Michael Bourgeois, associate professor of theology and director of basic degree studies at Emmanuel College, was named the first vice-principal of Emmanuel College on June 10 by the executive committee of Victoria University, with duties to begin on September 20, 2010.
“The Emmanuel College faculty executive committee and I unanimously recommended Michael Bourgeois to hold the office of vice-principal,” says Emmanuel College principal Mark Toulouse. “He will bring considerable strengths to the role, chiefly his vast knowledge of our academic programs, his care for students, and his organizational gifts. He will provide invaluable assistance in steering the academic programs within the College.”
Bourgeois’ primary responsibility in this newly established office will be to provide administrative direction for the advanced degree and basic degree programs at Emmanuel College. As vice-principal, Bourgeois will also act as Principal Toulouse’s designate, as needed, on committee assignments for Emmanuel, Victoria University and the Toronto School of Theology.
“My primary vocation has always been to teaching,” says Bourgeois, “so as vice-principal I want to ensure that Emmanuel’s academic programs and policies serve students’ educational aspirations. I also want to ensure that Emmanuel’s programs enable graduates to engage public issues such as the place of religious practice in a religiously plural world, and the role of religion in addressing the environmental crisis and social and economic justice.”
A member of the Emmanuel College faculty since 2001, Bourgeois teaches courses in historical and current theologies, with particular attention to salvation, redemption and liberation; hope and history and their relation to salvation and social justice; the relation of theology and the natural sciences; and expressions of religious ideas in popular culture. From 2000 to 2006, he chaired the United Church of Canada’s committee on theology and faith while the church developed its new statement of faith, “A Song of Faith.” In 2009, he was a recipient of the United Church of Canada’s Davidson Trust Award for excellence in teaching and scholarship.
In the coming 2010-2011 academic year, Bourgeois will also be serving as chair of the steering committee for Emmanuel College’s self-study, an essential process in Emmanuel’s accreditation review by the Association of Theological Schools.