A woman of extraordinary intelligence, vision and resourcefulness, Thelma (Brown) Midori made an impact as an early leader in health and human service education at Camosun College.
Thelma came to Camosun in January 1980 as Chair of the first college-based Nursing program on Vancouver Island.
The timelines were very tight for the development of the program but Thelma was adamant the new college program would reflect a major shift in teaching and learning methods from traditional nurse’s “training.”
She believed college students are adults who come with valuable life experience which prepares them to be active participants in their learning. Thelma also ensured the program stressed nurses’ caring, supportive and preventative roles.
That first year, Camosun’s new Nursing program attracted over 125 students from various backgrounds and ages.
“Over the years, Thelma adopted the title, Laughing Gentle Warrior, which succinctly reflected her strength and playful spirit,” says retired colleague and friend Faye Ferguson.
In 1987, Thelma became the first Associate Dean of the School of Health and Human Services and, in 1991, she became Dean, a position in which she served until her retirement in 2005.
“In all her roles at the college, Thelma led with her head and her heart,” adds Ferguson. “She consistently inspired others to join her in creating and executing exemplary educational programs. Her primary goal was to provide programs that stimulated and inspired learners to become excellent practitioners and confident human beings.”
While she was Dean, Thelma launched and championed the dream of a designated building for all health and human service programs at Interurban campus.
Her input into the early planning all those years ago, assisted in the development of the new Alex & Jo Campbell Centre for Health and Wellness that Camosun’s health care and human service students enjoy today. “That building dramatically reflects the vision and the educational values that were so dear to Thelma’s heart,” says Ferguson.
Thelma was a kind and supportive mentor to many of us across the breadth of college departments. I am grateful to Thelma for the many times that she offered input and advice.
I loved how she would say “I’m not sure I understand” when so many others might say “I can’t see how you came to that conclusion”. She didn’t let go; she just kept asking for clarification until she got what she needed to reach her own conclusion 🙂 Thelma was a great role model.