Compassion defines Dwayne Boucaud's teaching approach

August 08, 2017

Professor Dwayne Boucaud has been recognized for his student-first approach to teaching.

Dwayne Boucaud's focus is his students, and his concern for them extends beyond the classroom.

Boucaud, professor of biomedical sciences in the School of Health Sciences, has been recognized for his efforts with the university's most prestigious academic honor, the Excellence in Teaching Award.

Students and colleagues nominated Boucaud for this honor. Megan Montagne '11 was in one of Boucaud's microbiology classes when her grandfather died.

“I was going through a challenging time,” she wrote in her letter nominating Boucaud. “Dr. Boucaud was very understanding and spent extra time with me outside of the classroom to make sure that I understood the material that I missed. It was evident that he is so passionate about his students and he strongly wants them to learn the given material.”

In another instance, she recalled a time when Boucaud, who has been at Quinnipiac for five years, spotted her in a hallway.

"I was crying about a grade on an exam from a different class," she wrote. "Dr. Boucaud stopped me in the hallway, and asked if he could do anything to help me. He said if he couldn't help me, then he would help me find someone who could. I could tell by the look in his eyes that he was genuinely concerned and had a deep desire to help me. He could have just kept walking, but this is what makes Dr. Boucaud stand out. He takes the extra time with his students to help them in whatever capacity he can."

This passion for his students is also evident in the classroom. "Professor Boucaud is one of the most knowledgeable professors, I believe, at Quinnipiac University," said Michael Schirripa, a junior. "He presents material to his class with such clarity and enthusiasm that really allows the students to grasp the material and further pursue the studies involved."

Boucaud's focus never leaves his students, Schirripa said. "He has helped me not only with school, but with personal decisions. He has made an impact on my college life and I'm sure I won't be able to think about Quinnipiac without thinking about how great Professor Boucaud is."

Boucaud said he loves working with students. "It's new every semester," he said. "It's really exciting because each student brings something new to the table. There's a new energy twice a year and new insights you may not have thought of before."

Boucaud said the students help him see his subject matter and the world in general differently. He is always willing to work one-on-one with students who might need more attention.

"He teaches the material in a way that most are able to understand and he is willing to work with each student individually to help him or her to get the most out of the class," said Carla Breccia, a junior. "I enjoy working with Dr. Boucaud because he always has a smile on his face and a positive attitude."

However, Boucaud's classes are by no means easy. "He is constantly moving to deliver the next engaging assignment or the next insightful question," said Christian Eggers, associate professor of biomedical sciences and Boucaud's officemate. "I think, and I know the students think, that Dwayne is at the absolute forefront of the current thinking about teaching microbiology to undergraduates."

Boucaud is also very down to earth and able to relate with his students on many levels, Eggers said.

"Dwayne has prided himself on serving this university with distinction, whether it's on faculty committees, or serving as a mentor for students, including the Habitat for Humanity group," Eggers said. "He has been an integral part of the prehealth professions committee, the group responsible for shepherding the many medical school applicants out of Quinnipiac. This could almost be a full-time job in itself, but Dwayne does this on top of his other, not inconsiderable, advising and mentoring duties."

It is that personable aspect that may make him such a great professor.

"A few adjectives to describe Dwayne: fair, intelligent, thoughtful, considerate, very funny (he definitely makes me laugh often,) competitive, committed, humble and balanced," said Maureen Helgren, associate professor of physical therapy. "Although he has worked hard to achieve his status and is ambitious, he is a team-player. He is committed to the goals of the university. He goes beyond the call of duty to his students and is willing to devote time, effort and expertise to the challenges we face in higher education."

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