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The Rock Ethics Institute

The Rock Ethics Institute promotes engaged ethics research and ethical leadership from its home in Penn State's College of the Liberal Arts.
by David Price Oct 29, 2020

The Rock Ethics Institute (REI) promotes engaged ethics research and ethical leadership from its home in Penn State's College of the Liberal Arts.

Ethics is too important to relegate to a single course or academic department. This core principle has guided the Rock Ethics Institute since its founding in 2001. Our mission is to integrate ethics across Penn State into the many aspects of University life—research, teaching, and service to the broader community.

The Rock Ethics Institute’s strength lies in our core faculty, who are jointly funded by REI and a wide range of different departments and colleges. With appointments in disciplines from the humanities to engineering to law, these faculty promote ethical literacy and leadership across the University.

Beyond its core faculty, the Rock Ethics Institute further expands its reach through dozens of affiliate faculty, fellowship programs for both faculty and students, and seed grant funding to support interdisciplinary teams engaged in innovative ethics research.   

As part of our mission, the Rock Ethics Institute has a strong commitment to promoting ethical dialogue and action in response to pressing challenges that face society. Each year the Institute sponsors dozens of speakers, panels, competitions, and conferences for the University and broader community. Our annual events include the Harold K. Schilling Memorial Lecture on Science, Technology, and Society; the Richard B. Lippin Lecture in Ethics; and Stand Up Awards recognizing Penn State undergraduates who have demonstrated exceptional ethical leadership.


Rock Ethics Institute Statement in Support of Racial Justice 

The Rock Ethics Institute at the Pennsylvania State University is a community of scholars with representation from many countries, racial and ethnic groups, gender identities, and political perspectives. Our work is dedicated to ensuring that the world and its people cultivate the ethical commitments necessary to create more just, peaceful, and equitable societies. Progress toward that future requires recognizing and proactively working to end systemic racism and entrenched injustice, whose destructive consequences fall disproportionately on Black and Brown bodies. We condemn police brutality, violence against protesters exercising their constitutional rights, the erosion of democratic practices and norms, and White supremacy in all its forms. We commit ourselves to advancing struggles to achieve justice for all peoples at our University, in our local community, in our state, in the broader United States, and across the globe.