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Dr. Mike Austin Named 2022 EKU Foundation Professor

EKU President David McFaddin with Dr. Mike Austin

Dr. Mike Austin has earned Eastern Kentucky University’s highest honor for teaching excellence. The EKU Society of Foundation Professors recognizes faculty members who are “creative, self-motivated exemplars of the ideal college professor.” Austin was recognized as one of the newest Foundation Professors during a dinner on May 3 in the EKU Center for the Arts Black Box Theatre.

Dr. Mike Austin serves as professor of philosophy and religious studies and has taught at EKU since 2004. 

“It is an honor to introduce Mike as one of our newest Foundation Professors,” said Dr. Charlotte Rich in her introduction of Austin. “When I saw Mike’s application for the Foundation Professorship and learned more about his teaching, scholarship and service at EKU, I knew I was seeing someone who epitomizes what a Foundation Professor is about.” 

Austin grew up in a family of educators who placed education as an important value. His father was an elementary school principal and his mother served in the school system as a social worker. After earning a bachelor’s degree in political science from Kansas State University, he earned his master’s degree in philosophy from Biola University, and a Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Colorado at Boulder. He said he chose to study philosophy because he wanted to help students explore important questions. 

Since his arrival at EKU, Austin has authored several books, countless articles and reviews in the area of ethics. His extensive teaching record reveals his care for students’ learning and growth. His development of a multi-week character experiment in his beginning ethics course demonstrates his thoughtful approach, noting, “Students are able to test the different accounts of character and cultivation of virtue we are studying in the laboratory of their daily lives.” 

(Text adapted from original EKU press release:

Published on May 31, 2022

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