Humanities Adjunct Instructor Baudelaire Ulysse, EdD, was searching for a home when he first visited Elgin in 2007. While he found a home elsewhere, a tour of Elgin Community College made a strong impression with him.
“I landed in Sugar Grove instead, where I started teaching at Waubonsee Community College,” he said. “Between 2008 and up until the time I started at ECC in 2010, I gathered bits and pieces of information about the college online and from various colleagues.”
One of his most memorable ECC experiences was shortly after he was hired. As he walked the campus hallways with one of his daughters on the way to fill out paperwork and pick up the textbook he was going to use in his class, he was struck by a revelation.
“In that moment, I started imagining ECC not just as my employer, but also an educational institution whose hallways my daughter may possibly one day walk as a student,” he said. “It also dawned on me that I needed to work a lot more to build her college fund!”
We caught up with Ulysse to learn more about his life and his work at ECC. Here is what he had to say.
In your words, what do you do at ECC?
I teach ethics courses in the humanities department, but I have taught logic as well.
What is your greatest accomplishment since you’ve been here?
In partnership with the ECC Library, Distance Learning, Information Technology, widespread support from administrators, and the indefatigable help of the faculty—especially Diane Kondratowicz, David Zacker and Jessica Carpenter—I coordinated the successful implementation of Films on Demand, a streaming service of educational/academic videos nearly three years ago.
The success was short-lived, though, as budget constraints forced the cancellation of that service.
What would you do if you were ECC president for a day?
I would probably approve a mini-golf course to be built in the rooftop space connecting Buildings B and G.
If there was a movie about your life, who would you want to play you?
What’s on your “bucket list?”
- Write and publish multiple books. (One is being published this spring and another is slated to be published this fall.)
- Climb Mt. Kilimanjaro.
- Visit the foothills of the Himalayan Mountains.
- Open a jazz/cocktail lounge.
- Become a Fulbright Scholar.
- Have coffee with former President Barack Obama.
- Become the president of Haiti (my home country) after I retire. If I live longer, I may start a fully accredited university and/or business empire there instead.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
Mini golf, biking, visiting local coffee houses, dancing, networking, poetry, writing, playing basketball and exercising.
Where was the best place you’ve traveled? Or, where would you like to visit?
It has to be India. I loved it! I would visit again in a heartbeat, but associate professor Marc Healy would have to come along.
What’s one fact we should know about you?
I did not graduate from high school. I was two years removed from graduation when I left Haiti in 1997, but at age 19 I was past the eligibility threshold for U.S. high schools. For a moment there, I was stuck between two different school systems.
I studied, earned my GED, went to college, and the rest is history.
What’s something about your job that others should know?
We talk a lot. I mean a LOT! That’s a little secret among professors.
What would be your “theme song?”
I have so many, but this one came mind: “U Can’t Touch This.” I will not be offended if you were to ask me to break it down, but be prepared to have your socks knocked off!
What was your favorite class in school?
Greek. I took it in college and in grad school. I loved it so much that to this day I still entertain my students with the Greek etymology of English words. Also, the classics still read better in their original Greek.
What was your first job out of school?
My first job ever in the U.S. was at KFC in Union, N.J. I marinated and battered chicken, mopped floors, and cleaned greasy pans. I enjoyed every second on that job. Oh, how I miss the good old days!
What quote best describes your philosophy?
"If there is no struggle, there is no progress." — Frederick Douglass
Complete this sentence: “I enjoy working at ECC because…”
My students. They make me better every day, and I care deeply about their success.