Dr. Sarah Keeling
Interdiscipinary Studies in Speech Communication and Business, 1992
“I like working in higher education because each day is different. It allows me to directly influence the lives of students. I love to see how they learn and grow. Sometimes, I have to believe in them before they believe in themselves,” says Dr. Sarah Keeling, student services manager for the School of Library and Information Science (SLIS) at the University of South Carolina.
What exactly does Dr. Keeling’s job involve? “I like to say we help our students jump through all the hoops,” she states, smiling. She oversees the student services office for the SLIS which handles all SLIS paperwork for undergraduate, masters’ level, and doctoral level students, and helps those students meet all their requirements and deadlines.
“I write, review, and enforce policies pertaining to students, provide student data for annual statistical reports, and supervise three full-time staff members and two graduate assistants,” she explains.
Dr. Keeling loves her work because she is “able to do a variety of things that directly impact students.” Making a difference in students’ lives is what makes her work in higher education special.
She feels her time at USC Aiken helped prepare her for her career. “My classes and the leadership opportunities I was afforded gave me excellent communication skills. I learned to lead by example and continue to do so. I also learned to embrace technology. I distinctly remember the first email I ever sent. Dr. Charmaine Wilson made us send an email as a class assignment,” she recalls. “One of the first major projects I took on in my current position was converting all of our paper student files into electronic files. Most importantly, I learned to think critically and to view all sides of an issue before making a decision.”
When Dr. Keeling originally decided to begin her education at USC Aiken it was because it was close to home, had small class sizes, and she knew she would be able to get involved. Now, as she looks back at her time on campus, she realizes she gained much more. “USC Aiken has given me life-long friends, excellent foundational skills upon which I still draw, and a service-oriented attitude,” she says. “I currently work with the Aiken Alumni in the Midlands group so that I can continue to serve my alma mater. Additionally, I tutor adults in Columbia to help them increase their reading and writing skills. USC Aiken gave me so much; I hope to in some small way return the favor.”
As appeared in USC Aiken Magazine 2015