Before I was asked to join the Board of Governors in 2000, I had watched Royal Roads’ transition from a military college to a university from a distance, and I certainly supported it. I was excited about the university and its aims from a tech perspective, and supporting students who were already in the workforce and trying to advance their careers seemed like a great idea.
Anybody who is involved in an undertaking like Royal Roads should know their history. To me, relationship building with Indigenous communities was critical, as was ensuring Indigenous communities had an essential and ongoing role in the activities of the university.
Maintaining partnerships with the military and ex-cadets was important too. If we hadn’t maintained a strong link to the military community, the ex-cadets would have lost something that was very important to them in terms of their history, their memories and the connections they made while they were at the military college.
Royal Roads University’s community connections – to Indigenous and ex-cadet communities and also to the Department of National Defence – are all important. In my roles with the university, I wanted to make sure those important past relationships continued as current relationships, and hopefully we achieved that.
Because I was on the Board of Governors, then held the role of Chancellor and then acting President, Royal Roads is an important part of my life. I wanted to continue to be involved in some fashion.
I established the Bob Skene Fund for Learning and Teaching Innovation to support professional growth of faculty members and to highlight their contributions to the success of the university.
The fund supports faculty members to make direct links between scholarship, teaching effectiveness, research and student learning, and discussions are currently underway to significantly increase the size of the fund.
Because of my experience in the private sector, I understand how incredibly important it is for students to learn from faculty who have been there before from a practical perspective - most universities don’t offer that. There is nothing like learning from somebody who has had the experience, who can relate stories that are right to the point in terms of what you are studying.
I’ve done a lot of things in my life. I’m 75 years old, and I’ve “been there and done that” in terms of companies and volunteer operations. But the Royal Roads experience is at the top of my list in terms of what we were able to achieve, the memories and the relationships that continue.
Whenever I am invited to a Royal Roads function, I go. My involvement is a lot of fun, and the most important thing for me is seeing people I worked with during the seven years I was involved and meeting the new people as well.
I have a lot of really good memories of Royal Roads.