"The most rewarding thing is when a student comes back and remembers me or the class. I’m not sure what I would be doing if not teaching."
Events that shape world affairs make Leo Keneally's classroom lessons relevant. "The Bill of Rights can be boring, but discuss some real-life cases on search and seizure and you can get students to understand the nuances. It is why I teach. The interaction and discussion is what keeps me going," declares the Thomas Nelson Political Science professor.
"The world makes the class relevant. For American government we have a presidential election and for international relations we have ISIS," adds Keneally.
To illustrate the importance of the 2016 presidential election, Keneally accompanied five Thomas Nelson students to the Republican National Convention and six to the Democratic National Convention in July. The purpose of the trips was to provide students a first-hand look at how the nomination process works and see democracy in action. While at the conventions, the students saw how the party platforms were created and met with members of Virginia state delegations. Among the students on the convention trips were political science majors, as well as representatives from student government.
Keneally was influenced by a professor from his undergraduate training. He said the professor's lessons and teaching style "really stood out" because the professor made the class alive and interesting. "Also, the professor made me feel like a person, not just a student," he recalls.
Keneally wants his students to learn to think critically and ask questions. "The most rewarding thing is when a student comes back and remembers me or the class. I'm not sure what I would be doing if not teaching," he notes.
Having joined Thomas Nelson's faculty in 2007, Keneally is head of the Political Science department. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree from George Mason University and a Master of Science degree from Florida State University.