The Rock Ethics Institute

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Faculty Fellowships

Rock Ethics Institute Faculty Fellowships, awarded annually since 2015, provide a two-course release from teaching during a single academic year to support ethics-related research projects by the faculty of Penn State. For each fellowship, the Rock Ethics Institute provides up to $7,000 in course buyout funds to compensate for releases. Up to two fellowships are awarded annually.
by rmb529 Sep 13, 2019

Rock Ethics Institute Faculty Fellowships, awarded annually since 2015, provide a two-course release from teaching during a single academic year to support ethics-related research projects by the faculty of Penn State. For each fellowship, the Rock Ethics Institute provides up to $10,000 in course buyout funds to compensate for releases. Up to two fellowships are awarded annually. 

The fellowship program aims to encourage innovative approaches to ethics-related research across disciplines, to support interdisciplinary engagement and collaborations among faculty, and to promote moral literacy and leadership across the University system. 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.

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

The Rock Ethics Institute currently supports research initiatives on Climate and Sustainability Ethics; Critical Philosophy of Race; Engineering, Technology, and Ethics; Ethics and Health; Food Innovation, Ethics, Leadership, Development, and Sustainability (FIELDS); Gender and Sex Equity; Moral Agency and Moral Development; and Restorative Justice.

Eligibility:  

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 associated with the College of the Liberal Arts, but applicants awarded more than one fellowship for the same academic year can only accept one 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. 

Those interested in applying should read through the application process


CURRENT FACULTY FELLOWS



Alexandra Staub

Alexandra Staub

Professor of Architecture

Project: "Ethics of the Built Environment"

Ethics in the built environment spans many thematically interlinked areas, including climate and sustainability, social justice and race, engineering ethics, health ethics, gender ethics, and public life. Building on my research and teaching of the past two years, my Rock Ethics Institute Faculty Fellowship project will adapt both stakeholder theory and principled negotiation theory to examine a broad sweep of ethical issues at the core of built environment design and production. The project will result in a peer-reviewed journal article (to be expanded into an edited book manuscript) and a series of articles aimed at a more general audience.

More about Alexandra Staub...



Fred Fonseca

Fred Fonseca

Associate Professor of Information Sciences and Technology
Director, Center for Innovative Online Learning (COIL)
Affiliate Assistant Professor of Geography, The College of Earth and Mineral Sciences

Project: Did the Data Win After All? Looking for a More Reflexive Data Science

Data-driven science seems to proffer a return of the view of the primacy of data but with the twist that the data is being used as if it was a-theoretical although it might actually be hyper-theoretical. If science can be done without coherent models or theories then there is no way to evaluate the ethical impact of science. We are proposing to study and develop a hermeneutic and anti-positivist direction to suggest a new understanding of science. Using Heidegger’s “The Question Concerning Technology”, we are looking for a new understanding of reality incorporating both the values of the “old” science and the current view of data science. This is part of the needed new critical approaches to Big Data in what is being called “Data Ethics”. We are trying to create a foundation that let scientists use the a- and hyper-theoretical Big Data in a thoughtful way, creating a more reflexive data-driven science, one which is still effective but also deals with the impact that theories have on human life.