Follow your passion for Philosophy

Philosophy is the attempt to make rational sense of all things. As such, it tries to discover and explain the ultimate origin, purpose and meaning of everything, especially human existence. For this reason, philosophy is one of life’s most practical pursuits. Philosophy helps in the search for the definitive meaning of life, a pursuit that cannot be avoided if a person is truly interested in living well and finding genuine happiness, both personally and in a chosen profession, vocation or career.

Loras Philosophy majors benefit from a strong values component, with emphasis on refining student’s ethical decision-making. The skills taught complement nearly every other major, helping Philosophy students consistently rank in the top percentiles on exams such as the GRE and LSAT.

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Many Philosophy majors at Loras are committed to research and service to churches in the Dubuque Archdiocese.

Because these students are interested in the ways their faith lives connect with their intellectual interests, they pursue compelling areas of research.

  • During the 2010–2011 academic year, a Philosophy major, Brandon Schetgen, presented papers at two undergraduate philosophy conferences: Truman State University and Creighton University.
  • Three students were members of the Provost’s Top 20 students in the 2009–2010. The Philosophy program typically has at least one student represented among this select group each year.

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Loras Philosophy majors have gone on to enjoy successful careers in various areas. A representative sampling includes the following.

Reflections by Philosophy alumni.

  • Numerous individuals are now serving as ordained priests in the Archdiocese of Dubuque and other neighboring dioceses (Rockford and Madison), as well as becoming professed members of male and female religious communities (Dominicans, Salesians of Don Bosco, Franciscan Friars of the Atonement).
  • Melissa (Zamora) McLaughlin (’06)
    Vice President, Groundswell Communications, Washington, D.C.
  • Jonathon Hanten (‘02)
    Web Developer, Archdiocese of Atlanta, Atlanta, GA
  • Felicia Kruse, Ph.D. (‘83)
    Visiting Professor of Philosophy
    Southern Illinois University Carbondale, IL
  • Peter Zachar, Ph.D. (’86)
    Chair, Department of Psychology
    Auburn University Montgomery, Montgomery, AL
  • Rick Harris (’87)
    Attorney, Finely Law Firm, Des Moines, IA

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Many Internships and study abroad opportunities are available for all Philosophy students.

Internships available

All majors in the division participate in college internship programs offered through the Center for Experiential Learning.

Study Abroad

Majors in this division study abroad in greater numbers than any other major on campus. Our majors have studied in:

  • Ireland
  • Spain
  • England
  • South Africa
  • Rome
  • Asssi
  • Peru

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Student Learning Outcomes
Student Learning Outcomes – Philosophy
1. Understand the principles of critical thinking
2. Understand the major philosophers and philosophical issues in the history of philosophy
3. Understand the key elements of epistemology and the philosophy of being
4. Understand the principle philosophical approaches to the human person and their respective responses to fundamental human concerns.
5. Understand the key ethical theories and their application to ethical dilemmas on the personal, social, and professional levels.
6. Understand the distinctively Catholic elements within Western philosophy.
7. Be able to engage in critical reflection on the work of particular philosophers and on philosophical texts.
8. Be able to synthesize the work of various philosophers and various texts.
9. Be able to engage in cogent argumentation in support of a position.
Major Requirements

Division of Philosophical, Religious, Theological, Social & Cultural Studies
Richard Anderson, Ph.D., Chair Philosophical, Religious, & Theological Studies

The philosophy major has a built-in flexibility which allows students to: double major and connect as closely as possible an interest in philosophy with a major interest in another area, and develop a more personal course of study in philosophy, tailored to a student’s individual interests.

The minor in philosophy is an ideal choice if a student does not have the time to pursue a major in philosophy, but nevertheless is interested in exploring life’s ultimate questions, if only in a preliminary way.

