Beyond the Call of Duty

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Image of man with gray hair, wearing a white lab coat and safety glasses, watching as a young man with similar attire manipulates liquid in beakers.

This story first appeared in Cranbrook’s Southview Magazine.  We thought Dr. Dick’s story was so great, though –  we wanted to share it more widely.  We hope you agree.

Dr. David Dick joined College of the Rockies as a first- and second-year Chemistry instructor in August of 2007.  Since then he has mentored many students, been a source of information and support, and found innovative ways to help his students to learn.

In 2013, David partnered with with Thompson Rivers University (TRU) on a collaboration that allowed College of the Rockies Fundamentals of Chemistry students to be able to virtually access an expensive piece of equipment – an atomic absorption spectrometer – that was located at TRU. Using Skype, David’s students interacted with the instructors at TRU and through the use of computers were not only able to watch the atomic absorption spectrometer in action, they were able to remotely control it. This out-of-the-box thinking provided his students with an opportunity to perform research and to use an instrument they would not otherwise have had access to.

It is not just current students who benefit from David’s supportive nature, however. Over the past two science fair seasons, David has assisted high school student, and budding scientist, Rory Smith. Last year, Rory entered the East Kootenay Regional Science Fair.  His experiment required the use of instruments that were only available at College of the Rockies. Not only did David allow Rory the use of the College’s Chemistry lab and instruments, but he was also very generous with his time and knowledge. Rory went on to win the regional science fair that year and says “College of the Rockies and Dr. David Dick were instrumental in the success of my project.”

This year, Rory again approached David for access to the lab as he worked on his new project for the science fair and, once again, David was more than happy to share not only access to the lab, but also his time and expertise. Rory was a 2017 winner as well.

Former College of the Rockies student Rachel Green wanted to start her university education at the College so she could remain at home, because it was much more affordable than going directly to university, and because she saw it as a great way to transition from high school to post-secondary. She ended up getting a better educational experience than she could have imagined.

Instructors like David were always available and willing to answer questions. In fact, even though she has moved on from the College and is working on the final years of her Bachelor of Science degree at the University of Alberta, David is still available to her and continues to answer questions for her.

“I always knew that if I needed help and came to the College, David would likely be here and would be willing to answer my questions,” she says. “I likely wouldn’t have passed if I started elsewhere. I recommend everyone do science courses at the College. University is a much different experience, much less personal.”

With almost 10 years at College of the Rockies under his belt, it is clear that Dr. Dick has had a positive impact, not only on his current students, but also on potential and former students as well. Faculty members like him are part of what makes the College small college proud.

Photo: Dr. David Dick with budding scientist, Rory Smith.