The power of possibility

September 5, 2018
Lisa Weighton

Something magical happens when Prof. Terry Power takes his students outside.

They come alive.

“Students love it out there,” Power says, one of the longest-serving professors in the School of Business.

There’s nothing like getting away from the bricks and mortar of the classroom and the crutch of PowerPoint slides, he says.

It was good enough for Socrates, after all.

“Socrates didn’t need bricks and mortar. He taught walking along the seashore.”

Power wanted to create a permanent space on campus for students to deeply connect to themselves, their learning and the environment.

The Terry Power Strategic and Advanced International Studies Outdoor Classroom was born. Surrounded by trees, the classroom accommodates up to 50 students.

Power pledged $100,000, inspiring alumni donations and a university match.

The classroom, which opens this fall, is integrated with the new Centre for Environmental Science and International Partnership building, an environmental science and innovation hub.

Bill Holmes, dean of the Faculty of Management, says Power’s gift is just the latest example of commitment and care for his students.

“He is wise and kind and completely student-focused,” Holmes says.

Each year the MBA class votes on an award for the best professor teaching in a distance learning program.

“Terry must have enough of those awards to wallpaper his house,” he says.

Power played no small part in her success says Sandy Walker, associate faculty member and Master of Business Administration in Executive Management grad (2012).

When she began her program, Walker says she was nervous.

“On paper Terry seems really intimidating. He has so many letters after his name, it’s a whole alphabet,” she says of Power, whose credentials include a Doctor of Business Administration, Master of Public Administration, Master of Business Administration and Bachelor of Laws, to name a few.

Walker says Power instantly diffused her apprehension.

“You get to his class and he’s the nicest person in the world. I went from being super intimidated to really excited to sink my teeth into his course,” she says.

After Walker graduated, Power encouraged her to join Royal Roads as an associate faculty member in the School of Business.

The two now teach together and the self-proclaimed “grasshopper” says she’s still learning from him.

“Terry takes the time to instill confidence in people about what they can accomplish and arm them with the tools to accomplish that,” says Walker. “He dares people to be audacious.”

An outdoor classroom fosters that kind of innovative thinking says Walker, who is an avid mountaineer.

 “Mother nature is the perfect leader, the perfect strategist, the perfect everything,” she says. “We can only learn from what she has perfected so to have the opportunity to be in a classroom integrated with the outdoors, you can just draw so many examples from what you see around you.”

Sense of place is already deeply embedded in Royal Roads’ Learning and Teaching Model. Holmes says the classroom will further enrich students’ learning experience through immersion in the natural environment.

“Whether it’s environmental science, whether it’s business, whether it’s leadership, that kind of environment invites a certain amount of relaxed but deep introspection.”

Power has shown incredible commitment to Royal Roads through his student-centred approach and contribution to supporting the outdoor classroom, Holmes says.

“He’s made his mark on the institution and he’s going to leave quite a legacy.”

Share your story with us on Giving Day: September 18, a day to raise funds and awareness about making a life-changing difference. Join us on social media using the hashtags #RRUPowerOfOne and #RRUGivingDay to celebrate your connection to Royal Roads and the gifts you make. Make a donation of any size to support the area of the university that matters most to you.