Faculty Advisor for Phi Alpha Theta Honor Society
Education: B.A, University of Maine; M.A. and Ph.D., University of Notre Dame
Teaching and Research Interests: Ancient Greece and Rome, Medieval European History, Historical Film Studies.
Teaching full-time at Naz since 1988: "I have spent nearly three decades in college classrooms sharing my love of history with generations of students."
Why history: "I got hooked on history by wondering about my own roots. Growing up in a French-Canadian, Catholic family (where French was the primary language spoken), I was keenly interested in the history of Catholicism and my ancestors' roots in France. This developed into an academic interest in the history of Medieval France and of Christianity in general. Now I study manuscripts that are more than 1,000 years old and have had the pleasure of traveling to remote monasteries and cathedrals in France and Italy to contextualize my research."
Expertise: Journalists regularly interview Thibodeau about papal history, such as the election of Pope Francis. Thibodeau contributed to a History Channel documentary, commenting on history and forensic issues associated with various relics of the crucifixion of Jesus.
"I teach 'pre-modern European' courses, from Ancient Greece to the end of the Middle Ages."
Favorite course: Western Civ. "Western Civilization I has a large number of non-majors and freshmen. I enjoy having students who originally might have no interest in this material, who come to appreciate how rewarding and fun it can be to study the past and to learn important lessons from history."
Newest course: Joan of Arc. "I enjoy examining with students not only her life in a historical context, but how she has been represented and imagined in film and pop culture."
Faculty-student community: "Our department has a strong sense of community among the faculty that is generously shared with our majors. We spend considerable time outside of the classroom meeting with our students, sharing social events together and most importantly, sharing good stories and good laughs together."
Faculty-student conference experiences: "I am the faculty adviser for our local, active chapter of the national history honor society of Phi Alpha Theta. Every year, a group of our students present papers at the PAT regional history conference, and we have won quite a few 'best of the conference' awards in the past decade."
Study abroad: "I also encourage students to take advantage of our outstanding study abroad programs. I had the good fortune of being with a group of Nazareth students in Berlin in November 2009 for the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall."
“I am always humbled when I stand in the presence of these ancient monuments; I am as awestruck as any modern tourist would be when first seeing these artifacts.” Timothy Thibodeau in Rome, by the Arch of Constantine, the first Christian emperor, who converted after winning a battle against his rival Maxentius in the year 312.
“I was a professional musician in a rock band when I was in high school and left the band when I was a freshman in college. I still own quite a few guitars and still consider music to be one of the cornerstones of my existence.”
“Dr. Thibodeau is an amazing professor who knows and communicates history very well. He connects with students and is always willing to help. He really understands that balance of teaching the material and knowing his students.”
Kimberly Barber '11, studied history and adolescence education at Nazareth, had Dr. Thibodeau as her advisor, and took several classes with him. She is now a social studies teacher in Virginia, where her school awarded her First Year Teacher of the Year.