University of Vermont

University Communications

Frank Bryan Receives Kidder Outstanding Faculty Award

Release Date: 05-25-2004

Author: Lynda Majarian

Frank Bryan, professor of political science, was named the 2004 recipient of the George V. Kidder Outstanding Faculty Award at the University of Vermont’s 200th Commencement on May 23. The award is presented annually in honor of Dean Emeritus George V. Kidder (Class of '22) who loyally served the university for more than 70 years.

Bryan, who joined the faculty in 1976, teaches courses in American and Vermont politics and public administration. He is known to generations of students and in numerous Vermont communities as a compelling speaker and advocate of small town politics. His former students hailed him as “a guiding light who knows how to capture a student’s interest and energy” and a thoughtful, helpful and readily available academic advisor. He has inspired many former students to pursue careers in public service and community activism.

“Never be cynical about what it is you are teaching,” Bryan, a resident of Starksboro, has said about his teaching philosophy. “If you don’t believe in it, why should they?”

More than 4,000 students helped Bryan compile data and/or observed and wrote about town meetings for his most recent book, “Real Democracy: the New England Town Meeting and How It Works” (University of Chicago Press, 2003). Nearly 50 footnotes in the book refer to specific class reports and some former students are quoted. Bryan is the author of several additional books on state and local politics, including “Yankee Politics in Rural Vermont,” “Politics in the Rural States” and “The Vermont Papers: Recreating Democracy on a Human Scale.”

The Kidder Award recognizes a faculty member’s effectiveness as a teacher, including the ability to provoke student interest and enthusiasm; commitment to student advising and the ability to inspire students and have an impact on their values; effectiveness in motivating students in ways that have a lasting influence on their lives; and the ability to constructively influence campus life beyond the classroom.