​B.A. University of Virginia, 1979​M.A. University of Virginia, 1982​Ph.D. University of Virginia, 1999

"My courses have philosophical content as well as broad, case-based analysis, guiding students to think practically about ethics in engineering."

Rosalyn W. Berne, Associate Professor

Rosalyn W. Berne is an Associate Professor in the Department of Engineering and Society's program of Science, Technology and Society (STS). She earned the BA (1979) and MA (1982) degrees in Communication Studies, and a PHD (1999) in Religious Studies (Bioethics), all from the University of Virginia. In addition to her academic position, her other professional appointments have included Director of Admissions for the Darden Graduate School of Business, Assistant Vice President for Administration at the University of Virginia; Vice President for Academic Affairs for the Institute of Shipboard Education (Semester at Sea), and Head of School for Tandem Friends School.

R. Berne's publications include two academic books, Nanotalk: Conversations with Scientists and Engineers on Ethics, Meaning and Belief in Nanotechnology Development (EarlbaumPress,2007) and Creating Life from Life: Biotechnology and Science Fiction (Pan Stanford, 2015), and numerous journal articles. She has also authored the Science Fiction (SF) novel, Waiting in the Silence (Spore Press, 2012) and two titles in the Body/Mind/Spirit genre: When the Horses Whisper (Rainbow Ridge Books, 2014) and Waking to Beauty (Rainbow Ridge Books, 2016).

As a research scholar R. Berne explores the intersecting realms of emerging technologies, science, fiction and myth, and the links between the human and non-human worlds, with a particular eye for nodes of ethical concern. Her scholarship is enriched through interpreting social-cultural phenomena in a technological context, using an integrative form of philosophical inquiry. Her most recent line of inquiry takes a phenomenological approach to understanding interspecies communication. Her findings, to date, suggest the imperative to expand the ethical boundaries of engineering practice, deepening and broadening engineering knowledge to encompass consideration of life in the non-human world. To do so, she suggests, increases the likelilhood that engineers will be able to improve the prospects for humanity to live harmoniously on this planet.

R. Berne has taught a variety of courses including: Ethics in Nanotechnology Development; Science Fiction and the Future: Gender Issues and Ethics in the New Reproductive Technologies; and Matters of Race in Engineering and Technology. Berne was awarded a National Science Foundation Career Award called "Ethics and Belief inside the Development of Nanotechnology," which supported her research from 2002-2007. She currently serves as PI on the Online Ethics Center (OEC), an NSF supported project.

Research Interests

  • Science, Technology and Society
  • Engineering Ethics
  • Interspecies Communication

Selected Publications

  • Waking to Beauty. Rainbow Ridge Books. Berne, R.W. (2016)
  • “When an Explanation is Not Forthcoming: On including study of interspecies communication inside the academic domain of inquiry.” “Wonder and the Natural World” (2016) International Conference, sponsored by the IU Consortium for the Study of Religion, Ethics, and Society, held on the IU campus, June 20-23.
  • "Ethics, Science, Technology, and Engineering: A Global Resource", 2nd edition. 4 vols. Farmington Hills, MI: Macmillan Reference USA. Berne, R.W. (2015). Nanoethics. In Holbrook, J.B., Mitcham, C. Editors.
  • "Creating Life from Life: Biotechnology and Science Fiction" Singapore: Pan Stanford Publishing. Berne, R.W. (2014). Editor.
  • "When the Horses Whisper" Rainbow Ridge Books. Berne, R.W. (2013)
  • Review. (Review of the book "What is Nanotechnology and Why Does it Matter?" by F. Allhoff, P. Lin, and D. Moore). The Journal of Philosophy, Science and Law, Volume 11. Berne, R.W. (2011, October 10).
  • "Nanoethics" In Mitcham, C., Editor. Encyclopedia of Science, Technology and Ethics. Detroit, MI: Macmillan Reference. Berne, R.W. (2005).
  • "Toward the conscientious development of ethical nanotechnology" Journal of Science and Engineering Ethics. Vol. 10, No. 4, pp 627-638. Berne, R.W. (2004, October).

Courses Taught

  • STS 1500: Science, Technology and Contemporary Issues: Considering the Future through Fiction
  • STS 2500 Ethics in Nanotechnology Development
  • STS 2500 Religion and Technology
  • STS 2500 Science Fiction and the Future: The Frankenstein Myth in Emerging Biotechnology
  • STS 2500 Gender, Ethics, and the New Reproductive Technologies.
  • STS 3500 Matters of Race in Engineering and Technology
  • STS 4500: STS and Engineering Practice
  • STS 4600 Ethics and Engineering Practice
  • STS 5500 Matters of Race in Engineering and Technology

Featured Grants & Projects

  • Transforming Ethics Education. Online Ethics Enter (OEC), National Science Foundation