#CapturingCommunity Bret Keeling


Pictured above: S-LTA Mackenzie Montgomery, Dr. Bret Keeling, S-LTA Emily Aoki

Role within service-learning: Service-Learning Fellow and Faculty Member in the Foundation Year Program for English

Service-Learning course: First-Year Writing

Did you find service-learning or did service-learning find you?

I suppose I found Service-Learning at Northeastern because I’d already been involved in Service-Learning at the University of Washington both as a graduate student and as a post-doc.  So, I sought out Service-Learning here.  But it wasn’t until Becca Berkey joined Northeastern that I found someone who worked with me to bring S-L to my First-Year Writing classes.  And ever since Fall 2013, I’ve been able to integrate S-L with ENGW 1111 [First-Year Writing] each semester.

What is one thing everyone should know about service-learning?

It’s a lot of work and a lot of responsibility.  As Becca [Berkey] and Mary English have worked to emphasize as part of the Fellows Program, integrating S-L into a course requires that we (instructors) take into account the needs and expectations of a lot of stakeholders – our students, our S-LTAs, our Community Partners, our Community partners’ clients, our various programs, departments, and colleges, and the University as a whole.  And integrating S-L into a course requires that we be creative and clear about the ways we hope (!) that service and coursework will work together. And everyone should also know that integrating S-L into a course can be one of the most rewarding experiences an instructor can create for herself / himself.

How are your values expressed through your community engagement and
service-learning work?

Discussing my “values” is a tricky subject for me to discuss in any kind of public environment.  So, let me just say that I value (enthusiastically and without reservation) Northeastern’s mission to “educate students for a life of fulfillment and accomplishment” and to “create and translate knowledge to meet global and societal needs.”  Integrating S-L into my First-Year Writing courses enables me to demonstrate to my students my commitment to that mission.

Interested in becoming a Service-Learning Fellow in Fall 2017? Faculty members should apply by May 12, 2017. The Service-Learning (S-L) Program and CATLR are co-sponsoring this initiative, which includes examination of the service-learning and evidence-based teaching literature, collegial sharing with faculty and community members, and implementation of a service-learning course or component (project-based or other). Participants will build knowledge and awareness related to enhancing student learning and engagement, connecting courses with social issues, and strengthening community relationships.

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