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Science & Engineering Ethics

Undergraduates honored with Rock Ethics Institute 2017 Stand Up Award

by rjp218 May 17, 2017
2017 Penn State Stand Up student awardees, from left to right, Hayly Hoch, Alexis Scott and Brian Davis.Image: Heidi Lynne PhotographyPenn State student Brian Davis speaking at a campus rally he organized about the Orlando, Florida, nightclub shooting.  Penn State student Hayly Hoch on the Penn State Student Farm.mage: Gabrielle ManninoPenn State student Alexis Scott, with the Queer & Transgender People of Color student group, during Pride Week. The Rock Ethics Institute at Penn State recently celebrated the 10th Anniversary of the Stand Up Award by honoring Brian Anthony Davis, Hayly Hoch, and Alexis Scott. This award is presented to Penn State Undergraduate students who have demonstrated courage, fortitude, and ethical leadership by taking a stand for a person, a cause, or a belief.

Two Penn State Researchers named Rock Ethics Institute Faculty Fellows

by rjp218 Apr 07, 2017
Gary Adler, Jeff Catchmark, Martin Pietrucha, Rose Jolly, Amit Sharma The faculty fellows, Gary John Adler, Jr. and Martin T. Pietrucha, will help integrate curricular and research projects to advance the Rock Ethics Institute’s goal of integrating ethics throughout the Penn State curriculum.

Gut check: Researchers develop measures to capture moral judgments and empathy

Image 20170329 8587 1w2hgpf

by rjp218 Mar 30, 2017
Image 20170329 8587 1w2hgpf Asking people about morality and empathy may not yield sincere answers. Moral sentiments, can, indeed, be measured.

Ask an Ethicist: Representing yourself honestly in an interview

by rjp218 Mar 13, 2017
Saleem Clarke headshot Consider your personal brand; how can you honestly represent yourself to potential employers? We have all heard the phrase “honesty is the best policy” but sometimes during an interview it is not clear what implications our honesty will have on our employability. Sure, we all want to present ourselves in the best possible light, but some interview questions can make us consider how to respond in a truthful and ethical manner.

Ask an Ethicist: Is it ethical to use robots to kill in a war?

by rjp218 Feb 24, 2017
Alan R. Wagner The advent of autonomous (self-controlled) robots presents important new questions for those who study robotics and ethics. Most people who study these topics believe that recent advances in autonomous robots and artificial intelligence will fundamentally change warfare. Autonomous robots, because they are not physiologically limited, can operate without sleep or food, perceive things that people do not, and move in ways that humans cannot. These abilities result in military advantages. Some scholars passionately argue that the use of robots to kill in war is unethical and others suggest that using robots in warfare may actually be more ethical than not using robots. So, is it ethical to use robots to kill during a war?

Ask an Ethicist: Making amends for lying on a resume

by rjp218 Feb 09, 2017
Brenda Fabian headshot Getting a great job right out of school can be challenging. Sometimes you may be tempted to embellish a bit on your resume or alter some of your professional or educational experience. Lying on your resume not only affects you, but your colleagues, supervisors, and those who didn’t get the job you landed. Lying on your resume also puts your company’s reputation at risk. So what happens when someone who lied on their resume wants to go back and set things right? This week’s column discusses just that.

Ask an Ethicist: Does posting photos of my kids on social media violate their privacy?

by rjp218 Jan 26, 2017
Daniel Susser Social media has become an integral part of many of our lives. We open Facebook and Instagram when we wake up in the morning, and we check them one last time before we go to sleep. These services are important to us, because they connect us with others. But what happens when parents post photos of their children? Does it violate their privacy?

Rock affiliate faculty member to serve as a visiting scholar for NEH Summer Institute

by rjp218 Jan 24, 2017
Sarah Clark Miller 2017 headshot Sarah Clark Miller, associate professor of philosophy and women's, gender, and sexuality studies, and Rock affiliate faculty member, will serve as a visiting scholar for “Diverse Philosophical Approaches to Sexual Violence,” a National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute to be held at Elon University June 18-30, 2017.

