Ted Toadvine headshotUNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Ted Toadvine, professor of philosophy and environmental studies at the University of Oregon, has been named director of the Rock Ethics Institute at Penn State. Toadvine’s tenure as director will begin in January 2017.

“We are delighted to welcome Ted as the next leader of the Rock Ethics Institute,” said Susan Welch, dean of the Penn State College of the Liberal Arts. “He is an excellent scholar who also brings a great deal of experience as an administrator to this position. Given his credentials, I have no doubt that he will build upon the strong foundation molded by founding director Nancy Tuana and help lift ‘The Rock’ to even greater heights.”

Toadvine has been a member of the University of Oregon faculty since 2003 and served as head of its Department of Philosophy from 2011 to 2014. Before that, he was assistant professor of philosophy at Emporia State University and served as chair of the university’s Division of Social Sciences from 2002 to 2003. He was also a visiting associate professor of environmental studies at Oberlin College during the 2010-11 academic year.

Toadvine specializes in contemporary continental philosophy, especially the philosophy of nature and environment — work that intersects with one of the Rock Ethics Institute’s priorities, which is the ethics of climate change. Toadvine is the author of "Merleau-Ponty’s Philosophy of Nature" (2009) and the editor and translator of six books, including "Nature’s Edge: Boundary Explorations in Ecological Theory and Practice" (2007). He is currently co-editing the forthcoming volume "Climate Change and the Task of Thinking" with Timothy Christion Myers.

Toadvine directs the "Series in Continental Thought" at Ohio University Press, the longest-running English-language book series in continental philosophy; he is also editor-in-chief of Environmental Philosophy. Toadvine serves on the boards of the Center for Advanced Research in Phenomenology Inc. and the International Merleau-Ponty Circle, and he is a member of the Central European Institute of Philosophy’s scientific board. 

Toadvine received his bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Salisbury University and both his master’s degree and doctorate in philosophy from the University of Memphis.

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.