Discovery in Philosophy


At Whittier College, our student body works in close, active collaboration with professors who are leaders in their fields. Together, this team of learners conducts research projects that push the boundaries of knowledge and inquiry.

For example, select students support faculty members with their professional academic investigations. At other times, it is the faculty which assists the efforts of students in pursuing groundbreaking new research. As a result of these experiences, and with confidence in their own abilities, Whittier students regularly go on to participate in conferences (such as the Southern California Conference on Undergraduate Research) and other academic conclaves across the nation.

Students further interact with faculty members in programs that are part of the College’s Centers of Distinction and take place at Garrett and Hartley Faculty-in-Residence Houses, on-campus residences where professors live for a multi-year term and coordinate and host an array of educational and social activities.

While students at large universities struggle merely to gain face-time with professors, here at Whittier, students interact with the faculty personally and on a daily basis.

Academics in Action

Living in the Moment: Buddhist Temple Retreat Offers Escape From Hassles of Everyday Life

If you are willing to give up make-up, TV, and your iPhone for a week, you may be ready for the Buddhist temple retreat.  Led by Professor of Philosophy Paul Kjellberg, the week-long retreat takes place at a local Hsi Lai Buddhist temple, less than 10 miles from the Whittier College campus. During the week, nearly 50 students, dressed in traditional cream-colored robes, participate in spiritual lectures and discussions, as well as  a series of daily rituals that range from chanting to tai chi to deep meditations, all designed to bring out a sense of simplicity, or as Kjellberg says, “living in the moment.” Read more.

Far From the Ordinary of Home: Classical Greece and Rome Philosophy Course Takes Students Abroad 

"When you travel abroad for the first time, you begin to collect the moments when you realize you’re far from the ordinary of home. For me, it was the moment I walked into the Sistine Chapel where tourists gathered together to look up at that vast, grand ceiling of the Renaissance masterpiece . . . It was visiting the mystical Temple of Poseidon overlooking the Aegean Sea, where the wind was as powerful as forces from the gods. It was the last night in Athens at the farewell dinner, where an old woman grabbed my hand to join her in a traditional Greek dance." Read more.