New Faces: Dr. Vadim Keyser, Philosophy

New philosophy professor Vadim Keyser

The College of Arts and Humanities at Fresno State is the largest college on campus, encompassing nine departments, and the Armenian Studies Program.

Of the 60 new faculty members at Fresno State this fall, about 22% of the new hires are in the College of Arts and Humanities. These new faculty bring innovative research, diverse disciplines and technical expertise to our college, strengthening our programs across many of our disciplines.

Over the next few weeks, we will introduce you to these new faces, by department.

Department of Philosophy

Headshot of Dr. Vadim KeyserDr. Vadim Keyser joins the Department of Philosophy as an assistant professor, coming to Fresno State from San Francisco State University.

Keyser’s primary teaching area is the philosophy of science and his research interests include models for reliable measurement in biology, biophysics and the social sciences. For a video articling Keyser’s research interests in further depth, click here.

Question: What are you most looking forward to here at Fresno State?

Answer: The collaboration with students and faculty. Fresno is heavily embedded in the arts as well as STEM and I’m looking forward to hovering between the two to create cross-disciplinary projects. I’m already cooking up ideas for a large public art sculpture project.

Q: Can you tell me how you became involved in your specialty area?

A: During my undergrad studies, I became interested in an unresolved measurement puzzle in biology — why ecological-developmental measurements on reptiles produce different results in the lab vs. the field. At that time I was also taking classes on measurement puzzles in quantum measurement. I was lucky enough to find a graduate program that supported detailed work on both the biology and physics side of measurement systems.

Q: What will your distinctive background do to elevate the Philosophy Department offerings here at Fresno State?

A: In my classes, I focus on precision, presentation and perspective. No matter if one is giving a 30-second elevator presentation or writing a 12-page paper, the point has to be clear and sharp. Writing is also about navigating perspectives. My aim is to get students to flow, while remaining precise.

Q: What are you reading?

A: Nature. I’m taking a break from any reading over the summer to look at stuff.

Q: What is a book you think everyone should read?

A: “The Myth of Sisyphus” by Albert Camus.

Q: What’s a fun fact that people might not know about you?

A: I’m an artist/animator. I am currently planning an animation about humans and space, which will consist of hundreds of hand-drawn frames.

Q: What is your biggest pet peeve in the classroom or a mistake students tend to make?

A: I don’t think that this is a student mistake (while it is the cause of many errors that result in a class), but rather a mistake on the part of faculty — not explaining how PowerPoint presentations should be processed. I remember being an undergrad and rushing to write down long, clunky chunks of PowerPoint material — with conclusions, facts, etc. — only to miss the process of reasoning. I would end up with these outcome-slices in my notes. No one ever teaches you how to take notes on a PowerPoint. That’s what we, as faculty, have to do. I think a lot of errors that result from misunderstanding content, losing the thread of the course, etc. can be intercepted, simply by generating material on HOW to take notes.

Q: When will your office hours be?

A: 2-4 p.m. Tuesdays

Q: Anything else you’d like to share?

A: One time on campus, I saw a squirrel drinking out of a juice box.

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The College of Arts and Humanities provides a diverse student population with the communication skills, humanistic values and cultural awareness that form the foundation of scholarship. The college offers intellectual and artistic programs that engage students and faculty and the community in collaboration, dialog and discovery. These programs help preserve, illuminate and nourish the arts and humanities for the campus and for the wider community.

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