Requirements for the major in Philosophy (B.A.):
A one-hour oral comprehensive exam including a portfolio review (see the Philosophy Program Director for oral examination study guide and further details regarding the portfolio review) are required for program completion. Philosophy majors must successfully complete (with a grade of C or above) courses within the following categories:

Req Course Cr’s
1 L.PHI-150: Logic 3
2 L.PHI-250: Human Identity in Community-AI 3
3 L.PHI-301: Foundational Ethics 3
4 L.PHI-331: Knowledge, Truth, and Reality 3
5 L.PHI-XXX Additional Elective 3
6 L.PHI-XXX: Additional Elective 3
7 L.PHI-XXX: Additional Elective 3
Select two from Req 8 (taking L.PHI-110 or 150 first is strongly recommended)
8 L.PHI-320: Ancient Pilosophy 3
8 L.PHI-321: Medieval Philosophy 3
8 L.PHI-322: Modern Philosophy 3
8 L.PHI-323: Contemporary Philosophy 3
Select one from Req 9
9 L.PHI-311: Business Ethics-AV 3
9 L.PHI-313: Environmental Ethics-AV 3
9 L.PHI-315: Communication Ethics-AV 3
9 L.SMG-270: Ethics in Sport-AV 3
10 L.PHI-490E: Oral Comprehensive Examination 0
30 total required credits

What should be done to prepare for graduate school or teaching philosophy?

When seeking a solid preparation for advanced study in philosophy at the graduate level, as background for a particular profession or vocation, or as preparation for teaching philosophy, it is strongly recommended that (in addition to fulfilling the one-hour oral comprehensive exam and portfolio review requirements) the following courses be used to fulfill philosophy major requirements.

L.PHI-150: Logic
L.PHI-250: Human Identity in Community-AI
L.PHI-301: Foundational Ethics
L.PHI-331: Knowledge, Truth, and Reality
L.PHI-320: Ancient Philosophy
L.PHI-321: Medieval Philosophy
L.PHI-322: Modern Philosophy
L.PHI-323: Contemporary Philosophy
L.PHI-333: Philosophy of God and Religion

One course from the applied ethics group (L.PHI-311: Business Ethics-AV; L.PHI-313: Environmental Ethics-AV; Communication Ethics; SMG 270: Ethics in Sports-AV)

Requirements for the minor in Philosophy:
Philosophy minors must successfully complete (with a grade of C or above) the following courses:

Req Course Cr’s
1 L.PHI-150: Logic 3
2 L.PHI-250: Human Identity in Community-AI 3
3 L.PHI-301: Foundational Ethics 3
4 Elective (strongly recommended): L.PHI-320, 321, 322, or 323 3
5 Additional Elective 3
6 Additional Elective 3
18 total required credits

At Loras, minor programs can be designed to fit individual needs. Following are some suggested sequences for those preparing for careers in law or business.

Suggested minor sequence for pre-law
L.PHI-150: Logic
L.PHI-250: Human Identity in Community-AI
L.PHI-301: Foundational Ethics
Three additional philosophy courses

Suggested minor sequence for business
L.PHI-150: Logic
L.PHI-250: Human Identity in Community-AI
L.PHI-301: Foundational Ethics
L.PHI-311: Business Ethics-AV
Two additional philosophy courses

Suggested minor sequence for ethics concentration
L.PHI-150: Logic
L.PHI-250: Human Identity in Community-AI
L.PHI-301: Foundational Ethics

Three additional philosophy courses from the following courses:
• L.PHI-311: Business Ethics-AV
• L.PHI-313: Environmental Ethics-AV
• L.PHI-315: Communication Ethics-AV
• L.SMG-270: Ethics in Sport-AV

One 3-credit cognate course (i.e., a course from an academic program other than philosophy) may be used for the elective portion of a philosophy major or minor. The course must be related to the student’s main philosophical interest and program of study and must be approved in advance by the Division Chairperson.

L.PHI-225: Art, Beauty & Meaning
L.PHI-311: Business Ethics-AV
L.PHI-313: Environmental Ethics-AV
L.PHI-315: Communication Ethics-AV
L.PHI-235: Science, Faith, and Knowledge (Cross-listed as L.REL-235)

L.PHI-150: Logic
L.PHI-110: Introduction to Philosophy

L.PHI-280: Eastern Philosophy
L.PHI-320: Ancient Philosophy
L.PHI-321: Medieval Philosophy
L.PHI-322: Modern Philosophy
L.PHI-323: Contemporary Philosophy

L.PHI-250: Human Identity in Community-AI
L.PHI-301: Foundational Ethics
L.PHI-331: Knowledge, Truth & Reality
L.PHI-333: Philosophy of God & Religion

Course Descriptions

L.PHI-110: Introduction to Philosophy

An introduction to philosophy, its nature, methodology, principal themes, questions, disagreements, and prominent philosophers, as represented in each of the four major philosophic periods: ancient, medieval, modern, and contemporary. 3 credits.

