Learn From the Best: Barb Bouthillier helps math students realize their ability to learn

After raising her children, Barb Bouthillier felt called to attend Grand Rapids Community College and study special education. While taking classes, an opportunity to help students struggling with math presented itself and Barb couldn’t say no. 

Thirteen years later, she still loves supporting students as they study math. 

Bouthillier, an adjunct math professor, recalls one of her very first students – one taking Math 95 for the third time. 

The student had a very challenging, complicated personal life and worked very hard in the course. When the student passed the final exam, she was ecstatic!

She told Bouthillier she was excited to tell her grandkids that if she could pass a college math class they could certainly handle college – no excuses!

Bouthillier was awarded the Excellence in Education Adjunct Award in 2019 for her engaging and supportive approach to teaching. She encourages students to collaborate and ask questions and is a strong advocate for GRCC resources such as the tutoring labs and the Counseling and Career Center. 

“It is more important to help students believe in their ability to learn math than to find the best way to teach a math concept,” she says.

Success in education is a process of developing confidence, making mistakes, and learning from them. Bouthillier understands that all students learn differently and takes the time to discover how to best support and teach her students. 

More information about the Mathematics Department can be found here. 

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