Teaching Excellence Awards

 Year Awarded: 2015

Faculty Award winner

Paul Desmarais

 College of Nursing


I have never seen myself as the "Guardian of the Nursing profession."  My goal is not to "weed out" people. My job is to teach, impart knowledge, clarify, explain, correct, and instruct. More importantly, my job is to inspire awe in the beauty of knowledge, the excitement of understanding, the desire to seek more.  The student must learn to study, not just to pass a test, but to understand, and if understanding is not obtained, to question and investigate until understanding is achieved.

Having said that, a major part of "teaching" is setting standards.  There are levels of knowledge that are essential in order to practice nursing and to provide safe, high quality patient care.  As a teacher of nursing, I have an obligation to the public to ensure that the nurses being produced are of the highest caliber possible as entry level nurses.

I also have an obligation to instill in the student the realization that the study of nursing is a life-long pursuit.  It does not stop with graduation.  Indeed, it is after graduation that the student learns to focus on what needs to be known and perfected.  In short, after graduation, the need for learning intensifies and becomes more critical than ever.  It is, therefore, my obligation to instill a desire to learn and grow professionally and personally that will last a lifetime.

Perhaps the greatest lesson is teaching the student to question. Just because something is written, does not make it true.  Just because something is spouted out in a classroom does not make it "gospel."  Just because something has always been done in a certain manner, does not mean that what is being done is correct. The student should be taught to always ask "why" and to seek answers to the "why."  This is the basis for research and the use of evidenced based practice.  It is the basis for critical thinking.