The Honors program is in for change as associate professor of writing Sean Bernard will take the reigns as director next semester.
Bernard, 36, has taught at ULV for eight years. He started teaching a language of art class with current director Jon Leaver his second year, and has been involved with the program ever since. He is now stepping up to the plate as director to replace his colleague.
“Working with students who want even more of a challenge than what they find in their major curricula is always exciting–expectations are raised, and the energy is a little more kinetic in a way that suits me,” Bernard said.
The prospective director grew up in Tuscon, Ariz. He attended three different universities before receiving two master degrees, one in English and the other in fiction.
He began teaching at ULV in the fall of 2006 and was the associate professor of creative writing.
After being encouraged by several colleagues and administrators to pursue the position, he applied to be the new director of the Honors program.
Bernard said that he would use his position to reach out to and recruit prospective students, and oversee advising for Honors students and continue Jon Leaver’s work in finding excellent faculty who produce and teach uniquely challenging courses.
He also plans on keeping the current Honors curriculum not only up-to-date but also in line with the changes that go on throughout ULV, specifically through the FLEX program.
“I plan on being a non-major faculty mentor to Honors students, someone they can turn to when they need help outside their major coursework, so that they feel the Honors program is a wonderful and crucial part of their undergraduate experience,” Bernard said.
Most Honors students seem to be content with the shift in director positions.
“I’m sad to see Leaver go, but I’ve heard really good things about Bernard so it’ll be fun to see what he does as director,” freshman honors student and theater and international studies major Jordan Klomp said.
“I never had Bernard as a professor since I took my writing classes with the honors professors,” freshman movement and sports science major Sahar Shahidi said. “But I’m looking forward to having him as our new director and seeing what changes he plans for us.”
Other students were not so thrilled to see Leaver go.
“I’m kind of sad Leaver is leaving, he was a really good teacher,” freshman theater major Stefan Celeketic said.
Either way, Bernard will be a new addition to the Honors program next fall, and he looks forward to the change with an optimistic view.
“I hope that students know they’ll be able to come to me with any suggestions, questions, or concerns they have, and that the program – both in and out of the classroom – will be as exciting as ever, and hopefully even more so,” Bernard said.
Alison Rodriguez can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.