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Shannon Vallor Awarded Rewak Professorship

Associate Professor of Philosophy Shannon Vallor has been awarded the William J. Rewak, S.J. Professorship for having distinguished herself as a teaching scholar who fosters the highest ideals of a Catholic, Jesuit education. Dr. Vallor was selected for embodying creative scholarship with her teaching, collegiality and collaboration with faculty and students, and incorporation of intellectual foundations for ethics and justice.

In the classroom, Dr. Vallor’s intense passion for her subject matter and clear interest in fostering a deeper student understanding of complex philosophical questions creates great interest and motivation among her students. As a result, many of her advisees have gone on to excellent graduate schools, including Rhodes Scholar Noelle Lopez ‘09, who earned a doctorate from Oxford and completed a post-doc at Harvard.

Her impact on her students has resulted in multiple accolades, including the 2015 Brutocao Award for Teaching Excellence, an award that recognizes outstanding faculty who promote intellectual curiosity and active learning. 

In addition to the formal recognition, Dr. Vallor’s students provide their anecdotal support by explaining how she teaches them to "think more and never stop asking questions," and inspires them to leave her classroom with a new vigor and a sense of cognitive satisfaction.

Dr. Vallor continues to innovate in her classroom, with a recent development being the creation of a downloadable teaching module, "An Introduction to Software Engineering Ethics," that is available for free from SCU's Markkula Center for Applied Ethics. The module has been featured in Slate magazine and has been requested for use at 32 universities on five continents.

When she isn’t with her students, the professor also thrives in her research. Her accomplishments in this arena were recognized when she received the 2015 World Technology Award in Ethics. The World Technology Network, founded in 2000, is composed of more than 1000 scientists, entrepreneurs, financiers, journalists, academics, and policymakers; and over 200 organizations and companies, spread out over 60 countries.

Dr. Vallor has an impressive body of research, authoring more than 20 publications and 40 presentations. One of these is her soon-to-be-released book: Technology and the Virtues: A Philosophical Guide to a Future Worth Wanting (Oxford University Press, September 2016). 

She is currently working on a project that focuses on the impact of emerging technologies, particularly those involving automation, on the moral and intellectual habits, skills and virtues of human beings - our character.

Due to her special interest in the integration of software ethics with industry and with engineering and computer science education, Dr. Vallor engages in outreach on this subject with a range of stakeholders inside and outside academia, including government, industry, law, media, and public policy professionals and advocates.

To that end, she is currently serving as: President of the international Society for Philosophy and Technology (SPT), Executive Board Member for the Foundation for Responsible Robotics, and member of the IEEE Standards Association's Global Initiative for Ethical Considerations in the Design of Autonomous Systems.

She also serves the Santa Clara community as a scholar and member of the Internet Ethics Advisory Group in the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics, Chair of the Department of Philosophy, and as a member of the Arts and Sciences Rank and Tenure Committee.

Dr. Vallor’s work reflects the mission of SCU by bringing awareness to the ethical implications of our technology-driven lives; by engaging her students and affecting their lives outside of the classroom; by continuing to research and publish to enhance her curriculum; and by serving the greater community through her involvement with government, industry, law, media, and public policy professionals and advocates.