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Two Penn State researchers named Rock Ethics Institute Faculty Fellows

Kathryn Sophia Belle, Penn State associate professor of philosophy, and Forrest Briscoe, Penn State professor of management and organization, have been named Faculty Fellows of the Rock Ethics Institute for the 2018-19 academic year.
by Rebecca Bennitt Jan 11, 2018
Two Penn State researchers named Rock Ethics Institute Faculty Fellows

Faculty Fellows '18 - Belle (l) and Briscoe (r)

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Kathryn Sophia Belle, Penn State associate professor of philosophy, and Forrest Briscoe, Penn State professor of management and organization, have been named Faculty Fellows of the Rock Ethics Institute for the 2018-19 academic year.  

Now in its third year, the Faculty Fellows program is part of the Rock Ethics Institute’s 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. As the institute's newest faculty fellows, Belle and Briscoe will have the opportunity to pursue curricular and research collaborations with faculty currently affiliated with the institute.

“This year’s Faculty Fellows are looking at research related to religion at the intersections of race and feminism, as well as privacy and security issues in human genomics databases and the ethical considerations,” said Eduardo Mendieta, associate director of the Rock Ethics Institute. “Our Faculty Fellows program is generating new, innovative ethics curriculum, and interdisciplinary research. We look forward to the work that Kathryn Sophia Belle and Forrest Briscoe will bring to our team of collaborative research.”

Belle specializes in continental philosophy, Africana philosophy, philosophy of race, and black feminist philosophy. Through her fellowship, she will examine the tools of ethical literacy and leadership that Buddhism provides to address oppressive systems such as caste, racism, colonialism, sexism and heterosexism. Beyond the fellowship, Belle plans to collaborate with Rock faculty to offer a course and organize a conference around the project. 

Briscoe’s work focuses on organizations adopting new practices and strategies as industries experience change. He is especially interested in how organizational decision makers behave when new changes are controversial, with stakeholders advocating both for and against them. Through his fellowship, he will investigate the unique privacy issues related to sensitive medical and behavioral information found in human genomic databases, which are vulnerable to data breaches as they are shared and accessed by researchers, medical practitioners, technology and pharmaceutical companies, and government agencies. The fellowship will support the publishing of a white paper, as well as an innovative survey on perceptions of genomics privacy risks and benefits.

About the Rock Ethics Institute

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 commitment they made to the college during "For the Future: The Campaign for Penn State Students."