L.PHI-150: Introduction to Logic

This course will teach students to develop analytical and logical reasoning skills. In addition to surveying the basic principles of informal logic and the identification of informal fallacies, students will be introduced to three formal systems of logic: term logic, propositional logic, and predicate logic. 3 credits.

L.PHI-225: Art, Beauty & Meaning

This course explores the nature of art, the meaning of beauty, and the relationship between the two by consulting selected writings and by directly experiencing and studying specific works of art (and, in some cases, by interacting with the artists who produced them). 3 credits. January term.

L.PHI-235:  Science, Faith, and Knowledge

This course will provide an interdisciplinary theoretical and practical introduction to scientific literacy in the natural, human, and behavioral sciences. It aims to assists students in the construction of intellectual frameworks based in sound reason with which to consider the dynamic relationships among empirical scientific research, philosophical commitments, and theological beliefs. Students will be challenged to engage and assess scientific data as well as critically reflect on its practical, personal, and pastoral applications. This course is cross-listed as L.REL-235. The courses are identical but transcripts will reflect the course number (L.REL or L.PHI) that a student registers for and completes. 3 credits.

L.PHI-250: Human Identity in Community-AI

Philosophic investigation into human identity as a rational and social being, relying upon common experience, culture, and selected findings of the natural, social, and behavioral sciences; attention given to the distinct powers, performances, and place of human beings within the natural order, and insights related to the self and society, including the themes of life, mutual dependence, freedom, unity, knowledge and practical reason, and the afterlife. Prerequisites: L.LIB-100, L.LIB-105, L.LIB-110, and either L.LIB-130, L.LIB-135, or L.LIB-220. 3 credits.

L.PHI-278: Bioethics, Society & Culture

Abortion, assisted reproductive technologies, death and dying, research on human subjects, stem cell research, organ transplants, allocation of resources in a pandemic, and healthcare for the poor are examined through the lenses of philosophical ethics, Catholic moral theology, and law and public policy. Students will interact with healthcare professionals and institutions and advocacy groups, discuss contemporary films, and assess internet websites. May not enroll if have taken L.PHI-319 Neuroethics-AV. 3 credits. January term.

L.PHI-301: Foundational Ethics

This course will examine the basic questions of morality and the answers that have been developed within the Western philosophical and Christian theological traditions. Important historical and contemporary primary source material will be examined. This course is cross-listed as REL 301. The courses are identical but transcripts will reflect the course number (L.PHI or L.REL) that a student registers for and completes. Course not available to first year students. 3 credits.

L.PHI-311: Business Ethics-AV

This course studies basic moral principles and theories as they apply in the evaluation of the moral issues that arise in the three basic kinds of business relationships: between the employee and the firm, between the firm and other economic agents, and between the firm and various non-business groups. 3 credits. Prerequisites: L.LIB-100, L.LIB-105, L.LIB­110, and one course from L.LIB-130, L.LIB-135, or L.LIB-220. 3 credits.

L.PHI-313: Environmental Ethics-AV

This course studies basic moral principles and theories as they apply in the evaluation of the moral issues that arise when human beings, both individually and collectively, interact with the environment, particularly in the areas of pollution and resource depletion. Prerequisites: L.LIB-100, L.LIB-105, L.LIB-110, and one course from L.LIB-130, L.LIB­135, or L.LIB-220. 3 credits.

L.PHI-315: Communication Ethics-AV

This course studies basic moral principles and theories as they apply in the evaluation of the moral issues that arise in media communications (e.g., truth, privacy, confidentiality, conflicts of interests, antisocial behavior, morally offensive content, responsibility to juveniles, social justice, and stereotypes). Prerequisites: L.LIB-100, L.LIB-105, L.LIB-110, and one course from L.LIB-130, L.LIB-135, or L.LIB-220. 3 credits.

