Presidential Lecture for Excellence in Teaching

March 27, 2003 | College of Staten Island

Professor of History David Traboulay, the recipient of this year’s Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching, spoke to a crowd of 100 faculty, staff, and students who gathered in the Center for the Arts’ Williamson Theater today.

President Marlene Springer and David TraboulayCSI President Marlene Springer opened the event with comments on Dr. Traboulay’s achievements as a scholar, and upon being awarded an engraved plaque and check for $1,500 to commemorate the day, Traboulay began his lecture by saying “I am grateful and happy to receive this first Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching, and feel humble about this splendid recognition.”

Traboulay’s lecture, entitled “Universitas: The Academic Community as Inspiration,” opened with a quotation from John of Salisbury, “Happy is the Exile that brings such a Home.”

Traboulay, a native of Trinidad on faculty at CSI since 1971, discussed his feelings about teaching. “I must confess the paradox that I have been aware of from 1957, when I was first hired as a teacher, of acknowledging the great joy and inspiration that teaching brought to my life on the one hand, and in similar measure the profound doubts I have had about the effectiveness of my teaching.”

After a recounting of his academic travels, Traboulay closed his lecture by expressing “my gratitude to all those who have made my life and work a ‘happy exile.’ Although I still find effective teaching elusive and, when you think that you have found it, it is impermanent, I have always considered myself fortunate to have been able to work at what I loved, and feel that it was the spirit of the college communities that inspired my teaching.”

Based on the response of the audience, the feeling was mutual.