“It brings me a lot of joy knowing that the program we deliver is having an impact on peoples lives.”
Daniel Wiens grew up practicing martial arts like Taekwondo, kickboxing, Muay Thai, and boxing; a fact that may surprise those who know the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) instructor today. With a focus on physical, mental, and spiritual development inherent in these disciplines, however, the transition is perhaps less unexpected than it first appears.
Having earned two bachelor’s degrees (Nursing and philosophy) and a Master of Arts in Philosophy degree, the skills Daniel developed through sport have obviously served him well. Four years ago, he joined the College, teaching a wide range of courses within the BSN program, including ethics, global health, relational practice, lab simulation and clinical practice. With his philosophy background, it’s no surprise he has a special affinity for his ethics course.
“My favourite topics are about difficult moral problems,” he said. “When good arguments are presented on both sides of an issue, and yet the issue needs to be resolved, you really feel the weight and necessity of clear, rational thinking.”
It is witnessing evidence of this kind of critical thinking that Daniel finds most rewarding about teaching.
“When a student writes a clear, thoughtful paper about a topic they are interested in, I get a sense they have anchored themselves a little more in a difficult and confusing world,” he said.
In return, Daniel’s students have helped him to evolve in his thinking about education, and the best ways to help students to absorb the information they are presented with.
“I’ve learned to let go of the idea that education is consumption,” he said. “It is much more like learning to play an instrument. You cannot learn to play music by simply listening to it. You need to pick up the guitar and stumble along for a while. Learning, it turns out, involves a lot of struggle.”
Daniel continues to rely on the fortitude he developed in his youth as he juggles his job as instructor with the demands of being a father to twins. Finding a balance helps.
“Playing with my twin toddlers brings me a lot of joy these days,” he said. “When I get a moment to myself, though, I love to mountain bike, ski, and walk my dog.”
With the entire four years of the BSN program now held at the College’s Cranbrook campus, Daniel is heartened by seeing a lot of the programs graduates now working locally.
“They are doing great work and helping build our community,” he said. “I want to give a shout out to all my colleagues, College staff, and dedicated students for making his possible. Kudos.”