Mission and Values > Programs > Vincentian Mission Institute > Current VMI Cohort > C. Henrik Borgstrom

C. Henrik Borgstrom

Dr. Borgstrom teaches intermediate and advanced French language, French cultural history, and French literature and theatre.
His research specialization is French theatre of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and francophone African performance. He has presented scholarly papers on a number of modern French playwrights, including Marguerite Duras, Jean Genet, Samuel Beckett, and Hélène Cixous, and he has published articles treating works by Chekov, Strindberg, Dumas, Tremblay, and Molière. He collaborated on the publication of two books: Reconciling Feminism and Catholicism (U. of Notre Dame Press, 2003) and The Theatre of Teaching and the Lessons of Theatre (Rowman & Littlefield, 2005); and he was a major contributor to the most recent edition of the Oxford Encyclopedia of World Theatre.
From 2006-2013, Dr. Borgstrom collaborated with the national French-language theatre company Le Théâtre de la Chandelle Verte, for whom he composed three dramatic manuscripts and directed two staged plays that have been performed for French students at dozens of universities across the United States (including Niagara University, which hosted performances of Michel Tremblay’s Albertine en cinq temps and Marivaux’s Le Jeu de l’amour et du hazard, and his own original piece, Lettres de femmes / femmes de lettres).

Educational Background

·       Ph.D. French Language and Literature, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1998
·       M.A. French Language and Literature, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1993
·       B.A. French, The College of William and Mary, VA, 1992

Why Niagara University?

As I was working on my doctoral thesis at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, I assumed my future lay in a teaching position at a large research-based institution with a robust graduate program. After all, that had been the professional goal of my thesis advisor and of all the professors whom I respected the most at UW. I had been advised to go on the market early, so that I could have a year of “practice interviews” before finishing my thesis and seeking a “serious” position. My very first interview at the MLA was with Sister Louise Sullivan, D.C., who chaired the Department of Foreign Languages at Niagara University. I remember it like it was yesterday. Just a few minutes into the interview, she handed me a copy of “The Core Values of Vincentian Education,” which explained an educational approach based upon the Catholic intellectual tradition and the Vincentian mission to the poor and marginalized. In it Sister Louise lays out the principles of the educational values of Saint Vincent de Paul as holistic, integrated, creative, flexible, excellent, person-oriented, collaborative, and focused. This little book had a profound impact on me, leading me to reflect upon and to re-evaluate my preconceived objectives for a career in academia. Now, nearly 18 years later, I can honestly say that I have never regretted my decision to join the faculty of Niagara University. As a teacher, I am with my students from the first day they set foot on the NU campus until the day they walk across the stage at Commencement; as a scholar, I have been free to pursue a diverse and rewarding research agenda combining literature and performance arts; and in my current position as Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, I have the pleasure of mentoring new faculty and the honor of leading my more established colleagues in new initiatives that mean to move the university forward.

 Why VMI?

There are fewer Confrères of the Mission on the NU campus today than when I first arrived in 1998. It is more important than ever for the lay members of the faculty to learn the Vincentian intellectual tradition, to integrate the Vincentian core values into their curriculum, and to inspire their students with the teachings and actions of Saint Vincent de Paul.