You can't blame Dr. Bob Boudreau for being a Montreal Canadiens fan – as a native of Montreal, Que., he comes by his allegiance honestly. Likewise, you can't question Boudreau's loyalty to the University of Lethbridge – 26 years of service speak to that.
Since first coming to campus as an All But Dissertation (ABD) PhD candidate in 1983, Boudreau has left an impression as both a professor and administrator, worked in a variety of roles, pursued sabbaticals and even taken a leave of absence. In the end, he always came back to the U of L, ready to adapt to any new challenge.
"Early on I viewed Lethbridge as a preliminary stop in my career and it obviously became much more than that," Boudreau says. "Now, 27 years later, I wonder out loud, "What just happened?" It's been quite a journey."
Boudreau dives into yet another new role this fall as he assumes the position of Associate Vice-President (Academic). He most recently served as Assistant Vice-President (Academic) and prior to that was the acting dean of graduate studies.
"In the last five years, I've had five different academic jobs whereas the first 20-plus years it was pretty much business as usual," Boudreau says.
He's only telling half the truth. By his nature, doing the same old thing isn't how
Boudreau operates. An active researcher, he's often used the opportunities afforded by the
U of L to test his theories globally. By travelling to Japan, Belarus, the United States, New Zealand and Australia he's been able to stay current with his work, most recently studying physician burnout in different cultures.
"There's nothing like going to a different country, either on sabbatical, teaching or collecting data. It provides you that freshness, that opportunity to experience and also to check on your own ideas and values," he says.
Boudreau likes to push the envelope and it's one of the reasons the U of L proves to be such a good fit for him.
"I've always thought of the University as an institution that is small but thinks big," Boudreau says, referencing his early days in the Faculty of Management. "When we wanted to do things, like introduce managament skills into our curriculum and make our program better than most others, we did it. There was this sense that we could always stay ahead of the curve. We were nimble, we were quick, we could make change and, within reason, we could do what we wanted."
He fully believes that pioneer spirit exists today.
"All we have to do is look around. Look at the people we have in neuroscience, in astrophysics, in water and environmental sciences," Boudreau says. "We have this reputation of what we choose to do, we do really well, better than most. So, from my perspective, why wouldn't you want to be here?"
Perhaps the most telling testimonial of all is that Boudreau's son Rylan is now entering his fourth year of studies (economics and psychology) on campus.
"People ask me about the U of L, what I really think about it, and I just say, "Well, my son's here". That's the endorsement."
GET THE FACTS
• Boudreau and his wife Suzan have three sons, Rylan (22), Evyn (17), and Wyatt (15).
• An avid golfer and practitioner of Tae Kwon-Do, Boudreau is also a big sports fan. Travelling from Georgia to Lethbridge, he once drove up the east coast of the United States visiting seven baseball stadiums.
• While on sabbatical at the University of Western Australia, he helped develop a proposal for a new coaching psychology PhD program of study.
• He's created a bibliography of over 17,000 burnout references and will present his findings at a conference in Puerto Rico in November.
• Now a full-time administrator, Boudreau admits he misses the classroom. "Teaching is a great way to test the gap between your current knowledge and whether your theories and data have any application value, whether or not things are making sense. Students these days are pretty good at giving you this kind of feedback. I miss that exchange although my kids are able to fill in some of that gap."