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Dr. Peg Falls-Corbitt Named Pittman Distinguished Professor of Philosophy

Falls-Corbitt, Peg - 20131021 - 10445711CONWAY, Ark. (March 29, 2016) – Hendrix College philosophy professor Dr. Peg Falls-Corbitt was recently named Virginia A. McCormick Pittman Distinguished Professor of Philosophy.

The Virginia A. McCormick Pittman Distinguished Professorship was established in 1981 by Dr. Margaret Pittman, a 1923 Hendrix graduate, a research scientist who was the first woman to head a major research lab at the National Institutes of Health and who helped develop the vaccines for typhoid, cholera and whooping cough. 

“I am overwhelmed by the honor of being named Hendrix College’s Virginia A. McCormick Pittman Distinguished Professor of Philosophy,” said Falls-Corbitt. “Teaching philosophy is my passion, and even as I have done the work that carries administrative titles, it is the teaching that I hold dearest, the teaching that I think of as my highest calling. So no title could mean more to me than a distinguished professorship, and I am deeply humbled that my colleagues see me in this light. It’s an honor that one has to hope to grow into deserving.”

Falls-Corbitt was named Associate Provost for Engaged Learning at Hendrix in 2009.

“Peg was a member of the committee charged in 2002 with defining the Hendrix Odyssey Program, and more recently she has served as a critical contributor to the first-year common course, The Engaged Citizen. She has provided service-learning opportunities for students for many years. Perhaps most importantly, Peg has shared with her colleagues her expertise in experiential learning pedagogy and critical reflection,” said Hendrix politics professor Dr. Peter Gess, director of the Hendrix Odyssey and International Programs. Gess will succeed Falls-Corbitt as Associate Provost for Engaged Learning later this summer. “Her leadership as Associate Provost has truly created an engaged learning ethos at Hendrix as she has helped shape a vast array of high-impact, educational practices. I have been so very fortunate to have Peg as a wonderful mentor.”

Additionally, Falls-Corbitt has directed Hendrix’s Miller Center for Vocation, Ethics, and Calling since its beginnings in 2002 as a program supported by a Lilly Endowment grant for Programs in the Theological Exploration of Vocation.

Falls-Corbitt graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Rhodes College and completed her master’s degree and Ph.D. in philosophy from Vanderbilt University. She came to Hendrix in 1987, having taught previously at Saint Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Indiana and Graceland College in Lamoni, Iowa.

Her undergraduate alma mater and all three institutions where she has taught are church-related liberal arts colleges, she noted.

“I feel, and have been able to follow, a strong commitment to selective church-related liberal arts colleges,” she said. “In such environments students are nurtured in their integration of intellectual aims and spiritual aspirations and encouraged to develop ethical sensibilities in their pursuit of knowledge. Helping nurture Hendrix’s relationship to the United Methodist Church was a central piece of the Lilly grant and the Miller Center’s work that called to me.”

Falls-Corbitt has been “a tireless champion for continuing to strengthen the College’s connection to the church,” said Rev. J. Wayne Clark, Associate Vice President for Development and Dean of the Chapel.

“She recognizes the importance of our history as a church-related liberal arts college and the uniqueness of that heritage today,” said Clark.

“I feel very fortunate to have worked with Peg for more than 15 years. Her brilliant mind and passion for helping people discern their vocation have always been inspirational for me,” Clark added. “I often envy her approach to articulating and dealing with programs and issues and have learned so much from her.”

In all three of her teaching appointments, Falls-Corbitt has been instrumental in the development of interdisciplinary and cross-disciplinary programs for enhancing the teaching of the liberal arts. 

“I believe interdisciplinary thought and cross-disciplinary reach are central achievements of a liberal arts education,” she said. “So I have worked to support each of the interdisciplinary first-year courses that have anchored Hendrix’s Collegiate Center in my time here: first Western Intellectual Traditions, then Journeys, and now The Engaged Citizen.”

She is the recipient of the Maria Pieta Award for Teaching Excellence at Saint Mary’s College (1986) and the United Methodist General Board of Education Exemplary Teacher Award at Hendrix (2001).

Falls-Corbitt is the author of “Prolegomena to Any Postmodern Hope for the Church-Related College,” in Professing in the Postmodern Academy:  Faculty and the Future of the Church-Related College, a collection of essays by participants in the Lilly Endowment’s Rhodes Consultation on the Future of the Church Related College. 

Her primary areas of research involve the application of Kantian ethics to social issues. She is the author of several articles on the ethics of punishment including “Retribution, Reciprocity and Respect for Persons,” in Law and Philosophy andAgainst the Death Penalty: A Christian Stance in a Secular World,” in The Christian Century.

Falls-Corbitt will be officially honored as Virginia A. McCormick Pittman Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at a special event in the 2016-2017 academic year.

About Hendrix College

Hendrix College is a private liberal arts college in Conway, Arkansas. Founded in 1876 and affiliated with the United Methodist Church since 1884, Hendrix is featured in Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think about Colleges and is nationally recognized in numerous college guides, lists, and rankings for academic quality, community, innovation, and value. For more information, visit