Call for Panelists for the Middle East Studies Association (MESA) Annual Meeting

by rjp218 Jan 19, 2017
This panel seeks to carve out new pathways into the subject of children, youth and media. Abstracts are sought that critically interpret how Middle Eastern, North African, and Persian/Arabian Gulf children and youth use, play with, produce, interpret and/or are influenced by media in conflict zones. Abstracts should come from or be framed from the “voice”, or perspective of children and youth and connect how their respective media uses and practices impinge on the development of their culture, constructions of civic and national identity, intergroup attitudes, political opinions, and/or peace and conflict related practices and behaviors. To that effect, papers might examine the media uses and associated daily lives -- past and/or present -- of among others, Algerian, Iranian, Iraqi, Israeli, Lebanese, Libyan, Palestinian, Syrian, Tuareg, Yemini or Yezedi girls and boys. Papers that explore these areas as they relate to the lives of those among them who have been (forcibly-) migrated, are borderlands children, have been born due to the uses of rape as a weapon of war, and/or whom, through them, have become child mothers, are particularly encouraged.

Ask an Ethicist: Is it ethical to accept an internship offer from networking only?

by rjp218 Jan 16, 2017
Susan Knell Networking can sometimes help land an internship. But sometimes we may feel guilty because we don’t feel that we deserve the internship because of other factors, such as lower grades. Would it be unethical for you to accept an internship based on networking alone?

Rock Ethics Institute, Leonhard Center discusses ethics-across-the-curriculum program at national conference

by rjp218 Jan 16, 2017
Pictured: Eduardo Mendieta, Jeff Catchmark, Denver Tang, and Tom Litzinger The workshop, “Overcoming Challenges to Infusing Ethics into the Development of Engineers,” was held from January 10 – 12, 2017 at the National Academy of Sciences Building in Washington, DC. Eduardo Mendieta, associate director of the Rock Ethics Institute, Jeffrey M. Catchmark, professor of agricultural and biological engineering and a Rock Ethics Institute faculty fellow, and Tom Litzinger, director of the Leonhard Center and professor of mechanical engineering, shared their ongoing development of an ethics-across-the-curriculum program for the undergraduate biological engineering major at Penn State. This project also seeks to create a model for implementing ethics-related curriculum changes that can be emulated in other engineering departments.

Ask an Ethicist: Lost property on campus

by rjp218 Dec 05, 2016
Tom Sowerby This happens to all of us. For days, sometimes weeks, we may see a forgotten umbrella or other lost item sitting in the back of a classroom or office. After some time, many of us wonder if we could simply take that lost property. Is it ethical to take the lost property?

Denver Tang receives best paper award at international conference

by rjp218 Nov 08, 2016
Denver Tang awardDenver Award Certificate Denver Tang, Rock Ethics Institute Postdoctoral Scholar, received the Best Paper Award at the 11th International Conference on Science, Technology and Education Policy in Hangzhou, China.

Ask an Ethicist: Can I practice interviewing during an actual interview?

by rjp218 Nov 03, 2016
Cassie Rosas Interviewing can be stressful and a common way to help become better at interviewing is practice. But what happens when someone uses actual interviews with companies they have no interest in to just practice? Is it ethical to take away these interview slots to just practice or are there better ways to handle this situation?

Nancy Tuana receives PA IPL 2016 Visionary Award

by rjp218 Nov 01, 2016
Nancy Tuana receiving Visionary Award Nancy Tuana, founding director of the Rock Ethics Institute and DuPont/Class of 1949 Professor of Philosophy and Women's Studies, received the 2016 Pennsylvania Interfaith Power & Light Visionary Award for her work with climate change ethics.

2016 Stand Up awardees speak at ‘The Village at Penn State’

by rjp218 Oct 27, 2016
2016 Stand Up honorees The 2016 Stand Up honorees, Jaden Rankin-Wahlers, Alanna Kaiser and Nathan Larkin, spoke at ‘The Village at Penn State: State College Retirement Communities’ on Friday, October 21, 2016. The students presented on the topics of which they were honored last spring.

Environmental Justice

by rjp218 Oct 27, 2016
We Americans like to think of ourselves as an ethical people. For generations, our presidents have referred to America as the “shining city on a hill” and “the brightest beacon for freedom and opportunity in the world.” We pledge allegiance to a flag that stands for “liberty and justice for all.” That word “all” is key. If our lofty declarations are to have any meaning, then justice must be available for everyone, including the vulnerable and the oppressed.