L.PHI-319: Neuroethics-AV

A survey of ethical issues arising in contemporary work in neuroscience. Topics include predictive testing for neurological disorders; implications for abortion, embryonic stem cell research, and organ procurement of neurological criteria for the beginning and end of life; medical treatment decisions for brain injured persons with severely compromised consciousness; brain activity and free will; abnormal brain activity and culpability for criminal actions; enhancement of brain function; neuroimaging and privacy; and the ethics of neurological research with animal and human subjects. Prerequisites: L.LIB-100, L.LIB­105, L.LIB-110, and one course from L.LIB-130, L.LIB-135, L.LIB-220. May not enroll if have taken L.PHI-278: Bioethics, Society and Culture. 3 credits.

L.PHI-320: Ancient Philosophy

A survey of Western philosophy in ancient Greek and Roman cultures. Central issues include: integration of poetic and mythic worldviews with critical thought; themes of “one and the many” and “part and whole” amid material and immaterial existence; determination, freedom, chance, and fate; the inclination toward human happiness; cognitive access to “reality” and the acts of opinion, belief, and knowledge. L.PHI-110 or L.PHI-150 strongly recommended, but not required. 3 credits.

L.PHI-321: Medieval Philosophy

A survey of Christian, Jewish and Islamic philosophy from the early middle ages through Renaissance scholasticism, with particular attention to the work of Thomas Aquinas. Either L.PHI-110 or L.PHI-150 strongly recommended, but not required. 3 credits.

L.PHI-322: Modern Philosophy

Survey of philosophical thought during the 17th and 18th centuries, noting emphases upon methodology, mathematics, science, and progress by Descartes, Hobbes, Spinoza, Leibniz, Locke, Berkeley, Hume, and Kant. These thinkers continue to influence present attitudes toward the starting point and structure of knowledge, the possibility of metaphysics, the relation of the world to God, and our own human composition, freedom, and destiny. Either L.PHI-110 or L.PHI-150 strongly recommended, but not required. 3 credits.

L.PHI-323: Contemporary Philosophy

An examination of the principal views of God, humanity, and the world as advanced by major contemporary philosophers and philosophical movements, including existentialism and phenomenology, American pragmatic and instrumentalist philosophy, analytic and positivist philosophy, dialectical thought. Either L.PHI-110 or L.PHI-150 strongly recommended, but not required. 3 credits.

L.PHI-331: Knowledge, Truth & Reality

The study of what and how things exist in the world (metaphysics/philosophy of being), and how we cognitively experience and understand these things (epistemology/philosophy of knowledge); includes notions of being in itself, potency and actuality; causality; the properties of unity, good, and beauty; the nature of evil; intellect and sense perception; truth and falsity; and subjective states of certainty, doubt, ignorance, and error. Prerequisite: Either L.PHI-110 or L.PHI-150; at least one historical sequence course recommended but not required. 3 credits.

L.PHI-333: Philosophy of God & Religion

An examination of attempts to justify belief in the existence of God, the divine nature and attributes, the problem of evil, religious experience, the status of religious language, and divine action in the world, using historical, contemporary, and multicultural sources. Prerequisite: Either L.PHI-110 or L.PHI-150. At least one of the historical sequence courses strongly recommended but not required. 3 credits.

L.PHI-345: Sustainability Ethics

This course will integrate environmental ethics, environmental science, and community-based learning in order to foster independent learning, creative inquiry, and applied ethical reasoning in the area of sustainability. The course will introduce systems thinking and engage the tradition of American environmentalism with particular attention to the tensions between ‘conservationist’ and ‘preservationist’ approaches. 3 credits.

L.PHI-348: Philosophy of Science

Examination of basic problems about the nature, goals, and methods of scientific inquiry in contrast to philosophy; analysis of scientific theories in terms of the role of mathematics, observation, causality, and demonstration; and examination of the contrast between natural and social sciences. 3 credits.

