I have decided to do this week’s profile on my professor, Dr. Michael Baumtrog…A.K.A. “Dr. Bommer”! He is my professor for Animals and Ethics, which is a philosophy class and actually my favourite class this semester. He is a new professor to the University of Windsor and since he is very understanding of students’ needs, I figured the students of UWindsor should know about him.
1. “Why did you study philosophy?”
Dr. Baumtrog says he got into philosophy because he felt as though no other program covered the questions he had, and nothing else got to the answers for some of these questions. Although philosophy didn’t answer all of these questions, they addressed some of these issues and gave a platform to explore these questions more. Philosophy gave him better ways to articulate these issues.
2. “Why did you choose UWindsor?”
Dr. Baumtrog completed both his Undergraduate and Master’s degree at UWindsor. There were two reasons for him doing this. The first was because he was from Kitchener, and he had friends from Kitchener going to UWindsor. The second reason was because he was accepted into the Outstanding Scholar’s program of UWindsor when the program was first offered for Philosophy in 2003. The scholarship was a huge reason for choosing UWindsor, and the life experience the program involved, which included working alongside a professional philosophy professor, Dr. Ralph Johnson.
3. “Who is your favourite philosopher and why?”
He has a few favourite philosophers, but in terms of local philosophers who engage his thinking, he enjoys Jeff Noonan and Chris Tindale’s work. Both are professors at the University of Windsor, and he enjoys them because they deal with important contemporary issues . They both work with components of moral philosophy, although in very different ways, which are things that really stand out in importance to him. In terms of a philosopher he enjoys reading, Dr. Bommer picked Henry David Thoreau, because his writing is very smooth and almost story like.
4. “What are your thoughts on animals?”
Dr. Baumtrog says his thoughts on animals have evolved while teaching Animals and Ethics. He says that the detailed content of the class has him looking for common threads between theorists. Different theorists cover the same points in different ways. However, he said there are still some unarticulated general points that seem worth drawing out.
5. “Have you heard of Her Campus?”
Dr. Baumtrog had not heard of Her Campus until I asked to do a profile with him. He was happy to explore it after hearing about it, and viewed the general page before finding our UWindsor chapter’s page.
6. “Tell us more about your background.”
As a young child, Dr. Bommer first wanted to be an actor. He later had sparked an interest in geography, and wanted to combine both interests and considered being a weatherman. He then wanted to take English and Creative Writing at UWindsor, but he found philosophy in his last year of high school. He was then offered a scholarship for Philosophy at Uwindsor and decided to enter the program because it combined his interest in writing as well. Writing encompassed ways to approach philosophical concepts and ideas, which he loves. He did take Composition during his Undergraduate degree. He finished his undergrad with a minor in Political Science and is one class short of a minor in Women and Gender Studies.
Dr. Baumtrog got his PH.D. at Universidade Nova de Lisboa (The New University of Lisbon), in Portugal.
7. “Do you like the class (Animals and Ethics)?”
He says he enjoys both the students and the content of the class. He enjoys how attentive and engaged the students in his class are because it creates a positive dynamic in the class.
8. “Any general advice for students?”
His advice for students is to always seek extra assistance when needed. There are resources, so if you are in need, don’t hesitate to utilize them. Although University is most often intended to be independent work, it doesn’t mean you have to be alone. There is support out there to help you. This is important in taking responsibility for your education.
9. “Any other things to add?”
“Happy International Women’s Day!” (This interview was done on this day!)