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Penn State welcomes three new ethics core faculty members

The Rock Ethics Institute at Penn State welcomes three new core faculty members in ethical research: C. Daryl Cameron (Psychology), Joshua F.J. Inwood (Geography), and Alan R. Wagner (Aerospace Engineering). These faculty members will help strengthen an interdisciplinary community of scholars and educators from across the University and they are committed to enhancing Penn State’s curriculum and research expertise in ethics.

by: Kendra Hepler

From left to right: Joshua F.J. Inwood, associate professor of geography; C. Daryl Cameron, assistant professor of psychology; Alan R. Wagner, assistant professor of aerospace engineeringThis fall the Rock Ethics Institute at Penn State welcomes the second group of ethics core faculty members recruited to expand the University's national leadership in ethics research and ethical literacy. The faculty members, C. Daryl Cameron (Psychology), Joshua F.J. Inwood (Geography), and Alan R. Wagner (Aerospace Engineering), are part of the University’s transformative initiative to position itself at the intersection of its research strengths and the world’s major ethical conversations.

The hires are the next three in a series of 12 tenure-track appointments across an array of academic disciplines, co-funded by the University and the hiring colleges and departments. The four final ethics core faculty members will be made over the next year.

The new faculty and their areas of expertise are:

C. Daryl Cameron, assistant professor of psychology, is the director of the Empathy and Moral Psychology (EMP) Lab, where his research focuses on empathy and the psychological processes involved in moral decision-making, and in particular on how motivational factors lead people to feel less empathy for others. Cameron applies an interdisciplinary approach incorporating affective science, social cognition, and moral philosophy.

Joshua F.J. Inwood, associate professor of geography, is currently focusing on critical race theory, peace geographies, social movements, political economy, and urban geography. His research seeks to understand the social, political and economic structures that make human lives vulnerable to all manner of exploitations, as well as how oppressed populations use social justice movements to change their material conditions.

Alan R. Wagner, assistant professor of aerospace engineering, is the director of the Robot Ethics and Aerial Vehicles Lab (REAL) specializing in the nascent field of machine ethics. This lab develops artificially intelligent robots which ethically behave and interact with the people around them. Wagner’s research combines engineering, psychology, and ethics with the intent of better understanding the societal impact robots and autonomous aerial vehicles will have on the world. He is currently investigating human-robot trust, including the conditions that encourage or discourage people from trusting robots as well the possibility of developing robots which will evaluate whether or not they can trust people.

Continuing the University’s commitment to interdisciplinary ethics research and teaching, these new faculty members will help build an interdisciplinary community of scholars from across the University. Additionally, they will work to integrate ethical analyses into policy-relevant research and to enhance collaborations with colleges to advance the integration of ethics into the curriculum at all levels, including graduate and postdoctoral mentoring in research ethics. The new faculty will have partial appointments in the Rock Ethics Institute, based in the College of the Liberal Arts at Penn State.

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.’