Alumni Spotlight

Will Wilkinson

Will Wilkinson

How did NIU Philosophy help prepare you for what you’re doing now?

Ordinary debates about politics and policy are larded with moralizing rhetoric, unstated assumptions, and digressive asides. Studying philosophy at NIU taught me how to home in on the often hidden structure of arguments, and then to evaluate them in terms of rational merit. I use this training every day as I try to help readers of The Economist cut through the noise and make sense of debates over the policies that shape their lives.

What do you feel is special about NIU Philosophy?

I wasn'’'t a philosophy major as an undergrad. NIU's M.A. program gave me the attention and preparation I needed to not only to get into a good Ph.D. program, but to thrive once there.

Why would you recommend NIU Philosophy to other students?

M.A. students in Ph.D. programs are sometimes treated as a low priority by faculty and as lower status by fellow students. But NIU Philosophy gave me its full attention and respect, and its friendly and inclusive community graduate students made my time in DeKalb a pleasure.


U.S. Politics Correspondent, The Economist, writing about American politics and policy.

Adjunct Assistant Professor of Creative Writing, University of Iowa, teaching undergraduate creative writing at the University of Iowa Writer's Workshop.

Mr. Wilkinson's writing has appeared in The Atlantic, The Boston Review, Forbes, The Daily Beast, Bloomberg, Slate, Politico, and a variety of other publication online and off. He has been a Research Fellow at the Cato Institute, a columnist for The Week, and a regular commentator on public radio's "Marketplace." 


M.F.A., creative writing, University of Houston, 2015

Ph.D. studies (ABD), philosophy, University of Maryland, 1998-2004

M.A., philosophy, Northern Illinois University, 1998

B.A., studio art and humanities, University of Northern Iowa, 1995