UM Professor Receives 2015 Humanities Scholar Award

Eric Weber to receive award from the Mississippi Humanities Council



OXFORD, Miss. – Eric Weber, associate professor of public policy leadership at the University of Mississippi, has been selected to receive the 2015 Humanities Scholar Award for his outstanding contributions to the study and understanding of the humanities.

The Humanities Scholar Award, presented by the Mississippi Humanities Council, will be conferred at the 2015 Public Humanities Awards ceremony, set for Feb. 13 at the Old Capitol Museum in Jackson.

“We are pleased to be able to recognize these outstanding teachers, scholars and organizations who have made significant contributions to the cultural life in our state,” said Stuart Rockoff, executive director of the council. “The outstanding work of each of our winners exemplifies how the humanities can help us understand where we Mississippians have been and what we can become. By reaching out and bringing the humanities to the larger public, they embody the council’s motto that ‘the humanities are for everyone.'”

Weber joined the UM faculty in 2007. He teaches courses in ethics and public policy, critical thinking and communication for public policy, and the philosophy of leadership, as well as courses in the Honors College. He served as the chair of the American Philosophical Association’s Committee on Public Philosophy from 2011 to 2014 and is executive director of the Society of Philosophers in America.

Weber’s recent work led him to organize events addressing specific challenges faced by Mississippians, he said. With support from the council, he and other scholars have brought in specialists to talk about topics of public importance, such as ethics at the end of life or disability and accessibility.

Weber says it is a great honor for the council to recognize his work.

“Winning this award means to me that people have noticed and want to encourage publicly engaged philosophy,” Weber said. “I love my field of philosophy in its own right, but even more so in its application to public issues and leadership. The humanities matter a great deal but need advocates and organizational support to keep in view for the public. The Mississippi Humanities Council champions that effort.”

Weixing Chen, chair of the Department of Public Policy Leadership, nominated Weber for the award.

“Dr. Weber has played and exemplary role in participating in MHC programs and serving as an interpreter of his discipline, philosophy, for public audiences,” Chen wrote.

Weber holds a doctorate in philosophy from Southern Illinois University, a master’s from Ohio University and a bachelor’s from Vanderbilt. Besides the Humanities Scholar Award, Weber has received the Cora Lee Graham Award for the Outstanding Teaching of Freshmen (2011) and the Thomas F. Frist Student Service Award (2012).

Weber is a contributor to The Clarion Ledger covering matters such as corporal punishment in schools, sex education and support for teachers. He is the author of 20 scholarly articles and four books. His latest, “Uniting Mississippi: Democracy and Leadership in the South,” is to be released in October 2015.