Associated Colleges Faculty Complete NEH Summer Seminar at SUNY Potsdam

SUNY Potsdam Hosts Annual National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Seminar on 'Animal Minds & Ethics'

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POTSDAM, NY (07/30/2018) Eight faculty members from the Associated Colleges of the St. Lawrence Valley recently completed an intensive interdisciplinary summer seminar through SUNY Potsdam's National Endowment for the Humanities Faculty Development Program.

Each year, SUNY Potsdam offers an NEH Summer Seminar open to faculty from the four area universities, providing them with valuable opportunities to enrich their knowledge of the subjects that they teach and research, by working with distinguished outside experts, studying alongside other scholars and instructors, and undertaking individual projects of their own design.

This year's NEH Summer Seminar was focused on "Animal Minds and Ethics," and was led by visiting professor Dr. Kristin Andrews, of York University in Toronto. Dr. Andrews, who is the York Research Chair in Animal Minds in the Department of Philosophy at York, led a group of eight faculty participants in examining philosophy and animal research from June 19 to July 12.

The participants in this year's NEH Summer Seminar included:

  • Dr. David C. K. Curry, professor of philosophy, SUNY Potsdam
  • Dr. James Donahue, associate professor of English and communication, SUNY Potsdam
  • Karen Gibson, instructor of English and communication, SUNY Potsdam
  • Dr. Wendi Haugh, associate professor of anthropology and African studies, St. Lawrence University
  • Dr. Jeffrey Maynes, assistant professor of philosophy, St. Lawrence University
  • Dr. Timothy Murphy, assistant professor of philosophy, SUNY Potsdam
  • Dr. Gordon Plague, associate professor of biology, SUNY Potsdam
  • Dr. Andreas Wilke, associate professor of psychology, Clarkson University

Andrews led participants in discussions of questions such as whether animals have minds and how we can know, if language is necessary for thought, whether animals know what others think and feel, and whether they have norms or a sense of fairness. The seminar concluded with an exploration of the ethical implications of animal cognition research.

Dr. Geoffrey Clark, a professor of history, organizes the seminar in his role as director of SUNY Potsdam's NEH Faculty Development Program, which for more than 40 years has supported interdisciplinary study and scholarly exchange in the humanities.

To learn more about research and faculty development resources at SUNY Potsdam, visit

About SUNY Potsdam:

Founded in 1816, The State University of New York at Potsdam is one of America's first 50 colleges -- and the oldest institution within SUNY. Now in its third century, SUNY Potsdam is distinguished by a legacy of pioneering programs and educational excellence. The College currently enrolls approximately 3,600 undergraduate and graduate students. Home to the world-renowned Crane School of Music, SUNY Potsdam is known for its challenging liberal arts and sciences core, distinction in teacher training and culture of creativity. To learn more, visit