L.PHI-376: Philosophy and the Rise of Christianity-AC

This study travel course that traces how Christian thought led to new syntheses in regions where love for wisdom has not been left in ruins. Initial class meetings at Loras to engage primary texts, then travel to Sicily and Rome where on site visitation is integrated with reflection upon themes including: soul, body and the person; love and the will; women’s and men’s roles in political society; moral systems and virtue;

God’s providence and power. This course is cross-listed as L.CTL-265. The courses are identical but transcripts will reflect the course number (L.PHI or L.CTL) that a student registers for and completes.  L.PHI-100 or L.PHI-220, or one other philosophy or Catholic theology course are recommended but not required. Contact the CEL/course instructor for iteration-specific details. 3 credits. January term.

L.PHI-490E: Oral Comprehensive Examination

A placeholder course which indicates attempt and completion of the required comprehensive oral examination in front of philosophy faculty members. 0 credits. Pass/fail only.

RELATED COURSES: Catholic Studies, Religious Studies


After receiving your degree from Loras, your career could take off into one of these fields:

  • Lawyer
  • University professor
  • Restaurant manager
  • Catholic priest
  • Bookstore manager
  • Professional Singer-Songwriter
  • Software Designer
Loras College Department Staff

Kristin Anderson-Bricker, Ph.D.
Professor of History
563.588.7403 |
Curriculum Vitae

Kristin Anderson-Bricker completed a doctorate at Syracuse University in United States social and cultural history with specialties in race, gender and social movements. Upon graduation in 1997, she accepted a position at Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa. Anderson-Bricker teaches topical courses covering American history from the late nineteenth century through to the present. She also teaches on the American West, Native Americans in the Upper Mississippi River Valley, Women’s History, sexuality, African Americans and historical methods (research and teaching).

She is currently at work on a book manuscript, Going Beyond the Rules: Catholic Young Adults Making Sexual Decisions, designed to initiate between students a conversation about sex to assist them in determining the values they want to apply to their choices about sex.

Her service work has focused on diversity initiatives including committee chair responsibilities, gender equity and a civil discourse initiative (DuTalk). Anderson-Bricker has directed the Honors Program and served on many committees including Rank and Tenure, Faculty Senate and First Year Experience. In addition to serving on the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library Association’s travel grant committee and assessing manuscripts for the State Historical Society of Iowa, she has served the profession as a program reviewer for the National Endowment for the Humanities, Humanities Iowa, Dubuque County Historical Society and Effigy Mounds National Monument.

Richard Anderson, Ph.D.
Professor of Sociology
563.588.7177 |

Christopher Budzisz, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Politics
Division Chair of Philosophical, Theological, Social, & Cultural Studies
563.588.7279 |

Professor Budzisz joined the Loras College Politics program in 2000, with a teaching emphasis on constitutional law, American government and institutions and political philosophy, as well as elections and political behavior. As a 2007 Fulbright Scholar, Budzisz taught in the International Relations Faculty at Chernivtsi National University in Chernivtsi, Ukraine. His research interests center around constitutional law, political thought and public policy. He has been published in PS: Political Science and Politics, and in the edited volume Engaging the Public: How Government and the Media Can Reinvigorate American Democracy.

Beyond his teaching and research interests, Budzisz is director and coach of the Loras College Moot Court program. He is also a past winner of the Mike and Linda Budde Excellence in Teaching Award. Professor Budzisz serves as the Director of the Loras College Poll, a bi-partisan public opinion survey focused on politics and society that was launched spring 2014

Roman Ciapalo, Ph.D.
Professor of Philosophy
563.588.7434 |

Roman T. Ciapalo, Ph.D. (Loyola University Chicago) has taught at Loras College since 1982. He has offered a variety of courses, including Ancient Philosophy, Contemporary Philosophy, and Philosophy of the Human Person, but in recent years has concentrated on teaching a variety of applied ethics courses, among them, Business Ethics, Environmental Ethics, Media Communication Ethics, and Ethics in Sports.

