In recognition of his vision and work in creating global access to education, the Austin College Board of Trustees will honor Salman Khan, founder and executive director of the Khan Academy, with the 2013 Posey Leadership Award at the annual Global Outreach GO! Forum in Dallas.
The Austin College Posey Leadership Award was created to promote and recognize service and leadership in a global context. Salman Khan has made basic learning skills possible for people across the globe who have been denied access to an education. By providing free and open access to teaching and resources, both teachers and students are benefitting in places where the most basic prerequisites for education are missing.
The Posey Leadership Award will be presented at the Austin College Global Outreach! Forum at 7 p.m. on March 21, 2013 at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science. An on-campus convocation featuring a lecture by Khan will be held at 11 a.m. in Wynne Chapel at Austin College in Sherman, Texas. Members of the Texoma community are invited to attend this free presentation in Wynne Chapel. Khan also will speak with student groups on campus throughout the day.
Khan’s concepts incorporate digital technology into a rethinking of the basic model of the standard classroom, envisioning online lessons that would open class time for interactive learning and true connections.
“There’s an old saying that life is school,” Khan has said. “At every moment, we are both students and teachers; we learn by studying, but we also learn by helping others, by sharing and explaining what we know.”
As digital technology plays an increasingly greater role in education, Khan’s work is seen as both innovative and even revolutionary. Austin College President Marjorie Hass applauds this opportunity to have a dialogue around Khan’s efforts to make basic learning skills available worldwide. “I am interested in what we can learn that will help us build on our campus-based approach to education,” Hass said. She sees his work as one means of enriching college preparation and creating greater access to learning around the world. “His integration of digital technology and learning,” she said, “can transform the way in which students are prepared to succeed in a college education and may hold lessons for what we can achieve in our own classrooms.”
Khan was born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana, to immigrant parents from Barisal, Bangladesh, and Calcutta, India. He was valedictorian of his high school class and attained a perfect score in the math portion of his SATs. Khan holds three degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology: bachelor’s degrees in mathematics and electrical engineering and computer science and a master’s degree in electrical engineering and computer science. He also holds an MBA from Harvard Business School where he was president of his class.
In late 2004, Khan began tutoring his cousin, Nadia, in mathematics over the Internet and just two years later, he began to distribute the tutorials on YouTube. Their popularity and the testimonials of appreciative students prompted Khan to quit his job as a hedge fund manager in late 2009 to focus on developing his YouTube channel, Khan Academy, full time. Today, Khan Academy offers a library of more than 3,400 videos covering K-12 math and science topics in biology, chemistry, and physics. Each video is a digestible chunk, approximately 10 minutes long, and especially purposed for viewing on the computer.
Khan has been featured on the PBS NewsHour, CNN, NBC Nightly News, and National Public Radio. In 2009, the Khan Academy received the Microsoft Tech Award for education. In October 2010, Khan was tied for number 34 in FORTUNE’s annual “40 Under 40” list recognizing business’s hottest rising stars. In March 2011, Khan was invited to speak at TED by Bill Gates who says he uses the Khan Academy Exercise Software to teach his own children.
In 2012, Khan published The One World Schoolhouse: Education Reimagined and a recent Time magazine article reveals Khan’s method to “flip” the traditional classroom model. Flipping the classroom is an approach designed to empower teachers to give personalized attention to individual students. Students watch videos at home to cover traditional lectures at their own pace, while elements traditionally associated with homework are addressed in the classroom. “In the ideal classroom,” Khan told Time, “the teacher is either spending all of their time doing deep interventions with students on a one-on-one basis or facilitating true interactivity—labs, simulations, projects.”
The Austin College Posey Leadership Institute was founded in 1995 to give aspiring student leaders extraordinary opportunities to train for lives of leadership and service. The Institute provides a venue for dialogue and study of leadership that engages interested students and professionals in thoughtful investigation, demonstrated service, and critical reflection on the roles, responsibilities, and actions of effective leaders in society.
The Austin College Posey Leadership Award was created through the generosity of Sally and the late Lee Posey, founder of Palm Harbor Homes. Previous recipients include Wendy Kopp (2006), founder of Teach For America; Dr. Paul Farmer (2007), Harvard professor, medical anthropologist, physician, and medical activist; Geoffrey Canada (2008), president and CEO of the Harlem Children’s Zone; Greg Mortenson (2009), who shares his quest for peace through education in Three Cups of Tea and Stones into Schools; Muhammad Yunus (2010), Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and founder of Grameen Bank; Zainab Salbi (2011), founder of Women for Women International; and Mrs. Marian Wright Edelman (2012), founder of the Children’s Defense Fund.
Austin College is a leading national independent liberal arts college located north of Dallas in Sherman, Texas. Founded in 1849, making it the oldest institution of higher education in Texas operating under original charter and name, the college is related by covenant to the Presbyterian Church (USA). Recognized nationally for academic excellence in the areas of international education, pre-professional training, and leadership studies, Austin College is one of 40 schools profiled in Loren Pope’s influential book Colleges that Change Lives.