Rock research associate to join IEEE General Principles committee on creating ethical autonomous systems

by rjp218 Oct 26, 2016
Alan Wagner headshot Alan R. Wagner, ethics core faculty member at the Rock Ethics Institute and assistant professor of aerospace engineering, was recently accepted onto The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) General Principles committee on creating ethical autonomous systems.

Ask an Ethicist: How important is empathy in the U.S. Presidential election?

by rjp218 Oct 18, 2016
Daryl Cameron headshot As Election Day nears, voters are debating the qualities that make for an effective leader. One of these contested qualities is empathy: the ability to understand and resonate with the experiences of others. Does it matter if a President can relate to you and care about what you are going through?

Ask an Ethicist: To stand or to sit for the national anthem

by rjp218 Sep 30, 2016
Josh Inwood headshot Expressions of patriotism can be important to the health of the nation and can serve as a rallying point for a diverse and multicultural nation. Equally important is the right to peaceful protest including the right to express opinions that some people might find antithetical to the nation. Recently this tension has come to the fore as athletes and other prominent public figures have begun silently protesting police abuses during the singing of the national anthem. This week’s column tackles this important issue.

Ask an Ethicist: What should I do if I encounter discrimination in the workplace?

by rjp218 Sep 23, 2016
Tom C. Hogan The workplace should be an inclusive, safe and welcoming environment. But what happens if you feel discriminated against or someone who is known to discriminate or regularly uses offensive speech is promoted. How should you deal with this and what resources do you have at your disposal? This week’s column aims to offer some advice on the subject.

Penn State welcomes three new ethics core faculty members

by rjp218 Sep 13, 2016
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 engineering 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.

Welcome Message from the Interim Director

by rjp218 Sep 13, 2016
Eduardo Mendieta headshot It is my pleasure to welcome you back to another exciting year at the Rock Ethics Institute. This coming year promises to be a busy but also a creative and hope inspiring one for all of us at the Rock and the University Community in general.

Ask an Ethicist: Can I share my interview questions with peers?

by rjp218 Sep 09, 2016
Wayne Cross headshot In preparation for Fall Career Days at Penn State, we are publishing a five-part series retailed to the career-fair. Interviews can be stressful, especially for the first time. Many people feel that if they know the questions ahead of time, they’ll do a better job as they will be prepared. But is that really true? And, is knowing the questions ahead of time ethical or is it considered cheating?

Ask an Ethicist: Embellishing on a résumé

by rjp218 Sep 09, 2016
Erica Kryst Headshot In preparation for Fall Career Days at Penn State, we are publishing a five-part series retailed to the career-fair. In many cases, the résumé is your first point of contact with the employer. You know how important it is and you really want to stand out from the competition. Is it ethical to embellish or exaggerate a bit on your résumé?

Ask an Ethicist: Should I accept a job from an internship that didn't seem like the right fit?

by rjp218 Sep 09, 2016
Ashley Rippey In preparation for Fall Career Days at Penn State, we are publishing questions over the next week that will discuss internships, interviewing, résumés, and reference writing. This question centers around a job offer from an internship that didn't seem like the right fit. There are ethical implications in deciding whether to accept a job offer after completing an internship or co-op. Today, we discover what some of those issues might be and how to approach them.

Ask an Ethicist: Should I attend a career fair after accepting a job offer?

by rjp218 Sep 09, 2016
Lesley Jackson Headshot In preparation for Fall Career Days at Penn State, we are publishing questions over the next week that will discuss internships, interviewing, résumés, and reference writing. This question centers around attendance at the career fair. It's a great moment when you finally get that first job or internship offer. It feels even better to formally accept the offer, feeling secure about that next step in your career. But what if that offer comes before a career fair and you accept? Is it ethical to still attend the fair and take up the time recruiters could be spending with other students?

Ask an Ethicist: Serving as a reference (or not)

by rjp218 Sep 09, 2016
Jennifer Eury In preparation for Fall Career Days at Penn State, we are publishing questions over the next week that will discuss internships, interviewing, résumés, and reference writing. This first question centers around writing reference letters. Most of us have either served as a reference for someone or asked someone to serve as a reference for us. But what happens when someone is asked to serve as a reference for a colleague or student and for whatever reason, the individual is not comfortable serving in this capacity? How should someone respond to the request?

Rock Ethics Institute names new director

by rjp218 May 10, 2016
Ted Toadvine headshot 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.