Inspiring Teaching

Discover teaching and learning at the University of Alberta

Explore the teaching practices and philosophies of some of the University of Alberta's excellent teachers. The instructors profiled engage learners in meaningful ways with approaches to teaching that create significant learning experiences for students.

Embracing the Challenge of Learning: A Philosophy of Teaching informed by Sport


String theorist and former Rhodes Scholar, Associate Professor and Associate Chair (undergraduate) in the Department of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences, Vincent Bouchard’s research interests are focused on the interface of mathematics and physics.

Vincent has received the Rutherford Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching (2018) and has competed in numerous ultra running mountain races such as the Blackfoot Ultra 100km and Sinister 7 100 mile endurance events. He describes an interesting interface between his passion for ultra endurance mountain sports such as running and skiing, and his passion for teaching university students.


Vincent loves teaching. His goal is to create stimulating and interactive learning environments. When asked about the connections between endurance sports and the teaching and learning of math, Vincent says that both long distance running and solving a math equation require periods of focused time where one is fully present in the task. Both require one to see tasks as an exciting challenge rather than a problem. One adapts and to respond to the needs of the situation. Whether Vincent is participating in endurance sports or doing math with his students, the task is not meant to be easy; a commitment is required to reach one’s goal or the solution.

The ultra running community and a classroom community of students also have numerous connections. Vincent aims to foster camaraderie within his courses similar to the camaraderie within the ultra running community. Vincent sees both classrooms and running events like a small village wherein each member is independent, self-sufficient, and capable as all members persist together towards a common goal. It is more difficult to solve math problems or run extremely long distances on one’s own, and doing so with others is more enjoyable and rewarding.

CTL is grateful to Vincent for sharing his video and photography of his mountain adventures. Vincent Bouchard is, indeed, happy in the mountains and in the classroom.

About Vincent Bouchard
Vincent Bouchard is an Associate Professor and Associate Chair Undergraduate in the Department of Mathematical & Statistical Sciences at University of Alberta. His research focuses on the intersections between mathematics and physics.

In May 2019 the TELUS World of Science awarded the Edmonton Science Fellowship to Professor Vincent Bouchard. The TELUS World of Science – Edmonton’s Science Fellowship program was launched in August 2017 to recognize one outstanding young researcher or innovator in Northern Alberta per year.