Department of Philosophy



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The School of Graduate Studies has announced the winners of the Queen's Award for Excellence in Graduate Student Supervision. The two winners are both (!) members of the Department of Philosophy: Christine Sypnowich, current Head of the Department, and Ram Murty, Head of the Department of Mathematics and Statistics but also cross-appointed into Philosophy.

Christine has supervised four PhD students and 24 master’s students, each of whom benefitted from her conscientious mentorship and support, enabling them to build the skills necessary to flourish in the next steps of their careers. In addition to supporting her students on an individual basis, Professor Sypnowich has led two different initiatives for students in political philosophy, which have enriched the graduate student experience. The Political Philosophy Reading Group, open to faculty and students in Philosophy as well as those in Politics and Law, is a long-standing institution that helps bring the entire community together. In addition, she works with a group of graduate students (jokingly called the “Justice League Research Group”), who come together to present and debate ideas and to present drafts of chapters and other work. Dr. Sypnowich is praised by her past and current students for her intellectual rigor, for providing individualized advice, for encouraging a diversity of viewpoints and ideas in her discipline, and for providing strong leadership to support students throughout their degrees, facilitating a timely completion. Dr. Sypnowich’s students have excelled in their academic endeavours, and many of them stay in touch with her after completing their studies in order to continue to benefit from her guidance. In graduate supervision as in all things, Christine distinguishes herself in her conscientiousness, cutting no corners and taking no short-cuts. Every one of her students gets as much of her attention as she can possibly give, and nearly every page of their work is improved by that attention. 

Ram joined Queen’s more than 20 years ago. Over the course of his career, he has mentored 26 master’s students, 21 PhD students and more than 23 post-doctoral fellows. The caliber and competence of his guidance is seen in the fact that three of his PhD students received special recognitions for their dissertations: two won the Canadian Mathematical Society doctoral prize for outstanding performance by a doctoral students, and the third received the Governor General Academic Gold Medal for his exceptional doctoral thesis. Ram mentorship enables students to become highly productive researchers, with more than 86 student-authored publications under his supervision.  Prof. Murty’s students benefit from his knowledge and creativity, and credit him with teaching them how to love and enjoy their lives as scholars. Students praise the care and dedication that he offers, as he strives to guide them individually and often providing personal advice and support when students face challenges. Ram's mentorship has helped his students to go on to have successful careers in academia, industry, and the public sector. Beyond this, Ram is credited for deeply and positively shaping his students’ lives.