Katie Halcrow is the Director of Service Learning at Inver Hills Community College. She is also a post-secondary educator, writer, editor and MFA candidate.
What drew you to this work?
In all honesty, I sort of stumbled my way into this position. I’d also led a Service-Learning alternative trip in college, but because my undergrad and graduate degrees would be in Mathematics, German, and Creative Writing, I was not connected with Service-Learning or its pedagogy for a number of years. However, when I was working as an adjunct English instructor for a career college, the position of Service-Learning coordinator was created. Because of my background in volunteerism and education, the Dean of Faculty appointed me to the position – and this eventually lead to my current position as Director of Service Learning at Inver Hills Community College. I feel very lucky to have attained a position that allows me to do what I love: bring groups of people together to promote education and civic engagement while enacting real change in the community.
How did your own college experience shape where you are today?
As I mentioned before, I led a SL alternative trip in college (to a flood-devastated area in West Virginia), which I’d found meaningful – and fun. I also was an active volunteer throughout my college experience (mostly working with children in educational capacities), and this commitment to community and education has stayed with me. I think it was the foundation of my passion for Service-Learning.
Who or what has been inspiring you recently?
The instructors I’ve met and worked with on Inver Hill’s campus. Their openness to developing their courses to include a service-learning experience for their students that is both integrated and rigorous is motivating and inspiring.
What question do you wrestle with most?
Why am I left with so many single socks every time I do laundry?
What book would you recommend everyone read and why?
Definitely Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried. I was simply taken with the strong voice of O’Brien’s narrator, and I found the imagery and language he used as his story unfolded beautiful and haunting. I was particularly taken with the way the book made me question truth – it underscored for me the notion that sometimes, actual truth (what literally happened) is not as important as the greater Truth (an insight into the whole of human experience).