South Burlington resident Vincent L. Bolduc, Saint Michael's College professor of sociology, received the 2012 Joanne Rathgeb Teaching Award, presented in ceremonies held September 28 at the annual Saint Michael's College Academic Convocation in the SMC McCarthy Arts Center. Professor Bolduc was selected by his faculty colleagues, and the citation was read by the 2010 recipient of the award, geography professor Richard Kujawa.
"Vince engages students intellectually, morally, spiritually"
Vince Bolduc provides an excellent model for students who are all too often used to experiencing the great divide in higher education between spirit and intellect, service and education, research and teaching, community and classroom. His course Work, Education, and Vocation deeply engages the student on the intellectual, moral, spiritual and vocational questions all at once.
As one student said, Vince sets up his classes in a way that "extends far beyond surface level learning and rote memorization of course material...course material is presented in a way that encourages us to view it as a lifelong shift of perspective rather than a jumble of facts that will be forgotten after finals."
Numerous students have also commented on the way in which his courses have helped them reflect on how they will each try and make the world a better place. One student said, "he's influenced my life, not just my brain and not all teachers do that" while another student wrote "he challenged me to apply my faith, and personal journey with service and religion he knew I practiced, to all classes I took with him.” It is these kinds of holistic responses to the entire moral, spiritual and intellectual trajectories of student lives that are characteristic of student reflections on his teaching.
A mentor and wise elder
Vince has a truly gentle, kind and down to earth character. Unlike many younger professors, Vince has qualities of a mentor and wise elder. He doesn’t rush, he listens well. Students speak of having been moved by his humbleness, his profound dedication, his sharing of his home, and his devotion to the importance of the sociological vision in crafting a good life and addressing issues of social justice.
Alumni describe his influence as still informing and enriching their decisions outside of the classroom, even years after they have graduated. In talking with students over the years, it becomes apparent that Vince's teaching is truly organic; the questions he raises and the challenges he presents around issues of social justice, poverty and social inequality stay with them in a way that other professors' lectures might not.
Vince's teaching, with its emphasis on service and experiential learning, his willingness to involve students in his own research, his enormous dedication to the betterment of their lives, enters the student almost viscerally, hitting their core and informing their ultimate concerns for years to come.
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