Have you met...Diane Kunyk?

On July 1st, 2021, Dr. Kunyk will step up as Acting Dean to lead one of the top nursing faculties in the world.

16 June 2021

Dr. Diane Kunyk — current Vice Dean at the Faculty of Nursing — is a leader within the Faculty, and offers a wealth of administrative, research, and teaching expertise. Upon completion of her doctoral degree, she joined the Faculty of Nursing in 2012 and became a full professor in 2020. Dr. Kunyk is also a long-serving member of the nursing community with expertise in relational ethics, population health, and community health nursing. 

Previously, Dr. Kunyk served two years as the Associate Dean of Graduate Studies with the Faculty of Nursing prior to taking on the Vice Dean position. She is the recipient of numerous awards including the University of Alberta President’s Doctoral Award of Distinction and Graduate Teaching Award along with CIHR and SSHRC research funding. She is also the first member of her family to earn a doctorate degree.

On July 1st, 2021, Dr. Kunyk will step up to lead one of the top nursing faculties in the world as Acting Dean of Nursing for a two-year term. Under her guidance — and as she notes, with the support of the strong leadership team — the Faculty of Nursing will continue to advance world-class research and teaching; reaffirm the importance of equity, diversity, inclusion, and indigeneity strategies; and draw attention to everyday ethical practices and interactions. 

We sat down with Dr. Kunyk  to discuss her new role, her nursing journey, and her vision for the Faculty of Nursing: 

Can you tell us about the focus of your research program? 

I am interested in the applied aspects of ethics, particularly relational ethics, as it relates to the health and well-being of employees. How can we mitigate the moral suffering induced in the workplace? Or by our colleagues? My research goals are to translate my findings in ways that provide practical solutions for improving ethical action.

What is your favourite course to teach? 

Not surprisingly, INTD 570 (Healthcare Ethics) and INTD 670 (Research Ethics). I am passionate about the content of these courses and truly value interdisciplinary learning at the graduate level.

What is your first memory at the U of A? 

This question stimulated many memories given that I grew up in Edmonton. But the first must have been learning from outstanding international instructors at the Alberta Ballet Summer Dance program over several years when I was an adolescent.

What’s something that people might be surprised to learn about you?

This is a tough question. Perhaps that I am truly green and gold given that my undergraduate, master’s and doctoral degrees are from the University of Alberta?

If you were enrolling in one course, program or degree right now, what would it be?

I valued every opportunity to take courses from other faculties as an undergraduate, masters, and doctoral student. These gave me important insights into my research and teaching. Going forward, I want to take more courses in art, music, history, and languages. 

What’s something your coworkers don’t know about you?

That’s another hard question as I am very transparent. For example, it is well known that I totally love and value being a grandparent and am so grateful for having this privilege. 

What’s on your radar for your first year as acting dean?

In this last year, our faculty and students have been outstanding in the way they stepped up to the challenges of COVID-19. Our graduates are desperately needed in the healthcare system and our program prepares them to become the next generation of nursing leaders. We managed to successfully support students to progress through their programs despite these obstacles.

The changes we have experienced this last year have been unprecedented. We have learned new skills, deepened our resiliency, and advanced our work. This is the optimal time to evaluate our experiences and to determine when continuing with remote activities makes sense for meeting our strategic priorities — and when it does not. 

I am also excited about the discussions of the College Model that are taking place. There is great potential for deepening existing and developing new, interdisciplinary learning and research activities. Similarly, sharing and collaborating some global and EDI activities at the College level makes sense. I see these as tremendous opportunities for our students and faculty alike.  

The Faculty of Nursing is outstanding on any measurement scale. I am incredibly proud of our accomplishments and strive to continue and advance these positive metrics. There is much for me to learn!