Dr. Tim Rahilly has served as president and vice-chancellor of Mount Royal University since May. Wil Andruschak © Postmedia Network Inc.
Joel Schlesinger © Postmedia Network Inc.
Dr. Tim Rahilly feels comfortable in his new leadership role at Mount Royal University.
But he is still getting used to one aspect of his job as the post-secondary institution’s new president and vice-chancellor — being recognized around campus.
“People have been introducing themselves when I’m walking the hallways,” says Rahilly, who started on the job in May, amidst “a fair bit of fanfare” taking over from Dr. David Docherty.
The warm welcome is indeed appreciated by the former vice-provost and associate vice-president for students and international at Simon Fraser University — a role he held in Vancouver since 2010.
“On campus here I am a bit of a public citizen, so I need to make sure I don’t have soup on my tie,” he says with a laugh, highlighting his trademark sense of humour.
“But what I’m getting at is the faculty, staff and students are really excited to have me join the community.”
That hardly comes as a surprise to Rahilly, given that MRU’s tagline is You Belong Here.
“Certainly, I am left with a strong impression that I belong here, which is fantastic.”
Indeed, Rahilly says the university of more than 14,000 students, providing bachelor programs in arts, science, education, health, business and communications, plus continuing education offerings, is “a great match” given his past experience at other highly respected universities.
“What I see in Mount Royal is a kindred spirit,” he says. “What it has been doing for decades is what I’ve been advocating for years.”
Rahilly’s past work at Simon Fraser, and before that at the University of British Columbia, has long focused on improving the undergraduate experience.
“I had really been a champion of trying to work with the academic and administrative sides to make sure students’ time at school was as positive as possible,” he says about his past experience.
That’s the overarching goal at MRU, and Rahilly knows he’s in good stead at the school. He points to its emphasis on teaching and student-centred learning. Students know their professors and course curriculum is designed to provide them with transferrable skills they can apply after graduation — whether they’re furthering academic pursuits or building a career.
MRU grads tend to make a big impact in the community, he adds.
“It’s estimated we have about 100,000 alumni and three quarters of them are living in the area, and obviously contributing to the well-being of the city,” Rahilly says.
He adds that current students are frequently engaged in the community, providing an estimated 300,000 volunteer hours annually.
To him, it’s all part and parcel to what education is about. Learning should be transformative, in a positive way, for the students and the community.
“We’re about helping people develop their potential with the hope and expectation that they will apply their learning here in our community,” he says.
“So, while MRU might not be the biggest school in the city, having been here for more than 110 years, its students and grads have been making a big difference in shaping the past, present and future of Calgary.”
This story was created by Content Works, Postmedia’s commercial content division, on behalf of Calgary Economic Development.