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Brave New World? Religious and Social Implications of Emerging Biotechnologies

Date: 2/16/2011

Annual Batdorf Lecture
Brave New World? Religious and Social Implications of Emerging Biotechnologies
with panelists Donna Yarri, Ph.D., Spencer S. Stober, Ed.D., and Mark G. Swope MBE, M.Div.
Wednesday, February 23, 2011, at 4:00 p.m.
Bernardine Franciscan Conference Center

Free and open to the public

The science of biology is paving the way for emerging biotechnologies with potential to change life as we know it. Dr. Spencer S. Stober, Professor of Biology, will discuss these technologies and challenge us to imagine the possibilities for altering and extending human life, and even the creation of new forms of life. Dr. Donna Yarri, Associate Professor of Theology, will call to our attention the theological issues and ethical dilemmas raised by these technologies. Father Mark G. Swope, an ethicist for the Holy Redeemer Health System, will provide commentary and moderate the session.

About the Presenters:


Img: YarriDonna Yarri, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Theology at Alvernia University, where she has been teaching for ten years. She is the first recipient of the NEAG endowed professorship at Alvernia University, which recognizes significant research and teaching excellence.

Dr. Yarri does research and teaches in the areas of religion and science, medical ethics, and religion and popular culture.

She has presented papers at numerous conferences, and has several published articles, as well as three book manuscripts: The Ethics of Animal Experimentation (Oxford, 2005), God, Science, and Designer Genes (co-authored with Dr. Spencer S. Stober, Praeger, 2009), and Kafka’s Creatures (co-edited, Rowman and Littlefield, 2010). She also has two book projects in progress: The Sopranos: Exploring Ethics in TV’s Most Infamous Family (Mercer University Press, 2012), and another co-authored work with Dr. Stober, entitled God, Darwin, and the Origins of Life (Mercer University Press, 2013).


Img: StoberSpencer S. Stober, Ed.D., is a Professor of Biology, and Director of the Center for Ethics and Leadership at Alvernia University. He has taught Biology for 30 years including undergraduate course in genetics, botany, and environmental science.

Since earning his doctorate at Temple University, with a specialization in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, he teaches graduate courses in education and leadership. In 2005 he received Alvernia’s Christian R. & Mary F. Lindback Foundation Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Dr. Stober has also served in a number of key administrative positions at Alvernia University, including Department Chairperson, Dean of Arts and Sciences, and Dean of Graduate and Continuing Studies. His research interests include environmental sustainability, and the intersection between religion and science.

He publishes regularly in the International Journal of Environmental, Cultural, Economic and Social Sustainability. Dr. Stober recently coauthored a book with Dr. Donna Yarri, Associate Professor of Theology at Alvernia University, entitled God, Science, and Designer Genes: An Exploration of Emerging Issues in Genetic Technologies, published by Praeger in 2009. They are also working on a second book forthcoming in 2013, God, Darwin, and the Origins of Life, Mercer University Press.


Img: SwopeMark G. Swope MBE, M.Div., received his Masters Degree in Bioethics from the University of Pennsylvania Medical School, and his Certification in Clinical Ethics from Albany Medical College in 2007. He recently entered the Ph.D. program in Leadership at Alvernia University. 

Swope is an ethicist at Holy Redeemer Health System where he works with the CEO and Senior Leadership in designing, developing and implementing strategic direction and Ethics across the Health Care Organization.

He is also a Roman Catholic priest, ordained for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia where he has served as administrator in various churches prior to joining the administrative staff at Holy Redeemer Health System.

Swope has been an adjunct instructor at Holy Family University, Manor College, Saint Joseph’s University, and Arcadia University, teaching courses in Ethics and Bioethics. He continues to lead Grand Rounds and CMEs on various topics concerning bioethics.

The annual Batdorf Lecture is sponsored by Alvernia's Holleran Center for Community Engagement and the Center for Ethics and Leadership. Click here to find out more about the Lecture Series.

 
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  • History: Established as a private four-year liberal arts college in 1958, Alvernia celebrated its 50th year by being awarded university status in 2008.
  • Heritage: Founded by the Bernardine Sisters, a Catholic religious order, the university embraces the Franciscan core values of service, humility, collegiality, contemplation and peacemaking.
  • Motto: “To Learn, To Love, To Serve”
  • Campus: The main campus in Reading is 121 acres, with two satellite campuses in Philadelphia and Pottsville (Schuylkill County).
  • Location: Our residential campus is situated three miles from center-city Reading, in the scenic Blue Mountain area of Eastern Pennsylvania.
  • Enrollment: 3,000 students attend Alvernia including 1,500 traditional undergraduates, 600 continuing education students, and 780 graduate students. Over 77% of first-year students live on campus.
  • Faculty: Our professors are accomplished scholars, experts in their fields, and supportive mentors. The student-to-faculty ratio is 14:1. Most classes are 20 students or fewer.
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