TCU welcomes new philosophy professor

There has been a new addition to the TCU community. Rik Hine, previously an adjunct professor at the University of Connecticut, joined the university as an assistant professor of the philosophy department in August.

Blake Hestir, associate professor and chair of the philosophy department, said Hine was “a great fit for the department.”

Hine joined the philosophy faculty after the retirement of philosophy Professor Gregg Franzwa at the end of the 2011 spring semester.

Hine,  who specialized in philosophy of psychology and philosophy of mind, brought diversity to the department, Hestir said.

“He is expanding our course offerings, and we are very excited about that,” he said.
Hine, originally from London, England, moved to the United States eight years ago to pursue his doctoral studies at the University of Connecticut.

Two of his friends at graduate school had graduated from TCU as philosophy majors, Hine said.

“They were both really cool, smart guys,” he said. “When the position became available at TCU, I didn’t hesitate to apply. A university can’t buy advertising that good.”

As part of the interviewing process, all the candidates for the position, including Hine, presented a topic of their choice to the Philosophy Club and lectured during one class period.

“We wanted to see how well they could teach a class,” Beth Philp, administrative assistant of the philosophy department, said.

Hine definitely stood out, Tess Sadler, a student in Hine’s upper-division philosophy class this semester, said.

“You could tell he was a really brilliant man just by the way he carried himself,” Sadler, a junior philosophy major, said. “He has a way of capturing the audience. He is a really good speaker, and he is very entertaining.”

Senior philosophy major and teaching assistant J.P. Andrew agreed.

“All the job candidates gave lectures, and they were all qualified,” Andrew said. “But he was ahead of everybody else. He really engages the students and makes things interesting for the class, and he is very knowledgeable.”

Hestir said he agreed with the students about Hine standing out during the interviewing process.

“He is a very dynamic lecturer, and I think he communicates well to students,” Hestir said.

Both Sadler and Andrew said Hine’s dynamism made him a great addition to the philosophy faculty.

“Everyone is really different, but at the same time they all mesh really well,” Sadler said.

She said Hine’s teaching skills were engaging and unique because he does things in class that are out of the ordinary, like asking students to close their eyes and imagine things.

Some students in Hine’s class were excited about his teaching methods.

“Everyone was like ‘This is cool.’ It’s something fresh,” Sadler said.

“He is a very natural teacher,” Andrew said. “He teaches by opening up the conversation rather than standing in front of students and lecturing them. He gets students really involved.”

Taking over the office of Franzwa, who taught at TCU for 35 years, Sadler said Hine had big shoes to fill. However, she said she already respected Hine a great deal.

Andrew, on the other hand, thought Franzwa’s shoes could never be filled even though he thought Hine was a great addition to the philosophy department.

“He seems like a really good fit to me,” Andrew said. “He’s replacing Gregg Franzwa, who is a friend of mine and kind of a mentor of mine. I didn’t see how he was ever going to have a replacement that was going to take the spot naturally. No one can replace Franzwa, but Hine certainly fits in nicely.”

Hine agreed with Andrew.

“I think it would be futile for anyone to think that someone could fit into those kinds of shoes,” he said.

Hine said he had positive impressions of the TCU community so far and found the students to be more polite than students he had encountered in past teaching experiences.

“I’m having a great time,” he said. “I came here with high expectations of students, and I have to say I haven’t been disappointed.”

Hine’s unique style pops out, Sadler said. Sadler mentioned his hair, his style, his sense of humor and even his classroom policies set him apart from the majority of the TCU community.

“He said he will e-mail between 9-5 but not on the weekends,” Sadler said.

He said he has a social life but would not be our friend on Facebook, she said.

Outside of class during his down time, Hine said he liked to read poetry.

“When my mind starts overheating from thinking about philosophy, I like to unwind with a good glass of scotch and a volume of poetry,” he said.

Despite it being just a month since starting out at TCU, Hine is already looking to embrace the purple spirit here on campus.

“Whilst boxing is my first sporting love, I’m looking to incorporate some purple into my wardrobe and learn the rules of football,” he said.