Why did you choose to major in philosophy?
I had started reading philosophy in high school and felt very drawn to it — and, to my surprise, I eventually found out that you could major in philosophy in college! And, not just that, but that NIU, the college nearest me, had a strong philosophy department with a nationally-recognized faculty.
From the beginning, NIU Philosophy showed an active interest in my academic career, and I was given one-on-one advising in course selection at the very start. These first philosophy courses confirmed my suspicion that I wanted to continue reading and studying philosophy seriously, and so choosing philosophy as my major followed shortly thereafter.
How did NIU Philosophy help prepare you for your doctoral program/career in philosophy?
My philosophical training in the context of NIU’s undergraduate program led directly to my admission to the Ph.D. program in Ancient Philosophy at Northwestern University. NIU Philosophy worked closely with me on developing a course of study that would make me a competitive candidate for programs in ancient philosophy, and the skillset I acquired is one that I use daily in my research and teaching at Northwestern.
In addition, my work in classical languages is not unrelated to the work I did in philosophy at NIU. The training I had in clear, precise analytical reasoning is invaluable to me as a scholar in ancient philosophy and as a teacher of Latin language.
What do you feel is special about NIU Philosophy?
NIU Philosophy is a small, friendly, exciting academic home in the context of a large research university. Faculty genuinely care about their students and their intellectual development, and place high value on good teaching. The community is kind, close-knit, and vibrant. The undergraduates are included as much as the graduate students, and I for one benefited from this greatly. As an undergraduate you are able to take part in a very high level of intellectual inquiry without the usual bars inhibiting your access to those discussions and research. Professors and graduate students are excited to share with you what they're working on and what they're passionate about.
Why would you recommend NIU Philosophy to other students?
NIU Philosophy is a haven for the intellectually curious. If you're the kind of person who wants to learn more about others' and your own thinking in a friendly, intellectually honest environment of other inquirers, you'll find a home here. The philosophy major is an excellent major on its own or in conjunction with another degree (there are entire fields of philosophy of psychology, biology, chemistry, physics, religion, science, literature, etc.!) — and that's not even to mention the flexibility and value of a philosophy minor. In any case, NIU Philosophy students will be rewarded for their efforts in this challenging major or minor with greater intellectual depth, sophistication, and precision in their thinking than they had at the outset: a precious gift all on its own, no matter their subsequent career path or further academic goals.
Instructor (full-time, tenure-track), Culver Academies. Joint appointment: Instructor in Latin, Department of World Languages and Cultures, and Instructor in Ethics, Department of Leadership Education.
Mr. Dutmer's research focuses on ancient ethics and political philosophy. His dissertation was on Cicero's retrospective ideal political philosophy in his Republic and Laws.
Honors and Awards
Teacher of the Year Award, Indiana Classical Conference, 2020
Robert Hainds Phi Beta Kappa Award, Northern Illinois University, 2012
Ph.D., philosophy, Northwestern University, 2019
M.A., philosophy, Northwestern University, 2014
B.A., philosophy, summa cum laude, Northern Illinois University, 2012