Community Contribution to UBC 2016 Award Winner: Daniel Munro

Community Contribution to UBC Daniel Munro (Philosophy)

Community Contribution to UBC Daniel Munro (Philosophy)

Meet Daniel! Daniel dedicated his time at UBC to improve students’ learning and academic experiences. As the AMS Associate Vice-President, Academic and University Affairs, he worked on the #textbookbrokeBC campaign and promoted the Open Educational Resources (OERs) concept, which are openly licensed course resources that can both save students money on textbooks as well as improve learning by allowing students to become co-creators in the production and dissemination of teaching and learning materials. During his last year at UBC, Daniel worked as a research assistant with Faculty of Arts First Year Programs. He designed and circulated student surveys to evaluate program successes and areas for growth and helped faculty chairs to determine future strategic directions for their units. The Centre for Student Involvement and Careers had a chance to speak with 2016’s Community Contribution to UBC Winner, Daniel Munro about his student leadership, learning experience and post-graduation plans.

Interview conducted by Zining Wang

1. Tell be about your most memorable experience in UBC.

It is really hard to choose just one, but if I had to pick, it would probably be co-coordinating a student directed seminar this past year. This was one of the most challenging things I have done, but definitely one of the most rewarding. Designing a whole course syllabus and having to make sure you know all of the readings in great depth gives you a much greater understanding of the material. It was also great to put myself, to some extent, in the shoes of what professors do, as I aspire to be a professor teaching my own courses. I can’t thank my SDS classmates enough (especially my co-cordinator, Kosta Prodanovic).

“Get involved with undergraduate research opportunities outside your regular coursework…” 

2. Why did you decided to study Philosophy?

My interest in Philosophy started in my first year when I took the Arts One program, before which I had only had minimal exposure to the discipline so didn’t really know what I was getting into. Arts One includes content from English, History, and Philosophy, but the Philosophy texts we read were always the ones that really captured and challenged me intellectually, as well as that I found most enjoyable (unlike many of my classmates who found them a bit tedious or frustrating, in fact!). I was lucky to have a really inspiring professor who also teaches in the Philosophy department, Christina Hendricks, introducing me to those texts.

3. What are the top three things that every UBC Arts student should do before they graduate?

  1. Challenge yourself to go at least one whole semester without skipping any course readings–this can be hard as an Arts student, but I finally succeeded in doing it this year, and in the end it was worth it!
  2. Get involved in undergraduate research opportunities outside your regular coursework–whether that is presenting something you did for a class at a conference (like the Arts Undergraduate Society or MURC), or something like working for one of your professors as a research assistant. The act of taking your learning knowledge outside traditional classroom boundaries is really rewarding.
  3. Get together with some friends and explore your favourite spots on campus after dark. Because I was always a commuter student it was a while before I did this, and I was then amazed at how beautiful things look (the outside of the Museum of Anthropology is pretty spectacular at night).

“The act of taking your learning knowledge outside traditional classroom boundaries is really rewarding.” 

4. If you have the chance to re-start your UBC experience, what would you do differently?

While very little comes to mind for this question, one thing all students struggle with is coping with time management and stress while trying to juggle school with various other commitments. This might sound like a bit of a cliché, but the main thing I would do differently is to try even more to start my assignments on time and keep up with course readings throughout the semester!
5. What’s an important life lesson that your involvement activities have taught you?

Definitely the importance of working alongside other passionate people who share the same goals as you. All of my greatest successes as a student directed seminar leader, as a student senator, and as a student government leader have been attributable to all the amazing faculty, staff, and fellow students I have teamed up with to try to improve the UBC student experience.
6. What is your next step after graduation?

I am moving on to the University of Toronto to begin a PhD in Philosophy, and hope to eventually teach at an institution as wonderful as UBC has been for me.