Abington Academy launches with keynote by University’s Sam Richards

Sam Richards

Penn State sociologist Sam Richards will offer the keynote speech at Penn State Abington's inaugural Abington Academy next week.

Credit: Penn State

Penn State Abington is taking its commitment to faculty staff development to a higher level next week with the introduction of Abington Academy. The daylong series of sessions on Aug. 20 will serve as a lead in to the fall semester with Opening Convocation and New Student Day to follow.

One of the highlights of the initial Abington Academy will be a keynote by the University’s Sam Richards, one of the most provocative and popular sociology instructors in the country. His presentation will focus on the value of fearlessly addressing sensitive topics and embracing new technologies in the classroom.

Richards, a TED speaker, is the founder of the University’s World in Conversation project. Each year more than 7,000 students create a conscious dialogue around the politically incorrect thoughts of the participants, bringing them out in the open for inspection. Richards is also well-known for teaching Sociology 119, the largest course on race and ethnic relations in the country.

Richards’ presentation will be followed by a series of breakout gatherings open to faculty and staff. The Ordinary People, Extraordinary Acts session provides an overview of the co-curricular offerings Abington has developed in concert with "Beautiful Souls," the inaugural Penn State Reads selection.

A session led by Abington faculty members in art, and information sciences and technology will focus on specific ways to integrate new technology in the classroom. Another discussion will highlight retention and how Abington faculty and staff can contribute to a climate that promotes student engagement and success.

The traditional new faculty orientation will take place along with a special session for faculty advisers and a discussion on common issues and best practices regarding academic integrity.

The Abington Academy is coordinated by a committee led by Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Norah Shultz.