Van Weigel, PhD

Dr. Van Weigel, Ph.D.
Professor of Ethics and Economic Development
Office: Andrews 301A
Phone: 610-341-1724


PhD, University of Chicago
MDiv, Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary
BA, Oral Roberts University


Van B. Weigel received his Ph.D. in Ethics and Society from the University of Chicago. His doctoral dissertation explored the ethical dimensions of the Basic Needs Approach to economic development, and the preliminary findings of his research were published in World Development. He is the author of A Unified Theory of Global Development (Praeger, 1989)—selected by Choice as an “Outstanding Academic Book.” 

After the publication of A Unified Theory of Global Development, Dr. Weigel focused on the challenges associated with facilitating strategic institutional change and promoting global environmental responsibility. In 1993 he published an article in World Development, with Elizabeth Morgan and Grant Power, which presented a six-fold typology of action programs for global change. This typology became a basis for a study commissioned by UNICEF that examined UNICEF’s own approach to global change in connection with the 50th Anniversary of the United Nations. He is also the author of Earth Cancer (Praeger, 1995)—a book that critiques ethics and economics in light of the concept of ecological interdependence. 

In the late 1990s, Dr. Weigel has focused his work on the role of technology in nonprofit organizations and educational institutions. Working under a grant from CoreStates Bank in Philadelphia (now Wells Fargo Bank), he developed the SmartGrant software package, designed to help nonprofit organizations and community groups do strategic planning, proposal writing and project budgeting. 

Dr. Weigel is also the author of Deep Learning for a Digital Age: Technology’s Untapped Potential for Higher Education (Jossey-Bass, 2002). The centerpiece of the book is the “knowledge room”—a virtual space where students work collaboratively on research projects, practice skill development, hold discussions and debates, and express themselves creatively. John Seely Brown, formerly the chief scientist of Xerox and director of the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center, has described the book as “a visionary but also pragmatic view of what is possible in facilitating deep learning with today’s and tomorrow’s digital technologies,” and University Business (April 2002) characterized the book as “an intriguing blend of theory regarding the possible future of education.” A selection from the book was published as the lead article in September-October 2000 issue of Change (“E-Learning and the Tradeoff Between Richness and Reach in Higher Education”), and his more recent work in this area was featured in the May/June 2005 issue of Educause Review (“A Capabilities Approach for the Next-Generation Course Management System”). 

More recently Dr. Weigel has focused his work on the economics of hope and is currently working on a book project, entitled The Pandora Factor: The Economics of Hope. Dr. Weigel teaches at Eastern University and resides in West Chester, Pennsylvania, with his wife, Linda Thomasson.

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