Bonnie Bechard

Jon Gilbert Fox photo.

Distinguished Graduate Teaching Award

Professor of Business

Bonnie Bechard started her higher education teaching career at age 20, fresh out of college. “I had planned to teach high school business, but an opportunity came along to teach at Albany Business College,” she recalls. “It was there that I learned that I loved teaching at the college level.”

After five years at Albany Business College, during which time she earned her master’s degree, Bechard was ready to explore other opportunities. She pursued her doctorate at Arizona State University and, she notes, “accepted a position at Plymouth State before completing my dissertation.”

Her achievements since joining the business faculty here are numerous and impressive. She has taught courses in business ethics, international management, organizational behavior, organizational communication, and training and development. Not long into her tenure, she collaborated with administrators on a strategic plan for the institution. In 1987, she began adding graduate courses to her teaching responsibilities. In 1996, she created and taught the first online MBA course. Her interest in international business led her to help establish PSU’s educational partnership with Babeş-Bolyai University in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. In 2005, she was the first business faculty member to offer a business travel study course for PSU students at BBU.

Beyond her contributions as a faculty member, Bechard has served in various administrative roles, including program director, internship coordinator, and executive director of the business department. She has also conducted numerous training workshops and conference presentations on innovative teaching practices, faculty development, and business supervision, and her professional development activities focus on integrating globalization into the business curriculum. “I choose topics that excite me, learn more about them, and then share them with my colleagues,” she says. “To me, that’s the best aspect of scholarship, sharing experience and knowledge with others.”

Bechard was surprised and delighted by being selected for the Distinguished Graduate Teaching Award and maintains that it’s her students who make teaching at the graduate level so gratifying. “Graduate students have a great desire to learn, and they readily see the value of the learning experience to their lives and careers,” she says. “They also bring a level of maturity and depth of experience that enhances the teaching and learning experience.”

Bechard credits PSU’s supportive environment with keeping her engaged in and passionate about her work throughout her twenty-plus year career. “It’s the students, the faculty, and the administration, who together encourage and inspire me to do what I love and do it well.”

Barbra Alan