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Tech giant brings innovative eye to support for Royal Roads faculty

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Bob Skene

Fresh approaches to teaching and research are essential in today’s fast-paced environment.

Bob Skene is well known for igniting local high-tech business growth as founding CEO of the Vancouver Island Advanced Technology Centre. Now, he has turned his finely honed eye for innovation to enhancing teaching and learning at Royal Roads through the Buttedahl and Skene Learning and Teaching Award.

With matching funds from the Royal Roads University Faculty Association and the university, the award supports faculty members to make direct links between scholarship, effective teaching, research and student learning.

“Royal Roads is a university at the forefront of teaching methodologies and I want to make sure we stay ahead of the curve in the post-secondary sector. I think this award helps in some small way,” Bob says.

As a former acting president of Royal Roads University in 2006, Bob understands the challenges of delivering effective and innovative approaches to learning.

“There’s always theory involved in teaching, but there’s the practical side,” he says. “The faculty is measured in terms of where they come from, not just from an educational perspective, but from an industry and commercial perspective. That’s part of the reason for the fund: to make sure people stay ahead of the curve by teaching in depth, with knowledge about what really happens in the world, not just from an academic perspective. That’s the kind of research I am hoping will continue to contribute to Royal Roads’ unique approach.”

Bob attributes his experience in the private sector to his strong support for real-life learning.

“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 someone who has had the experience, who can relate stories that are right to the point in terms of what you are studying.”

Exemplifying Bob’s vision, this year’s awards include projects exploring simulated work environments, developing Royal Roads’ communities and deepening connections with the Songhees and Esquimalt communities to improve teaching practices.

Fresh approaches to teaching and research are essential in today’s fast-paced environment, according to Bob.

“Royal Roads University personifies change. Adaptation is easier and perhaps not quite as challenging for Royal Roads as it might be for other universities. That’s partly because the students themselves come from a world of practical knowledge from commerce, industry, government and so on. They contribute to how the university stays current,” Bob says.

“I am really enthusiastic and hopeful that Royal Roads will continue to thrive and continue to be recognized as a strong university.”