U.Va. Engineering Professor Receives Honorary Degree from Swedish University

July 6, 2009 — Deborah G. Johnson, an engineering professor at the University of Virginia, has received an honorary degree from the Faculty of Arts and Sciences of Linköping University in Sweden for her contributions in the field of information and computer ethics.

Johnson is the Anne Shirley Carter Olsson Professor of Applied Ethics and chairs the Department of Science, Technology and Society in U.Va.'s School of Engineering and Applied Science.

"Computers and information technology continue to penetrate so many different aspects of our lives and branch out to different types of technology," she said. "The importance of this technology and the social change that it constitutes cannot be underestimated."

Johnson is internationally respected as a leader in the field of information and computer ethics, and one of her most notable publications, "Computer Ethics" – now in its fourth edition – is a highly regarded academic reference source on the subject.

She helped introduce the field of study to Sweden when she was a featured speaker at the country's International Conference on Computer Ethics, hosted in 1997 by Linköping University's Centre for Applied Ethics. Since then, she has maintained a partnership with Linköping in the advancement and promotion of the field.

Additionally, Johnson is co-editor of Ethics and Information Technology, an international journal published in the Netherlands that strives to present modern analysis of the ethical, political and social issues associated with information technology.

"Specialists from around the world think somewhat differently about these issues," she said. "It is really important to be exposed to their perspectives because information technology is a globalized and globalizing technology."