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Opportunity Fund

The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire enjoys a regional and national reputation for excellence thanks to a long-standing commitment to providing students with exceptional opportunities in and outside the classroom. Faculty and students regularly combine classroom instruction with important research projects and life-changing international, cultural and public service experiences. UW-Eau Claire's outstanding faculty, vibrant student life and beautiful surroundings make it easy to see why U.S. News & World Report consistently ranks UW-Eau Claire as one of the top regional public universities in the Midwest.

This tradition of excellence is particularly evident in the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies. Consider these marks of excellence: 

  • The department of philosophy and religious studies has a high caliber of faculty including professors who graduated from Cambridge University, Stanford University, the University of Iowa, Vanderbilt, Syracuse, Northwestern and Marquette.
  • The advanced courses in the department are small and personable-¬many have between 20 and 25 students-providing many opportunities for one-on-one learning.
  • The department has a Philosophy and Religious Studies Club, a student organization that meets during the semester and sponsors a number of talks and presentations by students and faculty, as well as an active chapter of Theta Kappa Alpha, the national Religious Studies Honor Society.
  • Introductory-level and advanced students have the opportunity to publish articles in the department's journal, Prism.
  • Students can gain credit(s) in apprenticeship courses within the department, the most popular being the teaching apprenticeship courses. They also can work as student interns assisting in a high school class in philosophy taught at Eau Claire Memorial High School.
  • Unlike many other public universities, classes are not taught by teaching assistants. Students work alongside interesting professors who inspire learning. 


Student Opportunity Fund

The Department recently received a challenge grant of $10,000 to jump-start an effort to establish a Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies Opportunity Endowment. This endowment would provide annual resources to address various opportunities for students in the department. Funding from the endowment would be used for the following purposes:

  • Enable students to pursue undergraduate research projects on specific topics where they may need to gather additional information, visit a location or purchase a resource that will help them complete a successful research project. These resources would encourage students to embark on more detailed and ambitious research projects that they previously may not have pursued because of lack of resources to assist them.
  • Acquiring access to research tools, like the online Philosophers Index, that are otherwise unobtainable on campus.
  • Provide stipends to students who tutor other students in the logic classes. This is a critical need in the department because so many tutors are engaged to assist those students taking the general education logic courses.
  • Supplement other funding for Prism, the departmental publication featuring writings by students enrolled in philosophy and/or religious studies courses. Prism provides students with an avenue for having their work published, which not only reflects their academic accomplishments, but helps those seeking to continue their studies in graduate school.
  • Recognize the department's outstanding student each year. This fund could provide an annual monetary award to the student selected by the faculty as the most outstanding major in the department. This person would not only have an outstanding academic record but have demonstrated active involvement in and a passion for the work done in the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies. 

The number and size of awards given from this fund each year will depend on the size and scope of projects qualifying for funding and the annual income. As soon as the fund reaches its initial goal of $25,000, approximately $1,000 will be available annually to be used as an investment in the students. 

Meeting the Challenge 

The challenge grant of $10,000 will be used to match dollar for dollar every gift up to $1,000. The matching funds will be available through December 31, 2005. Every gift up to $1,000 made to the Student Opportunity Fund during that time will qualify for the match. In addition, pledges of up to three years made before December 31, 2005, will have the full amount of the pledge (up to $1,000) qualify for the matching money.

Once the additional $10,000 is raised, it is the goal of the department to continue seeking funds to create at least a $50,000 endowment, which would generate an annual award pool of $2,000.

All gifts to this opportunity fund are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law and would be recognized in the department and through the UW-Eau Claire Foundation, which would receive the gifts and deposit them in the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies.

Gifts may be completed using cash, credit card, electronic funds transfer, stock or other tangible assets. The Foundation now offers a secure page on its web site for on-line credit card gifts. Go to and designate Fund #1538 when making your gift.

For more information on this project, contact Dr. Charlene Burns, Chair of the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies, 715-836-2545, or Kimera Way, UW-Eau Claire Foundation, 715-836-5180 or