Faculty Senate president studies philosophy to be a ‘lifelong learner’


Rachel Rudisill

Associate Professor of Philosophy and Department Chair Susan Castro speaks about a philosophy competition where the winner will receive $100. Castro spoke during the philosophy department’s Welcome Back Bash on Aug. 24.

Susan Castro started college as a math major. She didn’t like it.

“There were a lot of problems that I really didn’t know how to solve,” Castro said. “Some of them were ethics problems, some of them were conceptual problems, like what is a homology?”

Castro then switched to philosophy in order to develop the skill set she needed. She never went back. 

“I love that in philosophy you can study anything,” Castro said. “Anything, you can do the philosophy of that, the ethics of that. To me that’s what was really exciting.”

Castro is passionate about learning, which is one of the reasons she stayed as a philosophy major. 

“You get to be a lifelong learner with no limitations,” Castro said.

Castro is originally from Springfield, Missouri. She went to UCLA in California for all her degrees. She landed in Wichita due to her husband’s job, and by luck, she got a job working at WSU. Now, she’s Faculty Senate president.

“Fortunately, the department was growing at the time, and I fit in,” Castro said.

Castro has  been at Wichita State for roughly 10 years. She’s now the chair of the philosophy department. 

James Schwartz, assistant professor of philosophy, met Castro in 2014. 

“She was a very capable and compassionate philosopher,” Schwartz said in an email to The Sunflower. “I recall that she and I discussed our mutual appreciation for the value of diversity in university culture, and I remember her sharing useful ideas for bringing more diversity into the classroom.”

Castro started her time on the Faculty Senate on the exceptions committee. She then became a senator, served on the rules committee, the executive committee and then became a part of the president’s rotation.

“Faculty Senate is, you know, often a reactive senate, so we let people bring things to us,” Castro said. 

Faculty Senate is one of the three senates on campus. The other two are the Staff Senate and the Student Government Association. 

“We’ve already started to work with the staff senate,” Castro said. “We haven’t started working with student government yet, we tend to not do that over the summer … but we do hope to work with [them.]”

Schwartz said that Castro is known to be encouraging and supportive within faculty.

“Based on what her students have shared with me over the years, she brings this encouragement and support into the classroom,” Schwartz said. Castro has taught a variety of courses at Wichita State, including  Philosophy of Law, Philosophy of Medicine, Philosophy of Feminism, Philosophy of Humor and more.