c'est agir," wrote Victor Hugo three days before his death on May
22, 1885. "To love is to act." An aphorism highly appropriate to
Hugo's life and wonderfully open to interpretation, these words
summarize well what moves me professionally. Because I believe in
young people's potential to learn, grow and contribute in marvelous
ways, I teach. Because I care about France, the Francophone world
and the importance of cross-cultural understanding, I teach French
language, literature and culture. Because I marvel at the beauty,
timelessness and power of Victor Hugo's work, I promote understanding
of his genius, most recently with Victor Hugo on Things That Matter (Yale University Press, 2009) . And because I love teaching and believe in its potential
to improve lives, I established and direct the University
of Virginia Teaching Resource Center.
My teaching and
research are synergistic both conceptually and pragmatically. I
encourage the sharing of ideas, not the proprietary hoarding of them,
because ideas call each other forth. Open lines of communication,
branched jointly among students and teacher/researcher, broaden the
whole field of inquiry. (For details, see My Teaching Informed by My
Research: A Portfolio.)
esprits, c'est notre loi première."
["Let's light up minds; that's our primary law."]
Victor Hugo, "Ecrit après la visite d'un bagne", Les Quatre
Vents de l'esprit, 1881.
Chanté par Alain Lecompte, Hugo