His research interests include the philosophy of Gregory Skovoroda (18thcentury Ukrainian philosopher) and the intersection of Catholic Social Teaching with issues in sports and athletics. He has published one book and several articles, and has served as translator/editor of Ukrainian-language translations of two business ethics textbooks. He also serves as Faculty Advisor to the Loras Hockey Club, Loras Philosophy Club, and Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity. He has lectured nationally and internationally in New Delhi, India, Bratislava, Slovak Republic, and Lviv and Kiev, Ukraine. He has been the recipient of a Fulbright-Hays Summer Seminar to Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia and was a Fulbright Scholar at Lviv State University in Ukraine during the 1993-94 academic year.

He travels to Ukraine each summer to teach business ethics courses for various MBA Programs, including the Lviv Institute of Management and Kiev-Mohyla University, and has conducted workshops on “Ethics in the Public Sector” for the city management teams of Dubuque, Cedar Rapids, and Lviv, Ukraine. During the past two summers, he has lectured at the annual two-week long “Philosophy Summer School” conducted by Ukrainian Catholic University in Lviv, Ukraine.

He urges his Philosophy advisees to see philosophy as a way of life, rather than merely an academic discipline to be mastered, and to employ it in their search for meaning and purpose in their lives. Beginning with the 2014-2015 academic year, he will hold the Andrew P. Studdert Endowed Chair in Business Ethics and Crisis Leadership.

David Cochran, Ph.D.
Professor of Politics
Director of the Archbishop Kucera Center
563.588.7262 |
Curriculum Vitae

Originally from Lubbock, Texas, Dr. Cochran received his B.A. from Drew University and his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Maryland. His primary teaching and research areas are religion, race, and ethnicity in American politics; political thought; war and peace; and Irish studies. Cochran is a winner of the college’s two campus-wide teaching and leadership awards. In addition to a wide array of articles and book chapters, he is the author or co-author of four books and the co-editor of a fifth. In addition to his work in the Politics Program, Cochran directs the college’s Archbishop Kucera Center for Catholic Intellectual and Spiritual Life.

Benjamin Darr, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Politics
563.588.7507 |

Dr. Darr began teaching at Loras College in the fall of 2012, and offers courses in both comparative politics and world politics. He is particularly interested in environmental politics, the politics of the global economy, nationalism and China studies. Dr. Darr received his Ph.D. from the University of Iowa in 2011, and his dissertation examined the state-led sources of Chinese nationalism and national identity. He has co-authored articles in the Journal of Contemporary China and in Communist and Post-Communist Studies.

John Eby, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of History
Chairperson for Faculty Senate
563.588.4929 |

Lisa Garoutte, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Sociology
563.588.7022 |

Janine Idziak, Ph.D.
Adjunct Professor of Philosophy
Director of Bioethics Center
563.588.7749 |

Dr. Idziak’s areas of interest include ethics, medieval philosophy, and the philosophy of God and religion. She received A.B., M.A., and Ph.D. degrees in philosophy from the University of Michigan and subsequently earned a M.A. in theology from the University of Notre Dame. Her courses of instruction include Foundational Ethics, The Theory and Practice of Bioethics, Ethics and the New Genetics, Neuroethics, Ethics in Philosophy, Literature and Film, the Philosophy of God and Religion, Medieval Philosophy, and The Catholic Heritage.

Dr. Idziak’s research work in ethical theory has focused on the history of divine command ethics. She has held postdoctoral research appointments at the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies (PIMS) in Toronto and at the Medieval Institute of the University of Notre Dame. Her research has been funded by grants from PIMS, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the American Council of Learned Societies. She is the editor of Divine Command Morality: Historical and Contemporary Readings, and has published a Latin edition and English translation of the most significant medieval text on this ethical theory, Andrew of Neufchateau, O.F.M., Questions on an Ethics of Divine Commands.

