Professor of Philosophy
Office Location: 214 Medbury Hall
Jennifer McCrickerd was raised in the wilds of suburban Orange County California. She went to high school in Newport Beach and felt remarkably out of place. She then went to Wellesley College, an all women’s college outside of Boston because she wanted to go to medical school and Wellesley had the highest acceptance rate for women into medical school. She did not, however, connect this high acceptance rate into college with the difficulty of the pre-med program and a few weeks after one semester in college, realized that she needed to enjoy what she was learning while she was learning it and that she is not the sort of person who can easily suffer through things in the hope that it will pay off eight years down the line. In the following semesters, she entertained a number of majors (French, Psychology, Political Science, Economics) until settling on Philosophy as the department where the conversations she wanted to be participating in were most likely to be happening. She made the very large mistake of taking about twice as many courses in philosophy as she needed to (thus, ending up with the near equivalent of two philosophy majors) and then, given her clear affinity for taking philosophy classes, went to graduate school. Despite going to graduate school with only the intention of learning more about philosophy and, particularly, ethics, she learned, when given the opportunity to teach, that as much as she loved doing and reading philosophy, what she really loved is teaching philosophy. She focused her research energies on moral epistemology (the study of determining which moral theories we ought to accept) specifically looking at the work of John Rawls.
After nearly 20 years at Drake, Professor McCrickerd places herself within the tradition of American Philosophy (seeing as predecessors Ralph Waldo Emerson, Josiah Royce, William James, John Dewey). She teaches courses in ethics and political philosophy and is Director of the Honors Program for which she regularly teaches a number of courses including the required interdisciplinary course Paths to Knowledge. Her current scholarship is in the area of teaching and learning, specifically better understanding how college students learn, what is most beneficial to their success after college and ways that teachers can create environments that are most conducive to learning.