful in ways one would expect from advanced graduate students,” Ramsey noted. “And yet for me it is their ability to take what they learn, link it with personal passions, and then successfully embark on community-service projects or leading campus groups. Such is always impressive; indeed, it is humbling how much they accomplish besides their studies.”

Ramsey recently directed the relocation and expansion of Barrett on the West campus. The honors college is now located on the second floor of the University Center Building (UCB).

“Students have already taken advantage of the space in ways one might expect,” said the new associate dean.

“However, what I find so wonderful about our new space is having honors students on campus all day. As they read and write on various projects in the Barrett Suite, their presence allows for unplanned but truly wonderful conversations to occur.

“Being together in the new space with their honors classmates who are also committed to university education encourages them that they are not alone in this pursuit. It is the place where they share good company. There is much to be learned from that.”