The recipient of the 2007 Robert A. Kilgore Faculty Award, Kevin Harvey has spent more than twenty years in NEC’s classrooms. With a characteristic quip, Harvey says, “I’ve always had the belief that awards are good at the beginning and end of one’s career.” Far from being close to ceding his role as a professor of English, Harvey notes, “You reach a point where you don’t think you can get better at what you do. I’d like to think that I received the award because I got better and people noticed.”
Kevin Harvey is fond of quoting nineteenth-century American philosopher William James’ admonition to, “love your subject and respect your students.” In just a few words, that describes the driving force behind Harvey’s teaching philosophy at New England College.
Harvey would not swap his career in the classroom for any other job. “It’s different every semester,” he says, “it never gets stale.” He goes on to explain, “I don’t teach…I am a teacher. There’s a difference. It’s not what you do but what you are. If everything goes right you don’t notice that you have a job.”
As for his students, Harvey describes the pride he feels in their work. “You can really watch people get better in class. There are pieces that come by that are very clever.” With approximately 240 class assignments to read each year, Harvey calculates that he has read nearly 5000 short stories written by his students over the course of his career.
Harvey’s creativity extends beyond the classroom and he has enjoyed success as an accomplished playwright. “I have volumes of drafts and ideas,” he remarks. “I’ll never live long enough to write them all.” Over the past summer, one of his plays was read at MIT and another is scheduled to be read by the Boston Playwrights Group. The New England College community will soon have the opportunity to enjoy his work as he is currently finalizing a production that will be cast with NEC faculty members.
It is a New England College tradition that the recipient of the faculty award is announced at Commencement and addresses the community at Convocation. In 2007, Harvey’s remarks at Convocation were filled with his signature wit and sage advice. At the conclusion of his remarks, Harvey closed with the same words he heard spoken by the Dalai Lama at the end of his address in Central Park in 1999, “Be nice, be nice, be nice.”