McMaster University

McMaster University

Faculty of
Health Sciences

Dean of nursing graduates with her students

By Suzanne Morrison
Published: June 12, 2009
Mary Guise
Mary Guise, associate dean in the School of Health Sciences at Mohawk College

As nursing students gather for their McMaster University convocation today, an associate dean will be lining up with them to receive her graduate degree.

Mary Guise, associate dean in the School of Health Sciences at Mohawk College, will receive her PhD in Nursing at the spring convocation of McMaster’s School of Nursing being held at Hamilton Place.  With her will be 370 students graduating from the collaborative BScN program which integrates nursing education at McMaster University, Mohawk College and Conestoga College.

It’s taken Guise eight long years — with some interruptions, including two one-year leaves-of-absence from the PhD program. She graduated with her undergraduate nursing degree from McMaster in 1973.

When she first started working on her PhD, Guise was a faculty member in the diploma nursing program at Mohawk College. She moved into administration, solely in continuing education.  Almost three years ago, she became associate dean of the BScN Program at Mohawk. "So, I came back to (my PhD) and the culmination is that I am graduating — finally. It’s done.  And the nice part is that I will be with our students," she said.

The sense of achievement, Guise said, is "something quite special."

With her PhD in hand, Guise plans to continue working in health sciences at Mohawk "to help shape our health care leaders of tomorrow."

Guise, a member of the first teaching team in the integrated baccalaureate degree program, believes one of the collaborative program’s greatest achievements has been the successful melding of the very different college and university cultures.

"We have really learned from each other," she said.  "It is a very co-operative environment, collegial environment, supportive on both sides.  We have been very, very lucky because I don’t think all collaborations are having the same success."

Throughout the past eight years, Guise said her greatest support has come from her family — her husband, William, and sons, Steven, 27, and John, 29.

"They are very proud of me. There were times when it was difficult to continue on and I came to a couple of points where I thought I couldn’t do my job, which I enjoy very much, and continue my studies, which I enjoy very much," she said.

Guise said her family encouraged her to keep going and picked up all the household chores. "No one complained when I was working late or doing work on the week-end.  They have been just excellent and my greatest supporters."
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