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Four Penn State Researchers named Rock Ethics Institute Faculty Fellows

The fellows, Jeffery M. Catchmark, Rosemary Jolly, Sarah Clark Miller, and Amit Sharma, will help support initiatives that integrate curricular and research components by building interdisciplinary collaborations that will advance the Rock’s goal of integrating ethics into the Penn State curriculum.

This article first appeared on Penn State News.

UNIVERSITY PARK, PA – Four Penn State faculty members have been named Faculty Fellows of the Rock Ethics Institute. All Penn State University Park faculty members and research scientists were eligible to apply for either an individual or collaborative fellowship.  These individuals will become an active partner in the Rock faculty community which includes faculty hired through Penn State’s co-funded ethics hires, a transformative effort that aims to make Penn State a leader in collaborative, interdisciplinary ethics research and in ethical literacy.

The 2016 Faculty Fellows are Jeffery M. Catchmark, associate professor and director of graduate studies, agricultural and biological engineeringRosemary Jolly, professor and Weiss Chair of the Humanities; Sarah Clark Miller, associate professor of philosophybioethics, and women's, gender, and sexuality studies; and Amit Sharma, associate professor of hospitality finance and director of the Food Decisions Research Laboratory.

Jeffrey M. Catchmark

With this new Faculty Fellows program, the Rock Ethics Institute aims to continue its mission to promote ethical literacy and catalyze ethical leadership throughout the Penn State community and to foster interdisciplinary ethics research designed to address significant social issues and pressing world problems. 

Catchmark will develop ways to better integrate ethics into the biological engineering degree program and real-world practice, create a new graduate course involving ethics, and work toward the development of institutional management processes promoting ethical leadership and decision-making.

Rosemary Jolly headshotJolly, who leads a team of researchers in the REACH program (Research Engagement & Community Healing), will initiate her work on Bodymapping, in collaboration with CAPS and the Center for Women Students. Bodymapping combines prevention and treatment of gender-based violence, including sexual assault and rape. Victim-survivors create the maps in a facilitated, therapeutic group process.  The maps will then be used (with the permission of their creators) for facilitated discussions about the embodied suffering of survivors of sexual abuse and assault with a variety of campus groups, both male and female.

Photo used on people page.Miller, working with Rosemary Jolly, will focus on the ethics of sexual violence by designing programs to foster the recovery of victims. She will also investigate the relationship between biomarkers and the reduction of the negative health outcomes associated with sexual violence, including PTSD, in the context of bodymapping and related recovery programs. Additionally, she will continue work on two ethics and engineering projects that incorporate ethics into STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) education and nanotechnology.

Amit Sharma headshotSharma will work to develop a core course for the food systems minor with an ethics component that can be built into other similar courses. Additionally, he will continue his research looking at incentives in the school food service system to determine if they actually work in these heavily regulated food environments. Eventually, this project will also take place at schools in both South Africa and India.

Through education, research, and outreach, each Fellow will help the Rock catalyze ethically informed scholarship, promote ethical literacy, and encourage ethical decision-making at Penn State and beyond.  ”The Faculty Fellows Program is an important initiative at the Rock that will allow Penn State faculty, who are doing innovative work on moral literacy and ethically focused research, to have both a pedagogical and societal impact and the ability to interact and undertake collaborative projects with the co-funded ethics hires,” said Eduardo Mendieta, associate director of the Rock Ethics Institute and professor of philosophy. “We think the Faculty Fellows will provide guidance to the more junior faculty, many of whom have just arrived here. Together the Fellows and the co-funded ethics hires make up a synergistic cohort that we anticipate will put Penn State and the Rock Ethics Institute at the forefront of ethical leadership, ethically infused curriculum, and generative ethical awareness.”

The Rock Ethics Institute was established through a $5 million gift in 2001 from Doug and Julie Rock to the College of the Liberal Arts. The institute’s mission is to promote ethical awareness and inquiry across the University, and in the public and professional sectors, through a three-fold emphasis on teaching, research and outreach. Recently, the Rocks endowed the Nancy Tuana Directorship of the Rock Ethics Institute with an additional $5 million gift, which was part of a larger commitment they made to the College during ‘For the Future: The Campaign for Penn State Students.’