by Kathryn McDonald
Professor Mark Klimek has been teaching at Cedarville University in the School of Nursing since 1983, and has seen the program grow from 30 students in the very first graduating class to over 500 students enrolled in the program as of the 2020-2021 school year.
Mark’s plan, however, was not always to be a nurse. Starting out as a chemistry major planning to study pharmacology, Mark realized that his color blindness would not allow him to study chemistry due to the use of techniques such as chromatography which rely on the ability to distinguish between colors. At the suggestion of his brother, Mark switched to the nursing program instead and has not looked back since.
“I love it. It’s the greatest thing,” he said.
Klimek has worked in a variety of settings outside of the classroom. His work as a nurse has included rehabilitation nursing, cardiac care, surgical intensive care, medical intensive care, neurological intensive care, and psychiatric inpatient care. Each experience provided him with the applicational knowledge to teach students what it means to provide care in a range of contexts.
“You can’t just teach it from textbook knowledge, you have to actually experience it,” Klimek said. “You have to actually apply the principles and apply the knowledge to actual care of patients.”
Klimek’s passion for teaching students what it means to think critically and articulate their knowledge well has enabled him to make an important contribution to the education of thousands of students.
Today, Klimek’s favorite class to teach is Culture and Health. This interactive and engaging class allows students an opportunity to investigate how health is viewed through the contexts of different cultures.
Mark’s philosophy is that learning is more than just listening to lectures. His favorite moments in the classroom are when students engage with the material. “I’m really into getting students to talk, discuss, think about, respond to issues and problems and really getting them to talk about things.” When students immerse themselves in the material and discuss it, learning happens at a deeper level.
Klimek is able to care for people best when he views them holistically. Many of the problems that medicine and psychiatry cannot solve are spiritual problems.
“I just think that a person of faith is the best person in the world to take care of you because they are the ones that are qualified to care for your whole person,” he said.
He also shares that he tries to influence students to think about the whole of the person and ask themselves how Jesus, our master physician would care for this person.
After 38 years of faithful ministry and teaching in the nursing program, Klimek announced that he would be retiring from his position at Cedarville University at the end of this academic year.
Klimek leaves a legacy at Cedarville. His colleagues and students have been greatly impacted by his dedicated service.
Angelia Mickle, Dean of the School of Nursing, said, “I’m just amazed that over the past thirty-seven years he has literally breathed nursing into and formed every single nursing student that has graduated since the first nursing class that graduated in 1985.”
“He is just very passionate about his job and it makes the students excited to learn,” says current student Katie Seher.
This statement was echoed by other students like Trevor Meuller, graduate of the nursing program.
“He communicates in a very memorable way,” Meuller said. “So sometimes he gives you ways to remember things, other times it’s just the way that he communicates something that is so memorable.”
Kristi Coe, a former student and current colleague of Klimek, said, “I think it’s very easy to see where he is now, an incredibly successful nationally known business for NCLEX review. But as I’ve watched his life closely over the last couple of decades, I think the words that I would use to describe it aren’t necessarily ‘great.’ It’s faithful and obedient. There wasn’t anything great about deciding to leave a large metropolitan hospital to come to cornfields for a brand new start-up nursing program; it was just obeying what God put before him at that time.”
This faithful service is at the heart of what Cedarville teaches its students and Klimek has been faithful to live this out in front of his students and fellow faculty for his time serving with the nursing program. Klimek’s legacy of obedience and faithfulness will be remembered long after the glitter of greatness fades away. He continues to serve as an example of living out an eternal perspective.
Kathryn McDonald is a sophomore Psychology major and an A&E writer for Cedars. You can probably catch her writing a letter to a friend in the library or drinking coffee from her favorite mug. When she is not at her desk studying, she is probably on her phone catching up with friends or reading her favorite American poetry.