department of philosophy

Chafee Hall, Room 230, 142 Flagg Road, Kingston, RI 02881


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Cheryl Foster


Cheryl Foster specializes in theoretical and applied aesthetics, environmental philosophy and epistemology, including dilemmas and controversies in art as well as environmental dilemmas and decision-making. In this spirit her commitment to reaching audiences within and beyond URI’s classrooms drives much of her scholarship, outreach and service. Along with five URI based co-PI’s, Cheryl helped to create and execute the National Science Foundation’s URI Coastal Institute IGERT Project, an interdisciplinary education initiative promoting leadership and communication in the coastal zone. She is in addition a co-host of The Beauty Salon, URI’s weekly talk-format radio show about all things aesthetic in the state of Rhode Island, and an interviewer for the show’s DeCoding Rhode Island, edited segments featuring citizens engaged in aesthetic practice from around the state.

As a volunteer grant writer for local arts and environment initiatives, Cheryl has raised funds to support organizations such as GEAR (Give Everyone A Role) Productions, the South Kingstown Music Boosters and the Sari’s Sanctuary Outdoor River Classroom project. She has served on the boards and executive committees of several national and regional arts and culture organizations, including the North American Nature Photography Association, the Katherine T. Baker Foundation, and Waterfire Providence. Named as one of 7 educators (and 2 university level educators) nationally as a 2013 Kennedy Center/ Stephen Sondheim Inspirational Teacher, Cheryl is also the 2013 Carnegie Professor for Rhode Island and a previous recipient of the URI Foundation Teaching Excellence Award, the College of Arts and Sciences Advising Excellence Award and the University College Adviser of the Year Award. She currently serves as Associate Director of URI’s University Honors Program, with special duties in advising first year students and in life-path advising for students at all levels of the curriculum.


Aesthetics and art theory, environmental philosophy, existentialism, epistemology, the philosophies of David Hume, Immanuel Kant and Arthur Schopenhauer


  • Ph.D., Philosophy, University of Edinburgh (UK), 1992
  • M.A., Humanities, University of Chicago, 1986
  • B.A., Philosophy and English, Bowdoin College, 1983


Foster, Cheryl. 2014. Nature and Artistic Creation. In Oxford Encyclopedia of Aesthetics 2nd edition. Ed. Michael Kelly. Oxford University Press.

Foster, Cheryl. 2011. Disinterestedness and Disdain. Sztuka i Filozofia (Polish Journal Art and Philosophy, published by University of Warsaw).Vol. 40. Special Issue on Arnold Berleant.

Foster, Cheryl, August, P., Swift, J., 2010. The T Assessment Tool: A Simple Metric for Assessing Multidisciplinary Graduate Education. Journal of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Education 13(15-21).

Foster, Cheryl, Anthony, Abigail, 2009. Coastal Lagoons and Climate Change: Ecological and Social Ramification in U.S. Atlantic and Gulf Coast Ecosystems. Ecology and Society 14(1): 8.

Foster, Cheryl. 2007. Kerrottuu ja eletty ulottuvuus ympäristöestetiikassa (translation of The Narrative and the Ambient in Environmental Aesthetics). In Maiseman kanssa kasvokkain (trans. Face to Face with the Landscape). Ed. Yrjö Sepänmaa. Maahenki Oy.

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