Faculty Fellows Program

Faculty Fellows Program

The Rock Ethics Institute Faculty Fellowship encourages innovative approaches to ethics-related research across disciplines, supporting interdisciplinary engagement and collaborations among faculty and promoting moral literacy and leadership across the University.

Projects that engage with the research interests of the Institute’s Core Faculty and current research initiatives are encouraged. We also welcome proposals that engage with community partners, incorporate students as research collaborators, or are likely to lead to curricular innovations.

REI Faculty Fellowships provide a two-course release from teaching during a single academic year. For each fellowship, the Institute provides up to $10,000 in course buyout funds to compensate for releases. Up to two fellowships are awarded annually.

Fellows are invited to participate actively in the Rock Ethics Institute’s intellectual community, to attend and participate in Institute events, and to present and discuss their work at public colloquia.


Penn State faculty members at all career levels and established research scientists are eligible to apply. Faculty may apply individually or as two-member teams. Each faculty member may submit only one proposal per year.

While faculty from any Penn State campus are eligible, those not in residence at University Park should explain how they will meet the Institute’s expectations for active involvement in our intellectual community, collaborations with Institute faculty, and attendance at Institute events during the fellowship year.

Faculty are eligible to apply for fellowships from multiple centers or institutes, but applicants awarded more than one fellowship for the same academic year can only accept one fellowship for that year.

Fellowship proposals are evaluated according to the following criteria:

  • The centrality of ethical issues, broadly understood, to the project.
  • The significance and impact of the project, including its likelihood of resulting in high-quality research outcomes, such as peer-reviewed publications, creative works, or external funding proposals.
  • The interdisciplinary and collaborative potential of the project, including its likelihood of engaging with Rock faculty and the Institute’s research initiatives, and its promise for establishing collaborations that continue beyond the funding period.
  • The project’s potential for bringing added value through engagement with community partners, incorporation of student collaborators, the potential for curricular innovation, or other contributions to promoting moral literacy and leadership on or off campus.

Application Process:

To apply for a 2021–2022 Rock Ethics Institute Faculty Fellowship, submit the following materials in a single PDF to RockEthics@psu.edu by October 31, 2020:

  1. A cover sheet that includes the applicant’s contact information and approval signatures from the applicant’s Department Head and the Associate Dean for Research of the applicant’s college. In the case of team applications, approval signatures are required from Department Heads and Associate Deans for Research for each faculty applicant. (You can download our online fill-in-the-blank cover sheet. It will still need to be printed for signatures.)
  2. A 100-word abstract for the proposed research project.
  3. A detailed statement of no more than 2,000 words (single-spaced) that addresses the following:
    • A description of the research to be conducted during the fellowship period, with a timeline and description of expected research products (e.g., presentations, publications, creative works, grant submissions, etc.)
    • An account of the originality and significance of the proposed research and the relevance of ethics to its content or methods
    • An explanation of the collaborative potential of the project, including its promise for building interdisciplinary bridges with REI faculty, engaging with Institute research initiatives, and inspiring collaborations that will extend beyond the funding period. Applicants are encouraged to identify concrete opportunities for collaboration with specific faculty when possible
    • A description of any added value that the project brings to promoting moral literacy and leadership on or off-campus (e.g., engagement with student collaborators or community partners, contribution to curricular innovations, establishing institutional partnerships, etc.)
  1. An abbreviated CV/bio sketch of no more than five pages. NSF or NIH-style bio sketches are welcome.

Successful applicants will be notified by December 4, 2020.

Fellowship recipients will be expected to submit a report at the end of the fellowship period summarizing the outcomes of the research project and any plans for its continuation. Past fellows [LINK TO: Previous Fellows page] may also be contacted periodically for updates on the longer-term outcomes of their Rock-supported research and collaborations.

Please direct any questions about Faculty Fellowships or the application process to Ben Jones at btj7@psu.edu.

Current Fellows

Associate Teaching Professor of Human Development and Family Studies, Penn State Brandywine
Associate Professor of Psychology, Penn State Brandywine

Past Fellows

Professor of Architecture
Professor of Hospitality Finance
Director, Food Decisions Research Laboratory
Director, Research, I-CHRIE
Editor, ICHRIE Penn State Research Reports
2016/17 Rock Ethics Institute Faculty Fellow
Professor of Civil Engineering
2017/18 Rock Ethics Institute Faculty Fellow
Associate Professor of Philosophy, Bioethics, and Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
2015/16 Rock Ethics Institute Faculty Fellow
Professor of Agricultural and Biological Engineering
Director of Graduate Studies
2016/17 Rock Ethics Institute Faculty Fellow
Professor of Management and Organization
Frank & Mary Jean Smeal Research Fellow
2018/19 Rock Ethics Institute Faculty Fellow
Associate Professor, Philosophy
Founding Director, Collegium of Black Women Philosophers
Director, Cultivating Underrepresented Students in Philosophy
Assistant Professor of Sociology
2017/18 Rock Ethics Institute Faculty Fellow