Natalie Cisneros, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Seattle University

Natalie Cisneros joined the philosophy department faculty in 2015. She works at the intersection of feminist philosophy, critical philosophy of race, Latin American and Latina/o philosophy and continental philosophy. Within those disciplines, her teaching and research focus on philosophical questions about power: how and where it functions, when it operates to dominate, and how oppressive forms of it might be resisted. During her short time at Seattle University, Natalie has had the opportunity to teach a wide variety of philosophy courses that engage with interdisciplinary and broader political discussions, including Philosophy of the Human Person, Modern Philosophy, and Social and Political Philosophy. As an alumna of Seattle University, Natalie looks forward to enhancing her mission as a teacher and scholar through her collaboration with the Alfie Scholars Program. She is particularly enthusiastic about contributing to the program’s goals of increasing diversity and promoting diverse leadership on campus.


Nathan Colaner, Ph.D.

Professor of Management and Philosophy, Seattle University

Nathan Colaner has been a full-time faculty member of Seattle University since 2011. He teaches courses in philosophy, business ethics, and business communication. His research focuses on the roles of justice and prudence in moral deliberation and on the ways in which organizational cultures can be designed to bring out the best in their members. His recent research focuses on the ethical dimensions of business' use of data.

He has a special interest in working with transfer students. In 2011-2012, he developed philosophy courses that were taught exclusively to transfer students. He brings his expertise with transfer students to the two standard curriculum courses, "Philosophy of the Civil Person" and "Ethical Reasoning" that are tailored specifically for Alfie Scholars. Professor Colaner is excited to continue developing courses in this area and taking on mentoring roles with Alfie Scholars.

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Kevin C. Krycka, Psy.D.

Professor of Psychology, Seattle University

Kevin C. Krycka is director of the Master of Arts in Existential-Phenomenological Therapeutic Psychology at Seattle University and University Summer Programs.  Since joining the psychology faculty at Seattle University in 1989, he has taught both graduate and undergraduate courses in the area of abnormal and clinical psychology. Kevin has taught academic courses and offered workshops to the public on what it means to be a leader in contemporary society, which seems to have lost touch with its capacity for civil discourse. Kevin’s volunteer experience and scholarship has focused on uncovering and giving voice to the underserved and marginalized in our communities. He utilizes a qualitative approach in his research, called the phenomenological research method, which he first came across in graduate school when studying with a mentor, philosopher and psychologist Eugene Gendlin. 

Kevin has been further inspired by the works of philosopher Emmanuel Levinas. Levinas’ insights have helped him to develop a deeper understanding of how human beings experience and respond to change by engaging in the world. He recently published a book for psychotherapists based on Levinas’ ideas called Psychotherapy for the Other: Levinas and the Face-to-Face Relationship.

Service to others, civility, and leadership are themes that intersect in Kevin’s work and inspire him in his work on the Alfie Scholars project.

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Jeff Philpott, Ph.D.

Professor of Communication, Seattle University

Dr. Jeff Philpott is a tenured faculty member in the Communication Department, where he teaches rhetoric. His academic interests focus on how individual speakers and marginalized groups can shape public discourse, and he teaches courses in rhetorical theory, persuasion, and advocacy for social change. He joined Seattle University in 1992, and in addition to his work in the classroom, he has served as a department chair and, more recently, Director of the University Core Curriculum from 2005-2015, helping to lead the effort to design and implement the new version of that curriculum. 

The goals of the Alfie Scholars program are near and dear to Jeff’s interests: he is a first-generation college student and transferred from a small rural community college to a challenging four-year liberal-arts university after his sophomore year. He is interested in helping students succeed in making those important transitions and in finding – and exercising – their voices to contribute to our world. 

He holds a MA in Communication Studies from the University of Nebraska and a Ph.D. in Rhetoric from the University of Washington. Outside of his work at SU he likes to spend his time doing nature photography, traveling, and cooking.

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Brendon Taga, J.D., M.Ed.

Assistant Dean, College of Education, Seattle University

Dean Taga develops operational policies and procedures, oversees and coordinates the College’s strategic enrollment, continuous improvement, assessment, accreditation, and certification processes, and serves as the certification officer for all K-12 certificated programs, such as the teacher and principal preparation programs. As a clinical instructor, he teaches in the Adult Education and Training Program. His research focuses on issues at the intersection of disability, education, and the law, including pipeline initiatives and access programs, the selection and use of technology in the classroom, and issues that impact students with disabilities. He is interested in how changes to curriculum and instruction, at both the K-12 and post-secondary educational levels, can better support the learning of students with disabilities. He has presented at national education conferences.

An attorney, he received his J.D. cum laude from Seattle University School of Law, where he was a Fellow for the Center for Global Justice and earned the Faculty Scholar award. Upon graduation, he served as the Associate Director of the Access Admission Program, under the direction of Professor Paula Lustbader. He also taught legal writing at Seattle University School of Law. Before coming to Seattle, he received a B.A. in Intellectual History from the University of Pennsylvania. He worked as a Law Clerk for the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office and as a Trademark Specialist for a large corporate firm. Dean Taga has a Master of Education degree in Adult Education and Training and is completing his Ph.D. in Educational Psychology at the University of Washington.

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Jason Wirth, Ph.D.

Professor of Philosophy and Associate Professor of Film Studies, Seattle University

Dr. Jason M. Wirth is professor of philosophy at Seattle University, and works and teaches in the areas of Continental Philosophy, Buddhist Philosophy, Aesthetics, and Africana Philosophy. He is also a Buddhist priest in the Soto Zen lineage. 

His recent books include a monograph on Milan Kundera (Commiserating with Devastated Things, Fordham, 2015), Schelling’s Practice of the Wild (SUNY, 2015), The Conspiracy of Life: Meditations on Schelling and His Time (SUNY, 2003), a translation of the third draft of The Ages of the World (SUNY, 2000), the edited volume Schelling Now (Indiana, 2004), Schelling’s Practice of the Wild (SUNY, 2015), the co-edited volume (with Bret Davis and Brian Schroeder), Japanese and Continental Philosophy: Conversations with the Kyoto School (Indiana, 2011), and The Barbarian Principle: Merleau-Ponty, Schelling, and the Question of Nature (SUNY, 2013). His forthcoming book, due in early 2017 with The SUNY Series in Environmental Philosophy and Ethics, is called Mountains, Rivers and the Great Earth: Reading Gary Snyder and Dōgen in an Age of Ecological Crisis. He is the associate editor and book review editor of the journal, Comparative and Continental Philosophy (and its attendant book series, published by Northwestern University Press). He is completing a manuscript called Zen and Zarathustra as well as a study of the cinema of Terrence Malick. 

He is a co-director of three philosophical societies: The Comparative and Continental Philosophy Circle (CCPC), The Pacific Association for the Continental Tradition (PACT), and the North American Schelling Society (NASS).

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