Get to Know your VP – Robin Hicks, Vice President Academic and Applied Research

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Head shot of Vice President Academic at College of the Rockies

Robin has a broad portfolio as the VP Academic and Applied Research. At the risk of leaving someone out, she lists her areas of responsibility as:

  • Educational programs including upgrading (UACE), trades, vocational and academic program credentials ranging from certificates to degrees.
  • Student services including counseling, accessibility, education advising, career services, student life, campus store, student housing and athletics.
  • Registrarial services including admissions, enrolment, scheduling, financial aid, and institutional research.
  • Applied Research and Innovation
  • Centre for Innovation in Teaching and Learning, Education Technology, Learning Commons, and Production Support Centre.

That’s a busy portfolio – but if anyone is prepared for it, that would be Robin.

Though she now holds a Master of Arts in Psychology from Carleton University in Ottawa, Robin started her career directly after completing her bachelor’s degree. She returned to school as a mature student for her master’s while working full time and raising her family.

“I’ve always loved learning and have accumulated a long list of professional development workshops, courses and certificates over the years including topics such as threat and risk assessment, management, leadership, governance and Indigenous history, and truth and reconciliation,” she said.

Robin grew up in Eastern Ontario on a small farm in a rural community as the youngest of five children. She and her husband of 29 years moved to Cranbrook in 2019. Their entire family loves the outdoor lifestyle and beautiful nature in the region and their two adult sons come to visit and enjoy it every chance they get. Dixie, their pup, is also a constant companion on their adventures.

When asked about the best part of being a VP, Robin replied:

“Well, not the report writing – sigh!  But seriously, I take the privilege of this position seriously and feel the weight of responsibility to make every day count for the benefit of students. The best part of the job is seeing our students succeed in their goals.  As VP who oversees academic programs and student services, I strive for continuous improvement in our programs and services to support students as they choose us and put their trust in us to deliver education that will set them up for a bright future filled with opportunities to pursue their passions and dreams.  I believe in the power of education to change lives and communities and it’s my privilege to serve the public in this position.”

Robin also enjoys hearing directly from students.

“Feedback from students is critical to ensure we are meeting their needs effectively and providing them with a positive experience and quality education.  I recently led the refresh of our College policy that invites student feedback and ensures the institution responds appropriately to it.  Over the past two years, our team has also implemented a formal survey for student feedback on their experiences and we are using this data to inform our decisions about programs and services.”

Looking back on her own educational experiences, Robin passes along something she wished she had realized as a student, “I always worked hard and took by studies seriously, which is obviously a good thing. However, looking back, I wish I wasn’t so worried about grades and instead took more opportunities to get involved in activities outside of classes.

“College is a very special time in life that isn’t readily replicated in other settings or experiences.  It should be a time to make lifelong friends, try new things where it’s safe to fail and try again, explore ideas, get involved in activities, have fun, and find your true passions.  Of course, you should also work hard and do your homework!”