Michelle Darnell named director of Smeal's new Tarriff Center

April 27, 2020

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Charles H. Whiteman, dean of the Smeal College of Business, has announced the appointment of Michelle R. Darnell, associate clinical professor in management and director of honor and integrity at Smeal, as the inaugural director of the Tarriff Center for Business Ethics and Social Responsibility.

The center was established last fall after Scott Tarriff, class of 1981 in marketing, and his wife, Marcy, class of 1981 in health policy and administration, pledged $5 million to support Smeal’s long-standing commitment to support responsible business activity through teaching, research, and service activities.

A photo of Smeal Director of Honor and Integrity Michelle Darnell

For more than two years, Michelle Darnell has led Smeal's efforts in honor and integrity. She will take on additional responsbilities as the director of the Tarriff Center for Business Ethics and Social Responsibility.

IMAGE: Holly Brown

“While building a culture of honor and integrity began with the Smeal Honor Code, it certainly doesn’t end there,” Whiteman said. “Michelle has worked tirelessly to grow and develop the programs and services that support our unique culture. Under her leadership, the Tarriff Center will position Smeal as a leader in higher education in terms of what it means to be committed to ethics and social responsibility.”

Darnell, who previously served as senior lecturer and co-director of the Poe Business Ethics Center for the Warrington College of Business at the University of Florida, calls the position her ‘kid in the candy store’ experience.

“I think anyone who has spent time with me knows that I am incredibly passionate about the topics of business ethics and social responsibility,” she said. “I am grateful for the opportunity to do what I love, surrounded by people who share my belief that responsible behavior is a cornerstone to business success.”

Darnell has experience teaching courses on business ethics, corporate social responsibility, and organizational behavior, as well as creating and implementing co-curricular experiential learning activities for students to develop ethical leadership skills. She has also worked as an independent consultant for business and government entities that are looking to resolve ethical issues or provide employee centered workshops on ethical decision making and building ethical organizational cultures.

"Michelle shares our vision for what the center can become, and Marcy and I have the utmost confidence in her ability to create an extraordinary experience for the entire Smeal community,” said Scott Tarriff. “We have no doubt that she'll take the center beyond our wildest imagination."

Darnell said she believes that in order to successfully incorporate ethics into a college of business requires both the treatment of the topic as a discrete subject and also as something that is fully integrated in every program.

“As I embark on this new role, it is important to me that the Tarriff Center becomes the point from which many activities are directed, and also the hub where our diverse programs at Smeal meet in our shared commitment to responsible behavior,” she said. “In five years, I want to be able to point to new educational opportunities for lifelong learners, new research that guides decisions and behaviors in business, and explicit ways that the presence of ethics and social responsibility is strengthened in existing Smeal programs.”

Darnell holds bachelor’s degrees in philosophy and biology from the University of San Diego, and both a master's and doctorate in philosophy from Purdue University. She also completed an AACSB Post-Doctoral Program at the University of Florida in management and marketing. She joined the Smeal College of Business in March 2018.

About Integrity at Smeal

The Penn State Values of integrity, respect, responsibility, discovery, excellence and community unite all of us across the University. At the Smeal College of Business, one of the ways we express these values is through our Honor and Integrity Program. In particular, the Smeal Honor Code, drafted in partnership with MBA students in 2006, promotes the values of community, integrity and responsibility. Integrity and ethical behavior are also infused into courses across the Smeal curriculum, and the G. Albert Shoemaker Program in Business Ethics supports ethics lectures and related scholarly research. For more information on integrity at Smeal, visit www.smeal.psu.edu/integrity.

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Last Updated April 27, 2020