Kimberley Aselstine entered Royal Roads in the “first flight” of female cadets in 1984. After serving in the Canadian Forces for more than 12 years, she returned to Royal Roads as a civilian to help start the fledgling university in 1995.
My military background and time at Royal Roads allowed me to bridge two worlds between the existing Royal Roads Military College employees and the new and incoming Royal Roads University staff.
I knew many members of the staff and they knew me, not only from my time as a cadet, but because I also spent a summer training at Royal Roads when I was in the military.
I can’t believe it has been 20 years and I’m so glad the university has gone the way it’s gone.
It was an exhilarating time. We were a team. Talk about connections! In some ways we were going through some pretty challenging, difficult times. We were exhausted, and it was all hands on deck. Everybody pitched in, because we had crazy little time to get things organized.
We were building it. There was no kind of hierarchy or rank structure. Everybody pitched in. Spouses pitched in. We got together on weekends to put together binders for the first classes, because we didn’t have the resources to do it otherwise.
I used to say, because I have to roll up my sleeves so much, I’ve just started wearing short sleeves.
It was a very collegial, collaborative team atmosphere. We were doing great things with very little time and resources, but the neat thing was we all believed in what we were doing. We were really excited about being part of something where the focus was on the learner. We were going to be different from a traditional university. We were going to be self-sufficient in five years. It was a hugely tall order and it was changing history. We had people there who rose to the challenge, who loved the challenge. It was an exhilarating, exhausting time.
We had a very clear focus to get the university up and running, so we could bring in our partner students while generating our own programs and building our own staff complement, policies – you name it.
We didn’t compromise our vision and we kept the goal in sight.
I was the elected staff member on the Board of Governors. All across the board, there was a dedication and commitment to making a university focused on the learner, where the learner was the client, and we did what we did for them to give them the best experience possible.