2014-2015 News

Welcome Dr. Harold Keller!

Dr. Harold Keller has been involved with the Office of Community Engagement and Partnerships since it was merely a gleam in the eye of the founders, and now he has joined OCEP as the first Faculty on Assignment for the next two years.

Keller was co-chair of the Provost's Task Force on Community Engagement, when USF decided it was time to determine, as he said, "how the university could be committed to really doing this."

Keller, the former Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in the USF College of Education, is a lifelong academic who has been involved in community based work, experiential learning, and service-learning for four different universities throughout his career. Since he began working at USF in 2001, his heart has been in East Tampa, where he has been connected with the local schools for more than a decade.

Dr. Harold Keller, Faculty on Assignment

     Dr. Harold Keller, Faculty on Assignment

Keller works to ensure that local families connect with their children's schools more effectively, bringing his expertise in the positive effects of parental involvement in children's education and particularly with regard to special education. He even had a mid-career stint as a school psychologist and advocate on behalf of children with disabilities.

During the remainder of his tenure at USF before his retirement, he decided he wanted to move back to community-engaged work at OCEP. He said that since his involvement in helping OCEP get off the ground, "Liz has really done wonders" moving this from an organization with very few resources to a well-staffed and integrated part of the university.

Plans are already underway for Keller to engage in longitudinal work looking at what happens to students and faculty who are involved in their community as part of their academic career over time.

"I think that is what we ought to be about in colleges and universities – giving back to the communities in which we live. I want to help be a part of really building this [OCEP] so it becomes more central to USF. And, at a very personal level, I would hope to be able to develop connections with the community that will continue even after I retire," said Keller.