Faculty List

We’re thrilled to be compiling a list (alphabetical by last name) of Penn State’s peace, justice, and faith faculty members (click on the name to be taken to their faculty webpage). If you know of someone who should also be on this list, please contact us!

Gary Adler, Assistant Professor of Sociology – gary.adler@psu.edu

“I’m a lifelong Roman Catholic who lives my faith through service, study, and prayer—often outside of parish communities. I have done this in a number of ways, including a “gap year” with the Capuchin Franciscans in service to homeless people; walking the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage; protesting the School of the Americas; and studying Catholic Social Thought at the Jesuit School of Theology. As a sociologist, I study religious social activism, religious change, and Catholicism. Currently, I’m interviewing rural religious leaders about church-state relationships in the United States.”

Jon Brockopp, Professor of History and Religious Studies – brockopp@psu.edu

“I am a scholar of Islamic history, committed to understanding the contributions of all people of faith to peace and justice. I have been an activist for banning nuclear weapons, gender and racial justice, and alternative forms of leadership. Most recently, I have been a climate activist and teach a course on the Ethics of Climate Change. I am a Christian and try to live up to the radical teachings of love of God and love of neighbor.”

Peter Buckland, Academic Programs Manager at Penn State’s Sustainability Institute and Affiliate Faculty in Educational Theory and Policy – rothrock@psu.edu

“I’m a Unitarian Universalist who’s spent my adult life working to protect the dignity and integrity of the interdependent web of life, human and more-than-human. This glorious Creation, Earth, deserves the respect, dignity, and care we grant to our fellow human beings. Will you join me and ask yourself, your family, and your community: ‘How we can make our common home a safe and just place so that all life can thrive?'”

Charlotte Eubanks, Associate Professor of Comparative Literature, Japanese, and Asian Studies – cde13@psu.edu
“I’m a Unitarian Universalist with a strong connection to the natural world and a thirst for racial justice, immigration reform, and GLBTQ rights. My research focuses on medieval Japanese Buddhism and contemporary arts-based activism in Japan. One of the courses I love teaching the most is CMLIT 100 (Reading Across Cultures), where we take up issues of migration, compassion, and how to create relationship with others.”

Ron Gebhardtsbauer, Emeritus Faculty teaching one Actuarial Science class each Fall – rug16@psu.edu  

“I’ve been a member of many Peace and Justice churches like University Baptist & Brethren Church here in State College, helped Sarah Malone start the Interfaith Initiative here which welcomes people of all faiths (encouraging my many Muslim and Palestinian students to attend), participated with many LGBTQA+ groups inside and outside the church, demonstrated at many women’s marches in DC, worked with Labor, and was lucky to be a member of a church where a majority of the members were African American.”

Ted Jaenicke, Professor of Agricultural Economics – tjaenicke@psu.edu

“Raised a Catholic, but now feeling at home in the Episcopal Church, I always found the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5) to be a very clear and deeply rooted call for peace and justice. My work at Penn State focuses mostly on the economics of food and health, access to food, and organic food and agriculture.

Mark Kissling, Assistant Professor of Education – mtk16@psu.edu

“My citizenship and scholarship are grounded in a strong commitment to working (and singing) for peace and ecological/social justice.  I grew up in a Lutheran church in Michigan.  As an adult, I have attended Lutheran and Presbyterian churches before moving to State College.  Here I attend and am active in the life of University Baptist and Brethren Church.  I believe deeply in the power of people coming together and taking action lovingly, especially at local scales.”

Brendan Prawdzik, Assistant Teaching Professor, English Department – bmp16@psu.edu

“Raised as a Catholic and having passed through stages of agnosticism, I converted to the Mennonite faith in 2013.  I did so because I was drawn to the Mennonite ethos of humility, simplicity, and service to the marginalized or excluded and those in need.  My work focuses on the literature, politics, religion, and culture of seventeenth-century Britain.”

Michelle Rodino-ColocinoAssociate Professor of Media Studies in the Bellisario College of Communications, affiliate faculty in Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies and the Rock Ethics Institute – michelle@psu.edu

I believe life on Earth is a precious miracle and that we should treat each other as the full miracles that we are. Doing this requires that we practice mindfulness, empathy, and a growth mindset. We cannot survive alone or against. Creating conditions where all people and life may flourish in peace and dignity requires that we understand the people and world around us, including ourselves, that we learn to build and not blame, that we ask questions without ego, and that we bear responsibility to abolish injustices in the world and right here in our community.”

Shoba Sivaprasad WadhiaSamuel Weiss Faculty Scholar | Clinical Professor of Law | Director, Center for Immigrants’ Rights Clinic | Building Community Through Compassion – ssw11@pennstatelaw.psu.edu 

Professor Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia is an expert on immigration law whose research focuses on the role of prosecutorial discretion in immigration law and the intersections of race, national security and immigration.  You can learn more at her website, www.beyonddeportation.com

Julia Spicher Kasdorf, Professor of English and Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies – jmk28@psu.edu

“I teach poetry writing at Penn State and maintain commitments to social justice, environmental justice, and outreach in the community.  My most recent book, Shale Play:  Poems and Photographs in the Fracking Fields was the consequence of a long collaboration with photographer Steven Rubin to document the human and environmental  impacts of fracking in Pennsylvania. I serve as faculty advisor to the creative writing club on campus and work with a committee of local citizens to coordinate “Out Loud in Bellefonte,” a literary arts series that takes place at the Bellefonte Art Museum for Centre County. I am Mennonite by birth and values, with deep roots in the Amish-Mennonite settlement in Mifflin County, and Episcopalian in practice.  Whereas Mennonites claim to be “neither Catholic nor Protestant,” Anglicans claim to be “both Catholic and Protestant,” so perhaps that locates me seeking a third way in a sacramental universe.”

Janet Swim, Professor of Psychology – jks4@psu.edu

“My faith journey has provided a core foundation for my interest in social and environmental issues.  It began with a conservative church upbringing (Reformed Church of America) which gave me appreciation for the faith, community, and practices that such settings provide.  My faith, however, moved to the more progressive where I was a member of a Methodist church, then a United Church of Christ, and, now, the Unitarian Universalistic Fellowship. The latter fits my current views of broadly appreciating the virtues garnered from multiple religious and spiritual paths, agnosticism and atheism, and secular knowledge with social and justice issues being core to the “Unitarian Seven Principles” (e.g., https://www.uua.org/beliefs/what-we-believe/principles).”

Chris Uhl, Professor of Biology – cfu1@psu.edu
“Pantheism; Conscious Objector to War; Believe that learning to Love Ourselves, Each Other and Earth is our largest challenge in these times.”

Anne WhitneyProfessor of Language and Literacy Education, Department of Curriculum and Instruction – awhitney@psu.edu
“My work as an educator is rooted in part in my faith commitment to love my neighbor. Whether I am doing research on writers and writing education, teaching in Penn State’s teacher education programs, mentoring graduate students, or working outside the university with faith groups, I try to bring literacies to bear on how we live and learn, always in relationship to one another.  I attend Grace Lutheran in downtown State College, where I can be found co-teaching adult Sunday School or singing in the choir.”

Jason Whitney, Program Coordinator of the Penn State Collegiate Recovery Community, Instructor of Education – jxw411@psu.edu
“As a person in long-term recovery from an alcohol use disorder, it is plain to me that there are spiritual solutions to a wide variety of afflictions, and that people are strongest when they are connected to others and have purposes larger than themselves.  No surprise, I see almost all spiritual processes as recovery processes, as nearly all personal and societal problems require some sort of spiritual support to make and sustain lasting changes — even when that spiritual support is disguised as the support of other people.  My family and I attend Grace Lutheran Church, where I teach high school Sunday School — pretty much everyone when they hear this find that pretty funny, considering my long history of agnosticism and low tolerance for bullshit.  Jesus is a sort of miraculous technology to me, offering a set of principles so radically different from ordinary societal ways of living that he seems out of time in any time.  If I sincerely put a single one of Jesus’ principles to work in my life, my experience has been that a different, more connected, and more peaceful life follows.  This has me convinced that such principles as honesty, compassion, open-mindedness, willingness and service are God-given principles regardless of the religion (or non religion) in which they are featured — they are not the principles of any certain faith, but a shared set of values available to anyone willing to try a difficult, new way of living.  No one even tries to radically transform their lives unless they have faith, and almost no one acquires the necessary faith until they’ve been kicked around awhile.  Luckily, there are plenty of people who have exhausted most of their options, sometimes very early in life, and some of them make an earnest effort to live their lives by spiritual principles and have found the support necessary to keep it up.  Not one person has ever sustained any truly difficult spiritual practice all by themselves.”