Dr. Tasha Rushing started teaching at Salem College in 1984. She is a native Texan and grew up in Austin. Before she chose the academic life, Dr. Rushing had several different secretarial jobs for insurance companies and lawyers. After earning her masters, she taught sociology for three years at Southwest Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas. Because of that experience she knew that she wanted to teach in college so she entered a doctorate program but switched from sociology to philosophy. Dr. Rushing was attracted to Salem College because the position advertised was for a generalist who could teach in many different areas of philosophy. After accepting the position, Dr. Rushing became great friends with the Rev. Dr. Clark Alva Thompson who was the college chaplain at that time.
At Salem, Dr. Rushing has taught every course in the philosophy curriculum. Although she says it has been challenging, she feels the experience is an excellent source of intellectual growth. Her specialty is metaphysics but she has had to develop and teach courses in Logic, Ethics, the History of Philosophy, Philosophy of Religion, Epistemology (e.g., “Modes of Knowing”), Process Philosophy, Existentialism, Business Ethics, Mysticism, Spirituality, Philosophy through Film, the Philosophy of Star Trek, the Philosophy of the Paranormal and, of course, the Philosophy of the Harry Potter novels. When she's not teaching, she serves as the faculty sponsor of the Catholic Student Association and she has also been involved in several community organizations including the Secular Franciscans, The Center of Life Enrichment, Fur-ever Friends, PETA, the Fund for Animals, and Beyond War.
Her research interests have changed over time. She has published two books, one on philosophical issues of identity and another on the nature of good and evil. She has published articles on innovative ways to teach logic and on the usefulness of an interview paper in a course on epistemology (theory of knowledge). Dr. Rushing has a long-standing interest in paranormal phenomena and is planning to investigate such experiences (e.g., ghosts) at Salem. To that end she would like to interview anyone at Salem who has had encounters with such phenomena while attending Salem.
Dr. Rushing believes that philosophical ideas emerge out of everyday life and that pursuing such ideas gives great meaning to one's life. The advice she would give to students interested in philosophy is that they will enjoy this field if they enjoy speculating about possibilities rather than discovering facts, if they enjoy the give-and-take of reasoned intellectual debates, if they enjoy reflecting on ideas that broaden their intellectual horizons, and if they are willing and eager to question, challenge, and criticize the status quo. While a bachelor of arts in philosophy does not prepare one for a particular occupation right out of college, research has shown that many businesses have come to appreciate the intellectual and communication skills of philosophy majors. The study of philosophy is also one of the best preparations for law school as many former students can testify.
Dr. Rushing is an animal lover, and more specifically a dog lover. She became a dog lover after adopting her first dog, Jadzia Dax. She strongly believes that a quote by Josh Billing is true: “A dog is the only animal on earth that will love you more than he loves himself.” She currently has two male chihuahuas and a tortoise-shell cat that brighten her day when she comes home because they are so excited to see her. She loves spending time with her animals, but she also enjoys listening to classical music, contra dancing, playing music on a concertina, harmonica and psaltery, reading the Harry Potter series or historical fiction, watching TV dramas, and hanging out with her friends.
Inspirational Quote: “Being is, and cannot not be.”~Parmenides
• Hindu Upanishads
• The Confessions of St. Augustine
• The Cloud of Unknowing
• Schindler’s List
• Dead Man Walking
• The Wizard of Oz