Penn State Berks announces September LionSide Chats

Penn State Berks LionSide Chats Logo
Credit: Penn State

Penn State Berks is reaching out to the local community in a new way – through LionSide Chats, a modern interpretation of President Roosevelt’s Depression-era “Fireside Chats.” These webinars provide current and timely talks from college faculty and staff experts on a variety of topics and disciplines. The one-hour webinars (30 minutes of content, 30 minutes discussion/questions) are free and open to the public. All LionSide Chats will be delivered via Zoom webinars. A complete schedule of talks and recordings of past LionSide Chats are available on the LionSide Chats website.

Use of Force: Legal Framework and the Current Environment
12:15–1:15 p.m. Sept. 2, 
Presented by Debra Dreisbach, lecturer in criminal justice

The legal framework of police use of force will be discussed including the history, how the 4th Amendment guides the use of force, landmark U.S. Supreme Court cases that define force, and police policy that can further limit force. Recent efforts to track use of force efforts will also be discussed.

“Race 101: Critical Conversations Part 1”
12:15–1:15 p.m. Sept. 4
Presented by the Penn State Berks Social Justice Collaborative

This new series of webinars are for members of the Penn State Berks community as talks will reference reading material available on a secure website. Webinars will focus on structural determinism, whiteness and the Black Lives Matter movement.

We Are…Successful
12:15–1:15 p.m. Sept. 9, 
Presented by:

  • Sonia Delaquito, learning center coordinator, Penn State Berks; and
  • Alexa Hodge, coordinator of student support services, Penn State Berks.

Details about the topic of conversation for this chat will be forthcoming on the LionSide Chats website.

“Are You Smiling Behind that Mask? Human Communication in the Age of COVID
12:15–1:15 p.m. Sept. 14
Presented by:

  • Jill Burk, associate teaching professor of communication arts and sciences; and
  • Kesha Morant Williams, associate professor of communication arts and sciences.

Participants will be introduced to the dynamics of verbal and nonverbal communication and discuss some new communication phenomenon, such as why it’s hard to communicate while wearing a mask and why we have communication-related Zoom fatigue. The chat will end by providing tips for thoughtful communication in our new pandemic-related communication contexts.

Constitution Day
7–8 p.m. Sept. 17
Presented by guest speaker Scott G. Hoh, esquire
Details about the topic of conversation for this chat will be forthcoming on the LionSide Chats website.

Inspired by his family and friend’s desire for intellectual engagement during the current stay-at-home orders, Ryan Hassler, associate teaching professor of mathematics at Penn State Berks, realized that the faculty and staff at the college could help to fill that void. After approaching colleagues Dawn Pfeifer Reitz, assistant teaching professor of communication arts and sciences, and Sonia Delaquito, learning center coordinator, they put their heads together and came up with the concept for LionSide Chats, an educational platform for communication and gathering as our nation continues to face the challenges of COVID-19. 

Hassler stated, “What most impressed me was the faculty and staff who immediately indicated interest in offering a LionSide Chat based on their own unique expertise. LionSide Chats will enable us to reach beyond the boundaries of our campus and invite ourselves into the homes of our neighbors as we provide enriched and engaged dialog for our community.” 

Delaquito commented, “In a time when the majority of our everyday tasks have shifted online, this is Penn State Berks’ attempt to bridge the gap between the community and the college.” 

“The LionSide Chat series is a classic example of great ideas blossoming through communication and collaboration,” summarized Reitz.

For more information and to view the LionSide Chats schedule, visit the website or email [email protected]