George Abaunza, PhD
I was born in Managua, Nicaragua, and lived there until the earthquake of December 23, 1972. This chance occurrence changed my life forever. Within a week my parents decided to move their eight children (seven boys and one girl) to Miami, Florida, where I spent my formative years through college. I attended the University of Miami as a Biology major through the end of my sophomore year, the second semester of which I decided to take Introduction to Philosophy. Reading Plato, Hume, Nietzsche, and a few other great thinkers convinced me that philosophy was what I wanted to pursue. Before the semester was over I was officially a philosophy major, and the rest is history.
I earned my Bachelor's degree in Philosophy, along with minors in Religious Studies and Sociology from Florida International University in Miami. After completing all of my doctoral course work and passing my preliminary exams, I earned my Master's degree in Philosophy in 1995, from Florida State University in Tallahassee. While at Florida State, I also pursued graduate-level course work in Sociology, Criminology, and Educational Foundations. In the fall of 1996 I was offered a full-time position to teach in the Philosophy and Religious Studies Department at Bergen Community College, in beautiful New Jersey. Why leave Florida for New Jersey? The simplest answer to that complicated question is that I love philosophy and I love to teach. So, I went where the currents that would allow me to do both would eventually take me.
After four years at Bergen I was hired at Felician University. In the summer of 2005 I completed and successfully defended my dissertation, Making Artists of Us All: The Evolution of An Educational Aesthetic, thus earning my doctorate from the Department of Philosophy at Florida State University.
In 2009 I began conducting summer trips with students to Nicaragua, where we have served various organizations including: schools, clinics, orphanages, and farming cooperatives. The travel is the culmination of a spring semester course on the history and effects of capitalism. I am also a Governing Board Member of the Felician University Institute for Ethics and Public Affairs, which sponsors annual events, including our Ethics Conference. And, since 2017, I serve on the Board of Trustees at Immaculate Conception High School.
After serving two-and-a-half years as Chair of the Department of Philosophy, I was asked to take on the role of Associate Dean for Assessment and Development in the School of Arts and Sciences, which I fulfilled for three-and-a-half years. I then served a year-and-a-half as Associate Dean of Humanities. In 2015, after a national search, I was selected to serve as Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences.
Field(s) of Interest/Expertise
My areas of specialization are Philosophy of Education and Social-Political Philosophy, but I also enjoy teaching Ethics, Existentialism, Philosophy of Art, Philosophy & Literature, Social Theory, and the various History of Philosophy courses.
Courses Taught at Felician University
PHIL-100: The Art & Practice of Critical Thinking
PHIL-101: Introduction to Philosophy
PHIL-200: Philosophical Foundations of Education
PHIL-206: Ancient & Medieval Philosophy
PHIL-207: Modern Philosophy
PHIL-212: Nineteenth Century Philosophy
PHIL-260: Philosophy of Art (developed course)
PHIL-250: Making Moral Decisions
PHIL-301: Moral Philosophy
PHIL-303: Existentialism: Authenticity & Absurdity
PHIL-306: History of Modern Political Thought
PHIL-309: Morality & the Pursuit of Happiness
PHIL-360: Philosophy & Literature
PHIL-395: Special Topics
PHIL-420: Independent Studies
PHIL-450: Senior Research Seminar
PSYC-201: Introduction to Child Development
SOC-305: Global Problems & Perceptions of Capitalism (includes Nicaragua Summer Travel)
EDU-530: Philosophy for Teacher as Leader (School of Education)
ENT-530: Ethics & Social Responsibility (School of Business)