Sister Judith Kathryn Parsons, IHM, Ph.D.


Title: Professor

Office: Faculty Center 20

Phone: (610) 647-4400 Ext: 3301

Ph.D., M.A., Duquesne University
B.A., St. Joseph's University
B.A., Immaculata University


Sister Judith is a member of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (IHM), the religious order that founded Immaculata University. Sister Judith was taught by the IHM Sisters and feels that it is a great honor and a compelling responsibility to share what was handed on to her, especially through the example of excellent and involved teachers, dedicated to living the Gospel and sharing the Catholic faith.

Sister Judith received her early training in English literature and the humanities. While studying philosophy, she was intrigued by phenomenology and the centrality of the “examined life” in searching for truth. It was a wonderful fit when she discovered the life and works of Edith Stein, a Jewish-born Carmelite Sister who studied phenomenology and made the search for truth a personal mission.

Faced with the reality that students often feel and think that philosophy is esoteric and meaningless, Sister Judith is inspired to help students see the connection between philosophy and life. She takes pride in her growing association with members of the American Association of Philosophy Teachers (AAPT) and continues to learn how master teachers engage students of philosophy.

Sister Judith is involved in IU’s Academy for Metacognition, a grassroots effort by colleagues to improve teaching and learning by “thinking about thinking.” She also serves on the advisory board for Immaculata’s Center for Advancement of Scholarship in Teaching and Learning Excellence (CASTLE). She co-coordinates Immaculata’s annual Edith Stein lecture series.

Teaching Philosophy: 

Teaching is a transformative experience for the teacher and the student as both become members of a collective “community of learners.”

In his book, The Boys in the Boat, Daniel James Brown speaks of “swing,” an image that reminds me of the relationship forged when we learn. Brown writes: “It only happens when all eight oarsmen are rowing in such perfect unison that no single action by anyone is out of sync with those of all the others” (New York: Penguin Books, 2013, p. 161).  “Swing,” or good teaching and learning, takes hard work, preparation, and a desire to be the best.

The world looks better, more inviting when we share together in this enterprise of philosophy—of considering great things and trying better to understand them. We enter a class, I think, with different backgrounds and abilities but we share a desire to be our best. We struggle to define “learning” but we recognize it when it happens—when “we get it”—like swing.

Courses Taught: 

PHI 100          Introduction to the Liberal Arts

PHI 101          Introduction to Philosophy

PHI 201          Stein and Phenomenology

PHI 202          Stein’s Psychophysical Person

PHI 203          Stein’s Essays on Women

PHI 204          Survey of Catholic Philosophy

PHI 210          The Philosophy of Hardiness

PHI 309          Philosophy in History

PHI 312          Ethics

PHI 336          Ancient Philosophy

PHI 340          HON:  Aesthetics

PHI 334          HON:  Reason and Reality:  Questing

PHI 400          Capstone Project for BA in Liberal Studies

Research Interests: 

  • Phenomenology
  • Edith Stein
  • American philosophy
  • Existentialism
  • Teaching philosophy
  • Engaging students in philosophy


“University Partnerships for Academic Program and Professional Development: Building Faculty Capacity for 21st Century Teaching and Learning,” published in Innovations in Higher Education Teaching and Learning. (Emerald, 2016). With Beth Moy, Sister Kathleen Doutt, Dr. Elizabeth Faunce, and other SEPCHE researchers.


Poster Presentation on Metacognition: “Test-Driving a Cross Disciplinary Rubric for Faculty Metacognition,” with Sr. Kathleen Doutt, IHM, D.M.A. and Elizabeth Faunce, Ph.D. at the 13th Annual Faculty Conference at Temple University Teaching and Learning Center, January 8, 2015.

Poster Presentation on Metacognition: “How Do We Recruit Adjunct Faculty for IU’s Academy of Metacognition?” with Sr. Kathleen Doutt, IHM, D.M.A. and Elizabeth Faunce, Ph.D. at the SEPCHE Faculty Development Conference: Optimizing Teaching and Learning, held at Rosemont College, May 12, 2015.

“Edith Stein – Truth, Tables and Uncommon Confidence,” at the IHM Conference Center, Bryn Mawr, PA, May 2, 2017.

Professional Memberships: 

  • American Association of Philosophy Teachers (AAPT)
  • The American Philosophical Association (APA)
  • The International Association for the Study of the Philosophy of Edith Stein (IASPES)


“Edith Stein: Toward an Ethic of Relationship and Responsibility”

The philosopher Edith Stein (1891-1942) never set down formally an ethical plan. However, in Stein’s professional and personal texts, “ethic” is defined as a harmonious matching of internal thoughts and beliefs with external actions. This dissertation seeks to identify the essential components of Stein’s ethic.

Dr. Lanei Rodemeyer, Ph.D., Director

Duquesne University

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