In the area of applied ethics, Dr. Idziak’s work focuses on bioethics. She is founding director of Loras’ Bioethics Center, which provides services to the community locally and within the State of Iowa. She currently serves as Health Care Ethics Consultant and chair of the Medical-Moral Commission for the Archdiocese of Dubuque; as chair of the ethics committee at Stonehill Franciscan Services in Dubuque; and as a member of the Institutional Ethics Committee, the Clinical Ethics Committee, and the IRB at Mercy Medical Center in Dubuque. Within the State of Iowa, she serves on the Board and IRB of the John Paul II Medical Research Institute in Iowa City and on the Data and Safety Monitoring Committee for NewLink Genetics in Ames. She previously served on the Pandemic Ethics Committee of the Iowa Department of Public Health and, at the national level, on the Ethics Commission and in the House of Delegates of the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging (AAHSA). Dr. Idziak’s community work in bioethics has led to the publication of three books: Ethical Dilemmas in Allied Health, Ethical Dilemmas in Long Term Care, and Organizational Ethics in Senior Health Care Services. Her community service has been recognized by a national level Trustee of the Year award from AAHSA.

Rev. William Joensen, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Philosophy
Dean of Campus Spiritual Life
563.588.7463 |

Fr. Joensen teaches courses in the history of philosophy (Ancient and Modern), philosophy of being (metaphysics), philosophy of knowledge (epistemology), philosophy of the human person and courses in our Catholic Identity mission course category.

As academic advisor to Philosophy majors, Fr. Joensen tries to help students see how their awakening intellectual passions and life and work experiences might be indications of worthy professional pursuits. He also strives to help them appreciate how habits of mind, such as analytical thinking and critical reflection, and the ability to communicate ideas lucidly in written and spoken form will serve them all their lives.

As Dean of Campus Spiritual Life, he promotes the Catholic mission and identity of the College through the Faith and Values Education Committee and other avenues, including student-development programming. He is also chaplain to the Daughters of Isabella group of Catholic Loras Duhawk women, and offers individual spiritual direction to students and others.

Each summer, Fr. Joensen participates as a faculty member at the Tertio Milllennio Seminar in Krakow, Poland, which brings together European and American young adults to study Catholic social and moral teaching in the spirit of Blessed Pope John Paul II. He is also a regular contributor of scriptural and seasonal reflections to Magnificat®, a Catholic spiritual resource.

Mark Kehren, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of History
563.588.7633 |

Jacob Kohlhaas, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Moral Theology
563.588.7308 |

Dr. Kohlhaas received his Ph.D. in Theology from Duquesne University where his dissertation considered contemporary Catholic theological accounts of parenthood and the nature of kinship within the Christian tradition. He received his M.A. in Doctrine, with a minor in History, at Catholic Theological Union where his thesis compared and contrasted developments in Catholic and Lutheran perspectives on human sexuality since the mid-twentieth century. Dr. Kohlhaas teaches courses on Christian morality and the Catholic moral tradition including Introduction to Christian Values, Issues in Christian Ethics, Christian Sexual Morality and Catholic Social Teaching as well as Introduction to Theology and Religious Studies and Social Justice Today. Dr. Kohlhaas’ research centers on questions of Theological Anthropology, particularly the moral aspects of the human need and capacity for relationships. This has led to specific research in the areas of sexual ethics, family ethics, environmental ethics, and theologies of children and parenthood.

Christoffer Lammer-Heindel, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Philosophy
563.588.7733 |

Within the Philosophy Program, Dr. Lammer-Heindel teaches Critical Reasoning, Introduction to Philosophy, Contemporary Philosophy, and the Philosophy of Science. He also teaches Democracy and Global Diversity and Catholicism and Taoism, both of which are general education courses. His academic expertise includes analytic ethics and contemporary social and political philosophy. His research interests pertain to issues surrounding the nature of moral duties and obligations, especially institutionally or collectively held moral duties and obligations, as well as sustainability ethics. He is the author of the critical reasoning handbook, which is used in the Modes of Inquiry course.

Amanda Osheim, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Practical Theology
Director of Breitbach Catholic Thinkers and Leaders Program
563.588.7506 |

Dr. Osheim received her doctorate in systematic theology from Boston College. Her courses include Introduction to Religious Studies and Theology; Foundations for Ministry; God’s Literature; Empowered Catholic Women, The Four Marks, and Communication for Communion. Dr. Osheim’s particular interest is ecclesiology, which is the study of the church’s identity and mission. She also collaborates with the Archdiocese of Dubuque to develop programs that meet the growing need for lay leadership in parishes.

