Interview with Dr. Gail Begley
Service-Learning Co-op Dan McKenna got a chance to sit down with Dr. Gail Begley, to talk to her about her involvement in the Service-Learning Program. Dr. Begley is the Associate Academic Specialist and Director of the University Pre-Health Program. She is also a founding member and co-chair of the Service-Learning Advisory Board, and has been utilizing Service-Learning in her classes at Northeastern for years. A few highlights of her interview are below:
What do you think of the Service-Learning Teaching Assistants?
“I think the Service-Learning Teaching Assistants are the greatest thing ever, at least in the education world. No really, it’s amazing, and I don’t know what I would do without the Teaching Assistants. It’s a fantastic program… the TAs are a Godsend.”
So the cost benefit of working with the program is definitely worth it in your eyes?
“Do I spend time meeting with the TAs before the semester and during the semester? Of course. But that’s a very small investment compared to all the work that they do in terms of keeping in touch with all the partners, communicating with the students, making sure that the students know what they’re supposed to be doing.”
Do you have any advice for faculty who are thinking about starting to use service-learning?
“My advice is just to get involved immediately with the Service-Learning Program in the Center of Community Service. There’s no reason to reinvent the wheel. There are many people with lots of experience with doing this, lots of different ways to do it. It's really hard if you try to do it yourself; it’s not so hard if you have people that can help you, and they’re there. That’s the best advice I can give, just get connected with other people who are doing it.”
Would you say that it was a radical re-write of your syllabus when you started using service-learning?
“It really wasn’t a radical re-write. In the same way that you would use some other ongoing project, an ongoing resource that students are referring to, any time you add something like that, yes, obviously you’re modifying your syllabus: you have to look at what assignments are going to be different. But in terms of the content, no, the whole idea of the service-learning is to reinforce the content. The idea is not to change the content; it’s to reinforce the content at the same time you’re developing professional skills. The content is still there, it’s just being reinforced in different ways.”
Full interview on SoundCloud: