Meet KPU: Dr. Balbir Gurm

The KPU instructor and founder of NEVR is working on a book about the history of South Asians in Canada

Dr. Balbir Gurm, a Kwantlen Polytechnic University nursing instructor who founded the Network to Eliminate Violence in Relationships foundation. (Submitted)

Dr. Balbir Gurm is a nursing instructor at KPU, and she has been a part of the KPU community for over 30 years. Gurm is also the founder of NEVR (Network to Eliminate Violence in Relationships). She recently won the 2021 B.C. Achievement Foundation Community Award.

“I feel privileged and honoured that someone on the committee felt the need to submit the award for me, and just really want to thank all our members because, without them, I couldn’t achieve the things we have for NEVR. It really is everyone working together,” Gurm says.

When did you join the KPU community, and why? 

It’s been over 30 years. I had just finished a master’s in education and a master of arts…and I was working as a clinical nurse educator in the hospital. And I thought when I was orienting new graduates that they didn’t quite have the skill set that was required in practice. And so, I wanted to come to the education system so that I could help train new graduates so that they would have the appropriate skill. I picked KPU because back then, it was a small institution with a focus on teaching and was very engaged with the community.

What is your favourite story of your time at KPU? 

Probably one of my first classes when we switched from a diploma program to an undergraduate degree. It was our first full-time class because it used to be a part-time and a  full-time program. And I got to see that class because I taught them almost every year. So when I saw them at the end… the knowledge gain, and the skill set gain, I could see was just so rewarding. I think that’s probably one of my favourite stories. It’s about students and how we can help formulate their knowledge and their understanding and see the growth in them, especially in a profession like nursing.

What is something you’d like to say to people new to the community? 

Get involved in different committees and help shape the institution. Also, help develop curriculum in your program so that you can help design what students should learn from the program. Also engage with the community so you’re always informed by what’s happening within the local context, so that you can tailor your education to them.

What are you working on right now? 

I’m currently working on organizing the NEVR conference. And I’m working on writing a chapter for a book on the social history of South Asians in Canada, and I’m also working on editing the same book. I’m involved with the South Asian Task Force on COVID and trying to get everybody immunized. We’re a knowledge translation project, so trying to make academic knowledge accessible for community members so they can be informed.

The NEVR conference will be from June 2 to 4.

It’s focused on B.C.’s justice system and trying to understand what our current domestic violence justice system is, with our community members, and then making recommendations based on that. Because we consistently hear from survivors of domestic violence that they feel that they’re on trial, they’re re-victimized when they’re in court. So we thought we’d take a closer look at that.

Plus, we are doing a literature review that will be presented by one of our members on what other jurisdictions are doing that is different and successful. And we’ve got a guest coming from Ontario, who’s been studying the integrated courts in Ontario, to give us some of the successes and challenges out of that model so that we can advocate for a better court system for the domestic violence survivors.

What is something you would like people to know about you? 

I’ve been dedicated to helping students and KPU meet its mission because I believe in it. And I also feel that as academics, we are in a privileged position, so we should be helping our communities to achieve equity.