Originally from Sydney, Australia, Bree's focus is on teaching and directing the Speaking Center. Her pedagogical philosophy derives from her experiences during her PhD at Penn State, as an Associate Professor of English at Loras College, and as an Assistant Professor of Rhetoric at Rockford College, where she developed a series of community-based learning programs grounded in the philosophies of Jane Addams. Addams, who began Hull House in Chicago, built an educational and recreational center as well as a site for social and political gatherings that Addams hoped would create a “commitment to . . . learning” in an effort to “create change” (Lengerman 290). She saw her role as “bring[ing] into the circle of knowledge and fuller life, men and women who might otherwise be left outside” (205 On Education). With Addams' legacy in mind, Bree sees education itself as a form of community activism and admires Addams' call to educators to “free the powers of each man and connect him with the rest of life.”
Bree's scholarship and service as well as her work as co-director of the Speaking Center also embrace these goals. Her studies of ecocriticism and the rhetoric of environmental movements demand that “students and teachers become curriculum creators” and ‘the wall between the school and the community becomes much more permeable and is crossed with frequency,’” thus creating opportunities for students to become valued and voiced participants in community building enterprises (Smith 593–594, Gruenewald 11). As a result, I hope that students will come to see coursework as steps in a larger process of community service—steps that are interdisciplinary by nature and that build upon each other. Ideally, students will cease to perceive course work as mere hoop-jumping and will begin to see that intellectual work can and does have concrete material effects, and that life-long learning should be a habit that "results in a growth of our ability to wonder" and that “foster[s] dialogues that will promote understanding, cooperation and respect."
Bree also really like cats, chickens, and life on the farm.