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Engels, McDonald named Sherwin Early Career Professors

Two faculty members in the Penn State College of the Liberal Arts have been named Sherwin Early Career Professors in the college’s Rock Ethics Institute. Jeremy Engels now holds the title Sherwin Early Career Professor in the Rock Ethics Institute and associate professor of communication arts and sciences, while Bryan McDonald now holds the title Sherwin Early Career Professor in the Rock Ethics Institute and assistant professor of history. Both appointments are effective March 2016 and continue until June 30, 2018.

This article first appeared in Penn State News.

University Park, PA -- Two faculty members in the Penn State College of the Liberal Arts have been named Sherwin Early Career Professors in the college’s Rock Ethics Institute.

Jeremy Engels now holds the title Sherwin Early Career Professor in the Rock Ethics Institute and associate professor of communication arts and sciences, while Bryan McDonald now holds the title Sherwin Early Career Professor in the Rock Ethics Institute and assistant professor of history.  Both appointments are effective March 2016 and continue until June 30, 2018.

“No two faculty members are more deserving of this award then Engels and McDonald,” said Nancy Tuana, DuPont/Class of 1949 professor of philosophy and women’s studies and director of the Rock Ethics Institute.  “Both have already made important contributions to the Rock Ethics Institute and to ethical literacy at Penn State.  This award both recognizes the value of the work in this domain and serves to support its continuation.”

“I am delighted we are able to support the ethics-focused work of Jeremy and Bryan and their collaboration with the Rocks Ethics Institute,” added Susan Welch, professor and dean of the College of the Liberal Arts.

Sherwin Early Career Professorships are awarded to promising faculty in the College of the Liberal Arts who have demonstrated an outstanding record of teaching, research and service in the first part of their careers and whose work reflects the importance of integrating ethics into teaching and research.  The appointment includes support to encourage further development of their ethics-related research and teaching programs.

The endowed professorships were created from an estate gift made by Doug and Joyce Sherwin. Doug, who graduated from Penn State with a degree in chemical engineering in 1940, died in 2015; Joyce preceded him in death in 2013. When announcing their gift in 2008, Doug and Joyce indicated they did so in large part because they wanted future students to benefit from strong, caring faculty much like Doug had as a student. They chose to establish the professorships in the College of the Liberal Arts because they felt it would have the greatest impact on the largest number of students.

“We are so grateful to the Sherwins for their commitment to ethics and to the College of the Liberal Arts,” Welch said. “I can think of no better way to memorialize them than through supporting promising early career faculty and their work on ethics.”

“Gifts such as this visionary endowment from Doug and Joyce Sherwin help to ensure that Penn State students benefit from faculty who are committed to infusing ethics into all dimension of their teaching and research,” Tuana said. “In this way, the Sherwin Early Career Professorships help to achieve their vision that one of the legacies of a Penn State education would be ethical literacy and ethical leadership.”

Engels, who is also director of graduate studies for the Department of Communication Arts and Sciences, is a rhetorical scholar who studies the rhetorical foundations of democratic culture.  He is the author of "The Politics of Resentment: A Genealogy" (2015) and "Enemyship: Democracy and Counter-Revolution in the Early Republic" (2010), and has just completed a new book titled "The Art of Gratitude." He has received both the Karl R. Wallace Award and the New Investigator Award from the National Communication Association for his work.

McDonald’s research focuses on the intersection of environment and security around food in American history since the end of World War II. His current book project examines the use of food as a form of American power from 1945 to 1975, while his first book, "Food Security" (2010), explored how understandings of world food problems shifted during the late 20th century.

McDonald is co-editor of two books that examine challenges to human security: "Global Environmental Change and Human Security" (2009) and "Landmines and Human Security: International Politics and War’s Hidden Legacy" (2004). McDonald’s articles and reviews have appeared in Penn State Journal of Law and International Affairs, Global Environmental Politics, Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics, Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, Environment, The Environmental Change and Security Project Report, Global Environmental Politics, and The Natural Resources Journal, among others.

The Rock Ethics Institute, established in 2001 with a gift from Doug and Julie Rock, has helped make Penn State a world leader in ethically informed research and educational efforts.  Based in the College of the Liberal Arts, the institute integrates ethics initiatives across the University, including partnerships spanning the sciences, engineering, humanities, and social sciences.