(Too Much) About Me

I grew up in rural northwest Ohio, where sometime around the age of 12 I made the painful realization that I simply didn’t have the chops to be a major league baseball player.  My disappointment was somewhat soothed, however, by the thought that – as a decent writer who worked well under deadlines – I might make it as a sports writer.

This plan provided adequate succor until about my freshman year at Hillsdale College.  Having decided against my original plan to pursue a career in journalism, and curious to see whether a (comparatively exotic) career as an academic philosopher was really for me, I enrolled in the M.A. program in philosophy at Virginia Tech in 1999.  While at Tech, I marched in the band and tutored Michael Vick (in logic, not ethics).  More importantly, I discovered my passion for moral & political philosophy and public policy.  After completing an M.A. thesis (directed by William FitzPatrick) on the scope of our ‘duties of beneficence’, I headed off to the University of Maryland in the fall of 2001.

I chose to pursue my graduate studies in College Park thanks largely to the University’s distinctive Institute for Philosophy and Public Policy, and the unique multi-disciplinary graduate program it co-sponsors: the ‘Committee on Politics, Philosophy, and Public Policy’ (‘CPPPP’ for short; ‘CP4’ for shorter).  Enrolling in the CP4 program provided the best opportunity to pursue the life of the ‘scholar-practitioner’ — that professional student of politics and policy who has one foot firmly grounded in the Academy, and the other firmly grounded in the policy world.  The Institute’s then-director (and my eventual dissertation supervisor), William Galston, provides the ideal template for just such an inter-disciplinary professional career.

During my seven-and-some years as a Terp, I earned a PhD in philosophy and an MPP in public policy.  I wrote a dissertation in political philosophy (on the topic of ‘liberal neutrality’) under the direction of William Galston and Christopher Morris.  In the School of Public Policy, I pursued the  ‘International Development‘ track, where I studied under Carol Graham.  More information about my dissertation and other research can be found by clicking on the ‘Papers’ and ‘Research’ tabs above.

My studies at Maryland were made possible by graduate assistantships as a research assistant in the Institute for Philosophy and Public Policy (one year), a teaching assistant in the philosophy department (two years), and an academic adviser and program manager in the Division of Letters and Sciences (four years).  While dissertating, I also received financial assistance and generous support from the Institute for Humane Studies.  Along the way, I picked up some instructional opportunities with the philosophy departments at the University of Maryland and St. Mary’s College of Maryland.  Finally, while I put the finishing touches on my dissertation, I spent the 2008-09 academic year as a Visiting Instructor in the philosophy department at Bowling Green State University.  BGSU has a terrific program in moral/political philosophy and applied ethics, and it’s only a 45-minute drive from my hometown, so it was a great way to spend a year.

Upon returning to DC after my year in Bowling Green, I had the privilege to serve the public as a federal employee for more than six years — the first half of that time (2010-13) as a management analyst (and, initially, as a Presidential Management Fellow) at the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the second half of that time (2013-16) as an analyst with the Government Accountability Office.  During this period, I also fancied myself a “freelance philosopher,” and even maintained this site under that title for a long time.  (Cheesy tagline: “Bureaucrat by Day.  Philosopher by Choice.”)  I moonlighted (“moonlit”?) as an adjunct instructor at a couple of local institutions (teaching occasional courses in the University of Maryland School of Public Policy’s mid-career “Master’s of Public Management” program, and then later, and more regularly, in UMBC‘s Department of Philosophy).  In addition, I tried to remain active as a researcher, and published a few philosophy papers during this time.

Besides the intrinsic enjoyment of it all, one of the principal reasons I did this moonlighting as a freelance scholar and teacher is that I had wanted to keep open the possibility of returning to the Academy.  And I’m pleased to report that this possibility became an actuality: since the fall semester of 2016, I have been an assistant professor in the philosophy department at Texas State University in San Marcos, TX–a lovely little college town situated midway between Austin (30 minutes to the north) and San Antonio (45 minutes to the south).

I welcome your comments or advice on any of the above!  [baltzlyatgmail]

2 thoughts on “(Too Much) About Me

  1. Pretty impressive, Dr. Baltzly. I want to see you in action; I want to see you teach! This could make my year!

    Congratulations on your marriage to Michelle.

    Peace, always!

    Who am I?

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