Professor Spotlight: Dr. Michael Hartsock

Emily Chudzik

Dr. Michael Hartsock has been a part of the philosophy department at Millikin University since 2010. He teaches classes such as philosophy of science and history of philosophy, but his favorite class to teach is an honors freshmen seminar.

“I like to get a hold of the bright and intellectual students early,” said Hartsock. The recently formed Ethics Bowl team grew out of an honors seminar, another reason why he enjoys the seminars. “[Ethics Bowl] is totally student driven. I take them to national and regional competitions. They’re lots of fun.” The competitions are debate style, and there are panels of students who have to make moral arguments based on news stories, cases, etc. The team has competed against large and small universities all across the central region.

Hartsock attended a small school similar to Millikin. “I really enjoyed how I got to know my professors there, and I was interested in doing that as a professor,” Hartsock stated. However, teaching philosophy was not his initial plan. He started out in biology before he went to graduate school for philosophy. It was quite a big change. Once that was decided, he knew what he planned to do. “If you go to grad school in philosophy, there’s only one end game: being a professor.”

In addition to teaching multiple classes and being the faculty advisor for Ethics Bowl, Dr. Hartsock has become the new director of the Honors Program. He will replace current director Dr. Cheryl Chamblin. Since he has taught quite a few honors seminars, he was interested in being more involved in the program itself and decided to apply for the position. As of now, Hartsock does not have any set changes for the program moving forward, but he does have a broad goal in mind. “I want to increase diversity in the program, both in terms of students and the kinds of courses that are offered,” stated Hartsock. There are also some things he would like to see grow. “I’d like to continue to strengthen the community in the program among students and the faculty who teach in it.”

This change in directors should not be a difficult one for honors students, as Hartsock has been heavily involved in the program since he first arrived at Millikin. He is eager to start this position and reconnect with old students. “I am most excited for the opportunity to work closely with all the honors students, particularly the older honors students I don’t get to see as often anymore,” Hartsock said. It will be interesting to watch how the program advances under new and enthusiastic leadership.