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 PC SCE Faculty Feature: 12 Questions with Neil F.X. Kelly

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 Neil Kelly, a former police officer, is currently a member of the Rhode Island Department of Attorney General. 

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​Neil Kelly, a former police officer, is currently a member of the Rhode Island Department of Attorney General.  He has served with five Attorney Generals.  Neil was a prosecutor in the Criminal Division, and now is an Assistant Attorney General and Deputy Chief of the Civil Division. He has an accomplished law career representing the State of Rhode Island in a number of high profile cases including one that reached the U.S. Supreme Court. For the past 20 years he’s also been a member of Providence College School of Continuing Education’s (PC SCE’s)  adjunct faculty, teaching a mix of law, criminology and political science courses. 

Learn more about this accomplished member of the SCE faculty, including his somewhat surprising taste in music and what he did to win a scholarship for his own college education, in this “12 Questions with SCE” Faculty Feature profile….

  1. The last thing I read was: 
    The Righteous Mind — Why Good People are Divided By Politics and Religion” by Jonathan Haight, PhD.  It is a thought provoking look at civil discourse today, and how we can engage each other from the perspective of a social psychologist.  A great read.
  2. Number one on my bucket list is: 
    I don’t really have a “bucket list” — but I do look forward to my next adventure. 
  3. My favorite movie is:
    “A River Runs Through It” because: The book and subsequently the movie drew me into the depiction of life in a family with their relationships and individual faults and failings.  The metaphor of a river, and the connection of this family to the river through fly fishing, over time, and the various stages of life ultimately leads to how interconnected we are with each other and our environment.  I found it to be powerful and moving.
  4. If I wasn’t teaching or working in my chosen field, I would be: 
    Hopefully in some other position in service to the public.
  5. The most memorable moment in my career is: 
    I’ve been fortunate to have a number of memorable moments from a jury verdict for the State in a historic case against the manufacturers of lead pigment; and, appearing before the entire United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit to argue for the State in two high profile cases.  However, my most memorable moment was appearing before the Supreme Court of the United States on behalf of the State in the case of Carcieri v. Salazar.  We had previously been ruled against four times before the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the State, Governor, and Town of Charlestown.   As to teaching in SCE, I don’t have any singular moment, but rather it is the great feeling to be in an environment where people are engaged in intellectual and personal growth — and succeeding. 
  6. The scariest thing I’ve ever done is: Scared is a term I’m not sure I would use; but, there have been times when I’ve relied on inner strength, courage, right judgment and faith to carry me through.
  7. My iTunes account (or CD rack) is mostly filled with: 
    A broad range of music — from alternative music of today to all types of music and different artists in between.  
  8. My favorite spot on campus is: 
    I taught in Harkins Hall for years and found that to have a great feeling of tradition as it the signature building of PC. But, since St. Dominic’s Chapel was built that has become a favorite place because of the feeling of peace and faith.
  9. If I had to choose just one, I’d choose: dog, cat, or goldfish? 
    Dog — they are great company.
  10. People would be surprised to know that: 
    I was a scholarship athlete at URI where I played football. I arrived in Rhode Island with not much more than a duffle bag of clothes.
  11. What do you like most about teaching adult students? 
    Their commitment to personal growth — it is invigorating to be in such a great environment.
  12. Do you feel you’ve learned anything from your students in return? 
    Yes, I have found that teaching and learning is multidirectional — I am consistently learning from students, and truly appreciate when a students perspective pushes my thinking.

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