University of Pennsylvania

Penn’s Knowledge Teach-In

Posted on March 5, 2018

March 18–22, 2018

Knowledge is the lifeblood of the university. But in a time of a great burgeoning of knowledge we also face in the body politic a growing unease about epistemology, the provenance of information, and the course of the Academy. Faced with these troubled times, Penn’s Faculty Senate is organizing a pan-university Teach-In on the rigors of knowledge creation, the difficulties encountered in communicating knowledge in an era of social media and fake news, and the positive and negatives impacts of knowledge in a time of instability and unrest. A half-century after the campus teach-ins during the social turmoil of the ‘60s, it seems entirely appropriate that we recreate a community dialog on knowledge and the Academy. What is the role of the University in the 21st century? And how best can we renew the Franklinian compact to place the advancement of knowledge in the service of the continuous betterment of the human condition?

The Teach-In will take place during March 18–22, 2018. This is a truly collective enterprise, the first on this scale at Penn in half-a-century. With enthusiastic support from the President, Provost, and Deans, faculty from across Penn’s schools, staff from the Library and the Museum, student representatives from SCUE, UA, and GAPSA, and members of PPSA and WPPSA have banded together to initiate a dialog, spanning disciplines, on pressing issues of the day. And we are inviting the civic community, schools, local organizations, and policy makers, both in Philadelphia and in our capitals, into our campus to be a part of this dialog. All of the events are open and free to the community and the public.

The schedule and the program of events can be found on the Teach-In website: The topics cover complex, frequently contentious, issues: artificial intelligence, firearm violence, vaccine denial, race, evolution, bioethics, immigration, history and archaeology, climate change, gender, education, fake news and fake imagery, data and knowledge, and political polarization. Two of the events will be moderated by hosts from WHYY; and there are several family friendly and participatory events including the Museum How Do We Know? event, the Critical Engagement with Knowledge Library event, an AI-augmented reality scavenger hunt, a walk through time down Locust Walk (with robot companions), data refuge stories, a Bioethics film festival on the promises and perils of technology, and a screening of American Creed.

More Other Local Events and Workshops

Stay Current in Philly's Higher Education and Nonprofit Sector

We compile a weekly email with local events, resources, national conferences, calls for proposals, grant, volunteer and job opportunities in the higher education and nonprofit sectors.

Get the Update Delivered