Dr. David Richards

Professor, Physics, Department Head

  • drichard@pct.edu
  • 570.320.2400 ext. 7494
  • LEC, Rm.B2091
Dr. David Richards


  • Ph.D., Instructional Systems - The Pennsylvania State University, 2010
  • M.S., Physics - University of Alabama, 1992
  • B.S., Physics - Mary Washington College, 1989


  • Excellence in Teaching Award - Pennsylvania College of Technology, 2019
  • Principal Investigator for National Science Foundation S-STEM Grant - $616,000 award for student scholarships, 2014
  • The American Association of Physics Teachers - Central Pennsylvania Section Distinguished Service Award, 2008
  • Excellence in Teaching Award - Pennsylvania College of Technology, 2007
  • Instructional Technology Grant, $18,500 award - Pennsylvania College of Technology, 2006
  • Featured Alumnus of the Year - University of Mary Washington Physics Department, 2006
  • The Innovative Excellence in Teaching, Learning, and Technology Award, 2005
  • Nominated for The Boyer International Award for Excellence in College Teaching and Learning, 2005
  • Summer Research Fellow - University of Rochester: NSF Science and Technology Center for Photoinduced Charge Transfer, 1998
  • Thompson Award for Excellence in Classroom Teaching - Judson College, 1995

Courses Taught

  • General Physics I, II, and III
  • College Physics I and II
  • Physics Survey
  • Introductory Physics for Health Sciences
  • Physics with Technological Applications
  • Scientific Investigations
  • Science of Spaceflight
  • Introduction to Astronomy

Dr. David Richards has been teaching at Penn College since the fall of 1995, where he is currently a full Professor and Department Head of the Natural Sciences department.

Dr. Richards has a B.S. in physics from the University of Mary Washington, a M.S. in physics from the University of Alabama, and a Ph.D. in Instructional Systems from Penn State University.  He has been an active member of the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) since 1997. He served on AAPTs Committee on Research in Physics Education (National Appointment 2003-2006) and was on AAPT’s Central Pennsylvania Section executive board (2002-2006), serving as President of this section from 2005-2006.

Dr. Richards has also been involved with several National Science Foundation (NSF) projects. The first was at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama where he spent a summer developing an introductory course on aerospace technology. In addition to developing this course, he worked in NASA's contact dynamics simulation systems laboratory for docking procedures with the international space station. He has spent time at both the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the Kennedy Space Center through NSF's Chautauqua programs for college science teachers. In addition, Dr. Richards was awarded a second NSF summer fellowship with the Science and Technology Center for Photo-induced Charge Transfer through the University of Rochester's Chemistry and Electrical Engineering departments. His research focused on the electrical properties of silicon nanocrystals. Most recently, Dr. Richards was awarded $616,000 for a National Science Foundation grant that provided student scholarships to academically talented students with financial need (2014-2020).