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Sarah Clark Miller

by SKeira Aug 21, 2018
Sarah Clark Miller

Associate Professor of Philosophy, Bioethics, and Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

Department of Philosophy

College of the Liberal Arts

2015/16 Rock Ethics Institute Faculty Fellow

222 Sparks Building
University Park, PA 16802

Office Phone: (814) 865-6969


  1. Ph.D.in Philosophy from Stony Brook University
  2. M.A. in Philosophy, Stony Brook University, 1999
  3. B.A. in Dance and Philosophy from Haverford College


Sarah Clark Miller received her PhD in Philosophy from Stony Brook University and her BA in Dance and Philosophy (magna cum laude) from Haverford College. Dr. Miller's research and teaching interests include theoretical and practical ethics, social and political philosophy, feminist theory, and the history of moral philosophy. She has published on the themes of global ethics, need and obligation, harm and moral injury, Kant's practical philosophy, biomedical ethics, and Simone de Beauvoir in journals such as Social Theory and Practice and The Journal of Social Philosophy. Her first book, The Ethics of Need: Agency, Dignity, and Obligation, appeared with Routledge Press in 2012. She is currently writing a second book on global responsibility.

Dr. Miller is involved in several of the Rock Ethics Institute's initiatives, with a current focus on K-12 Moral Literacy and sexual violence. She also is a board member of the Philosophy in an Inclusive Key Summer Institute (PIKSI), a program housed at the Rock Ethics Institute that is designed to encourage undergraduates from underrepresented groups to consider future study in philosophy. 

In 2009, Dr. Miller received two national awards: the March of Dimes Young Scholar Award in Perinatal Bioethics from the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities and the March of Dimes, and the Award for Best Paper by a Young Faculty Member from the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics. She was also awarded the Early Career Research Award by the University of Memphis (2009).

Rock Faculty Fellow Project Description

Ethics and Engineering

I am serving as a consultant for the reapplication of a National Science Foundation Creating Cultures of Ethical STEM grant that I originally wrote and served as PI on for the 2015 application. I have advised the new PI on revisions to the grant that respond to the criticisms raised in the reviewers’ comments on last year’s grant. In addition, I am working with Xiaofeng (Denver) Tang, a postdoctoral scholar of the Rock Ethics Institute and Tom Litzinger, Director of the Leonard Center for the Enhancement of Engineering, on several conference paper submissions that stem from the ethics workshop that we designed last spring for Penn State University graduate students involved with the National Science Foundation’s Nanosystems Engineering Research Center for Advanced Self-Powered Systems of Integrated Sensors and Technologies (ASSIST). We hope to present this research a multiple national-level conferences.

Ethics and Sexual Violence

I am a member of the REACH (Research Engagement and Community Healing), a research team focused on gender-based violence. In this capacity, I work with Rosemary Jolly, Weiss Chair of the Humanities, who will be a faculty fellow of the Rock next year. REACH is currently developing an innovative body mapping project designed to aid sexual violence victim-survivors in their recovery after sexual assault. Along with efforts to get this program up and running, we are conducting primary work on grants that will support this and other REACH projects. To this end, I will be conducting research to identify and develop preliminary materials for grant applications to entities such as the National Institutes of Health. For example, I am currently exploring the relationship between biomarkers and populations experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder resulting from sexual violence to determine what a grant that employs the use of biomarkers can demonstrate regarding potential stress reduction through the body mapping project. We are also in the early stages of exploring grant possibilities related to extremism, masculinity, and sexual violence in youth populations. This research is being conducted in conjunction with Mark Brennan, UNESCO Chair in Community, Leadership, and Youth Development and Professor in the College of Agricultural Sciences. REACH is also currently writing articles together. We are presently focusing on the importance of understanding campus sexual assault in the context of broader structural accounts of sexual assault. One aspect of my work on ethics and sexual violence as a Rock faculty fellow began last semester when I agreed to serve on the hiring committee for the Rock co-funded hire with the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Department on sexual violence and ethics. My work on this committee has continued into the present semester.

Finally, I wrote “Can Plato Help Us Pick the Next President?” a contribution to the Rock’s Ask an Ethicist column on the topic of ethical leadership in contemporary democracy.