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Will Holton came to Northeastern University in 1973 after earning a Ph.D. at Boston University and teaching at Louisiana State University. He has taught and advised in the Sociology and Human Services undergraduate programs on a continuing basis. For the past 20 years, he has increasingly used community service learning team projects to enhance the learning of students in his courses --- notably "Human Services Research and Evaluation," "Social Conflict and Community Service" (with Professor Jack Levin), and "Sociology of Poverty." He has steadily tried to improve the benefits of community service learning in his courses and is now doing research with Professor Elise Dallimore in Communications Studies on problems that can arise in service learning projects for community organizations. Professor Holton served on the Committee on POE which was appointed by President Freeland and chaired by Provost Hall. He attended a workshop on faculty learning communities in Oregon in June, 2000 and returned to Northeastern with a draft proposal for a faculty learning community focusing on POE. He is very pleased to be a member of the first Faculty Learning Community after President Freeland and Provost Hall secured support for two years. Will Holton was nominated for the national 2002 Ehrlich Award for faculty contributions to the field of community service learning.


Professor Holton's project for the Faculty Learning Community on POE responds to needs of student learning and community service by combining several dimensions of practice-oriented education in ongoing, interdisciplinary team projects. Community service learning, in standard practice, is limited to small projects lasting only one academic term with students drawn from one single-discipline course with linked learning goals. Cooperative education places students in work positions related to the students' majors but there is usually little direct connection to learning in the classroom. Internships are professional experiences with strong supervision, but students are usually isolated from other students.

Professor Holton has established Community Partnership relationships with Rosie's Place and Roxbury Youthworks in an attempt to maximize the value of practice-oriented education for Northeastern students and faculty. At Rosie's Place, an ESL program is being developed for poor and homeless women, with classes expected to begin in the fall of 2002. At Roxbury Youthworks, assistance is being given in administrative support and direct service opportunities will be considered. Fundraising is required to make this project possible by providing a full-time Co-op position and a Graduate Assistant all year at each of the two Community Partner organizations. This funding would allow each Community Partner organization to use up to 75 students from several disciplines each year, with faculty members assisting as well.

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