This is Dr. Vincent Gil

Professionally, Dr. Vincent Gil is a Cuban-born, American-bred, honored professor and researcher. But to all who’ve known him, he’s Vince Gil, or “Gil”, the latter used by his students as a short moniker for all that he stands for.

His story at Vanguard University is a long one, but it begins in 1975, when he was hired to be a part-time assistant to the then dean, and to jumpstart the sociology and anthropology courses, eventually working both into a combined major. During those early years, Dr. Gil was successful in getting VU funded for Title III’s “Strengthening Developing Institutions” seed grants, which for three years helped to establish the college’s first efforts at institutional long-term planning, functional admissions recruiting, fiscal planning, and student minority engagement.


Dr. Gil went on to develop and get approval for a combined Anthropology-Sociology major, which remained a crucial component of the Social Sciences until its closure in 2016-17. As his time progressed at VU, he undertook two post-doctorates to cement his work in Medical Anthropology and in Human Sexuality. He spent 16 years doing international work on sexually transmitted diseases (HIV especially) in the Caribbean, Mexico, China, Tibet, and Japan. In China, he was the first to introduce novel “rapid testing” for HIV, at a time when the disease was beginning to spread furiously. He now teaches part-time as an Adjunct Professor of Nursing and serves as Professor Emeritus, providing our students with his wealth of experience and academia at VU for the past 45 years.


Having left a legacy of teaching excellence behind, he is passionate about recognizing how teachers come across to students in the classroom and how they can learn to better engage their learners. He has recently contributed to this discussion through VU’s Institute for Faculty Development (IFD). Through IFD videos, Vince speaks to several approaches he believes can help faculty better engage their students, including a better understanding of who their audience is, and finding creative ways to gain their attention. He trusts that this will create more memorable impressions in the learning process, as well as make the classroom more comfortable, so that students can engage freely their views, especially with uncomfortable topics. 


"In the early days of my teaching, (I was 30 years old and just out of a PhD), I noticed that I was not coming off very well. We don't really get taught how to teach when we're in grad school. I was so high on academic language that I was using words which were way out of their league. I realized then that I need to understand my audience better, and modulate my language." 


Through this experience, Dr. Gil found that self-reflecting was important and taking inventory of the language being used was critical. He believes in the importance of establishing a culture and language in the classroom that is comfortable, and thus enables the addressing of issues comfortably. Otherwise, it’s difficult to address if the classroom lacks the appropriate comfort level for students to engage. 


We are so thankful for Dr. Gil’s lifetime of work being a professor and researcher; but most of all for providing a safe space for students to learn more about human sexuality in and out of the classroom. Please make sure to check out his next book coming out this coming Spring!