By Nethan Crew
Dr. Stefan Forrester is the only philosophy professor at the University of Montevallo. Forrester teaches philosophy courses as well as some cross-listed, team-taught classes with other professors. One of these classes in particular is “Global Environmental Perspectives in Ethics and Public Policy,” cross-listed with Environmental Studies 401 and Political Science 411. This class goes over many topics covering the ethics of public policies when it comes to the government’s involvement with the preservation of the environment.
Dr. Forrester grew up in Wood River, Ill. and went to Southern Illinois University Edwardsville for his bachelor’s in philosophy, Southern Illinois University Carbondale for his master’s in poetry, University of Oklahoma for his master’s in philosophy and University of Rochester for his doctorate in philosophy. Forrester has worked at the University of Montevallo since 2007 and has enjoyed his time here, saying, “We’re able to actually interact and have meaningful interchanges, which I just don’t think is possible in other larger universities.”
Dr. Forrester has been the only philosophy teacher at the university since Jan. 2020 when Dr. Patton retired mid-year. Forrester then assumed new responsibilities planning the philosophy program and “doing all the other things that program coordinators do.” Forrester said, “It’s been a slow adjustment, kind of learning how to do various things like assessment and other duties that program coordinators have to do. But I do feel like students would benefit a lot more from more than one philosophy professor.”
Forrester is very passionate about the subject of philosophy. He believes that the humanities, such as English and philosophy, are offered to teach how to be more human, saying, “I do think that there’s some real opportunity in college that you don’t get in other times during your life to take classes like philosophy where you’re really interested in or you’re focused on these important questions in life, like the ones we talked about in our class, like, ‘what does it mean to be a good person for real, not just in the abstract and not just sort of as a passing thought, but really, what does it mean?’”
Forrester also has a few goals for himself. He is in religious studies through Athens State University so that in the coming years he can offer religion classes alongside philosophy. He also is attempting to work with the university and some state boards with the possibility of eventually offering a philosophy major at UM. He’s been slowly working on it since 2013 and has had major complications with getting it offered by the school, mainly because of a lack of student interest, according to past surveys. With this, he also wants to put the philosophy minor into more useful contact with other majors on campus. He has already started on this by offering, whenever possible, a team-taught cross-listed class in a variety of subjects including environmental studies and art. Forrester wants this to branch out slowly but surely to allow for the possibility of more students to acquire a philosophy minor when they graduate.
One other goal of Forrester’s is to eventually have a crossword, that he has written, be posted in the “New York Times.” Forrester is an avid crossword solver and writer for the Montevallo Chamber of Commerce’s “Chamber Chatter” newsletter. Forrester had a love for crosswords and crossword solving since his early teens, but didn’t start making them until Cheryl Patton asked him to make puzzles for the newsletter back in 2016, when she was the President of the Montevallo Chamber of Commerce.