Dr. Galina Boiarintseva, assistant professor of management, had long admired Niagara University for its Vincentian ideology, which she says aligned with her own values. So, when a position in Niagara’s new campus site in Vaughan, Ontario, became available, she was the first to apply, and the first to be hired.
The position enabled her to combine her background in working with start up businesses with her passion for academia to collaborate in building the Ontario site’s business program. She says that in her classes, integrating theory with practice is paramount, and she uses case studies to help students understand the real-world applications of what they are learning.
“Understanding where theory works and where it doesn’t is what makes you a true professional,” she says. “How can you integrate and apply multiple theories to make it work, because each situation is unique.”
Dr. Boiarintseva also believes that teaching is a reciprocal process, one in which both she and her students exchange experiences and learn from one another. She adds that learning is done by trial and error, so she ensures that her classes are a safe place for students to learn by doing.
An international viewpoint is also critical, Dr. Boiarintseva says, so she facilitates an opportunity for her students to travel to Italy to compare what they have learned in a different business environment, which allows for the “critical interpretation of everything they have learned in an international context.”
During the trips, students reflect on what they see in a variety of businesses and compare that to what they have learned about Canadian business to discover ideas that may be applicable back home.
When she is not in the classroom or on international trips, she is performing research. Her primary focus is on work life balance, a topic she became interested in while working in human resources for startups. She is also doing research on gender and hiring practices.
But teaching is her favorite part of the profession, she says, noting that her grandmother, who was a university professor in Russia until she was in her 80s, instilled that passion in her.
“I’ve never ever imagined myself doing anything else,” Dr. Boiarintseva says. “It’s what I wanted to do my whole life.”