Sharon Ryan, an associate professor of philosophy at West Virginia University, has been appointed chair of the Eberly College’s Department of Philosophy.

She replaces Richard Montgomery who is stepping down after nine years as chair.

Dr. Ryan holds a Ph.D. and a Master of Arts from the University of Rochester and a Bachelor of Arts from State University of New York at Fredonia. She was raised in Long Island, N.Y., and in the southeastern part of New Hampshire.

Ryan currently teaches Introduction to Problems of Philosophy. Other courses she enjoys teaching are Metaphysics, Philosophy of Religion and Theory of Knowledge. The Eberly College recognized Ryan in 1997 with an Outstanding Teacher Award. Her current research interests are in the areas of epistemology, metaphysics and the philosophy of religion.

“Dr. Ryan will offer a high degree of enthusiasm and creative new ideas as this important unit continues its strong presence in the Eberly College,”said Eberly College Dean M. Duane Nellis.

Ryan’s immediate goals for the department include nurturing the many strengths the department already has and building an even stronger department. She intends to communicate to students and to faculty colleagues in other departments within the University about the benefits of a major or minor in philosophy.

“Many students would benefit not only from the rigorous critical thinking skills the department develops but also from the individualized attention they receive from our small, undergraduate department,Ryan said.Every one of us excels in both teaching and scholarship.”

Her long-range goal is to make the WVU Department of Philosophy one of the best undergraduate programs in the country.

Ryan said the most exciting aspects of becoming chair of the department is meeting new people, learning new things, working hard toward a valuable goal and making a positive difference.

“Being chair of this department provides me with the opportunity for all of these things,she said.The job will be a lot of hard work. I expect it to be frustrating and difficult at times. However, I also expect it to be rewarding, and if I dare say it, I think I might have some fun along the way. I am looking forward to the challenge.”