Her research focuses on discernment of the Holy Spirit within the church; development of church doctrine and practice; and the evolving role of lay ministers in the church’s life. Dr. Osheim is an editor and contributor at Other recent publications include: “On Our Pilgrim Way [Responses to ‘Evangelii Gaudium’].” America: The National Catholic Review vol.210 no. 1 (January 6-13, 2014); “Theology: serving the conversation.” C21 Resources, Fall 2013, p. 37.; “The Local Church in Dialogue: Toward an Orthopraxis of Reception.” In Visions of Hope: Emerging Theologians and the Future of the Church. Kevin J. Ahern, ed. Orbis Books, 2012.

Kathrin Parks, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Sociology
563.588.7819 |

David Pitt, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Theology
563.588.7324 |

Dr. Pitt is trained as a liturgical historian and as a liturgical musician. His Ph.D. in Theology (Liturgical Studies) is from the University of Notre Dame, Indiana, where he researched the reform of the rite for adult initiation in the Roman Catholic Church following the Second Vatican Council. His M.A. in Liturgical Music (Organ Performance and Composition) is from St. John’s University, Minnesota. These academic interests guide his teaching and his research, motivating him to investigate areas in which the Tradition of the Church might inform and direct contemporary pastoral practice. He co-edited A Living Tradition: Essays on the Intersection of Liturgical History and Pastoral Practice (Liturgical Press, 2012). Author of over 45 essays, article, and book reviews, he has especially focused on the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA), the liturgical year, issues in the performance of liturgical music, and the music of Olivier Messiaen. Pitt held the 2013-2014 John Cardinal O’Connor Chair for Catholic Thought, during which time he was researching the history of Eucharistic praying. Pitt is actively involved in liturgical music ministry, currently serving as Organist at St. John’s Episcopal Church. He has led pastoral workshops and given organ concerts and recitals across the United States and in Canada.

John Waldmeir
Professor of Religious Studies
563.588.7966 |

Dr. Waldmeir teaches courses on religion and culture, sacred scripture, and world religions. A member of the Loras faculty for sixteen years, he has published four books, most recently Cathedrals of Bone, The Role of the Body in Contemporary Catholic Literature. A fifth book on the contemporary Catholic Church in Ireland, is forthcoming. He has held the annual John Cardinal O’Connor Chair for Catholic Studies twice at Loras, and recently won the Cardinal Newman Award for outstanding campus teaching and leadership.

Rev. Douglas Wathier, S.T.D.
Interim Vice-President for Academic Affairs
Professor of Theology
Director of Catholic Thinkers and Leaders Program
563.588.7013 |

Fr. Wathier received S.T.D. (Sacrae Theologiae Doctor) from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, with an emphasis on the transmission of revelation and the act of faith. He teaches courses in the Catholic Thinkers and Leaders Program, including Character and the Catholic Intellectual Tradition; The Once and Future Church; The Displaced Person: Human Dignity and Human Rights; Councils, Creeds and Culture; Belief and Unbelief and the Good Life; and Leadership Seminar for Social Justice. He also teaches christology and ecclesiology in the graduate program, offers J-term courses with travel in Germany and Italy. Fr. Wathier is the Director of the Catholic Thinkers and Leaders Program, and serves as an instructor in the Archdiocese of Dubuque’s Deacon Formation Program.

Fr. Wathier’s academic interests include Catholic Identity in Higher Education. He has been invited to give presentations about this topic at Arizona State University and Fordham University. He also has given a presentation about the reception of revelation and the clerical abuse scandal at Georgetown University.

Lee Zhu, Ph.D.
Professor of History
563.588.7199 |

Dr. Lee S. Zhu was born in China. He received his doctorate degree from the State University of New York at Stony Brook. He teaches East Asian History, Russian history and the history of the Second World War and the Cold War. His research interests center on the history of the Soviet Union during the Stalin period and the history of the People’s Republic of China during the Mao years. Dr. Lee conducted research in archives in Moscow, Shanghai and Beijing, and he published several scholarly articles examining the impact of the Communist ideology on Soviet and Chinese education. He took students on summer research trips and January-term trips to China.