Quality and Productivity Database

Descriptive Title of Proposal: “The Organizational Resilience Advantage at Royal Roads University” - Creation of the Royal Roads University “Resilience Team”, realigning university operations with enterprise initiatives and optimizing the value of integrating sustainability and enterprise risk management
Year Submitted 2019
Person(s) Responsible for the Idea
Name / Nom Title / Titre
Cheryl Eason Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, and lead of the Enterprise Services Portfolio
Name of Institution Royal Roads University
Office Address 2005 Sooke Road
Victoria, British Columbia V9B 5Y2
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Telephone: 250-391-2531
Email Address: Email hidden; Javascript is required.
Name (Senior Administrative Office of the Institution) Carolyn Levesque for Cheryl Eason
Title (Senior Administrative Office of the Institution) Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
Office Address 2005 Sooke Road
Victoria, British Columbia V9B 5Y2
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Telephone: 250-391-2531
Email Address: Email hidden; Javascript is required.

At Royal Roads University, we are leaders and partners creating an enduring prosperity.  Our teaching and research transforms careers and lives by solving problems and creating opportunities in the world.

Positioning for success and ensuring that the organization is fully aligned to achieve its mission, meeting growth and diversification goals, in April 2018 Royal Roads University took the first step towards creating a Resilience Team within the Enterprise Services Portfolio.

The realignment goal has been to combine and optimize the value of sustainability[1] and enterprise risk management, and align these priorities with the capital program and campus operations.  Having the ability to integrate initiatives with risk and sustainability priorities and promote increased coordination and collaboration throughout the enterprise is core to this change.  The university is committed to being a leader for the sustainable stewardship of the historic Royal Roads lands through building and operating activities that balance social, economic, environmental and institutional considerations.  The university has been a leader in sustainability, lowering its carbon footprint over the last 24 years; at the same time continuing to support a growing and diverse academic program and student population.  The university has made a continuous effort through the maturing of its enterprise risk framework to manage resources and prepare the organization to mitigate risk and take advantage of emerging opportunities.

Since being created as a public institution in 1995, the university has undertaken many initiatives to reduce its environmental footprint and manage risk, however, prior to April 2018, the sustainability program operated independently from the other programs which created gaps between the coordination and priority-setting across the enterprise and underscored the imperative for integration.  We believe by integrating the sustainability function with the evolving enterprise risk management framework and capital program, the relevance and long-term impact of these programs will be enhanced, while positioning the university to be a more resilient organization.  The overall goal of the realignment is illustrated by the following emergent resilience framework (see photo in the attached supporting document).



[1] Defined in the Brundtland report as development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

Criteria Please submit one paragraph describing how the proposal fulfills each of the evaluation criteria.

The following three elements of Royal Roads University’s experience can be transferred to other institutions:

  • First, formation of the new Operations and Resilience Portfolio incorporates campus operations, sustainability, capital program, enterprise risk management and within the enterprise risk management framework, emergency planning and preparedness.  The line of sight to a more effective coordination and collaboration of these functions and the resources dedicated to their delivery would be beneficial in any organization, private or public sector.
  • The second element involves having strong leadership.  The integrated Operations and Resilience Portfolio is overseen by the Vice President and Chief Financial Officer.  With responsibilities for the financial sustainability of the university, the CFO’s work links directly to the university’s overall strategy, policy and decision-making processes across the enterprise, including analyses and measurement to ensure that the enterprise delivers on its long-term commitments.  Executive leadership and oversight positions this type of alignment for success in all organizations.
  • Finally, improving business processes, developing tools and resources that identify, evaluate and manage risks, while planning and implementing sustainable practices in all decision-making processes is foundational.  This work contributes to sustainable organizational resilience by enhancing the performance of the institution at an enterprise level.  In the 21st century, continuous business improvements are essential in all sectors.

At Royal Roads the principles supporting the Operations and Resilience Portfolio are being brought to life through the integration of facility accessibility assessments and a campus-wide energy audit with both a recalibration of the organizational risk framework and updates to the capital plan.  Furthermore, development and implementation of a prioritization model that supports capital and routine maintenance estimates ensures alignment with the strategic and overarching budget planning processes.  The outcome of this effort ensures the resources necessary to support enterprise initiatives are available.  Within the first year, risk associated with inefficiencies or the evidence of gaps that previously resulted from a lack of collaboration, is being mitigated and the team is advancing with one common, shared vision in its planning and implementation efforts.

Quality Impact

Integrating sustainability with enterprise risk management will lead to a number of benefits for the university.  First and foremost, resilience is not being used to replace sustainability.  Instead, Royal Roads University is using resiliency to complement sustainability, which will help strengthen the university’s ability to react and respond to ongoing changes that are unpredictable and complex.  By linking resilience and sustainability, the university is positioned to recover from or even take advantage of disruptions (e.g. effects of climate change, the impact of global socio-economic changes, etc.) by implementing sustainable practices for the prevention or mitigation of such disruptions.

In addition, the integration of sustainability and resilience will lead to a coordinated and collaborative approach to plans and actions supporting institutional initiatives, raise the profile of sustainability through all channels (internally and externally), and increase organizational maturity to create a more resilient university. 

Overall, Royal Roads University will not only have the capacity to recover from immediate disruptions and maintain the high-level of operational support required to meet its academic mandate, but also the ability to adapt, which will allow the university to increase efficiency and manage the overall footprint of its operations in a more sustainable and resilient manner.

Productivity Impact

As we are in the first full fiscal cycle of implementation, it is premature to quantify specific cost reductions related to this new organizational realignment.  However, it is estimated this new approach will achieve the objectives of enhancing organizational performance, creating greater clarity in decision-making, raising risk awareness across the organization while promoting collaboration between individual employees and business units, and realizing improved efficiencies of valuable and limited resources.

It is felt by optimizing the university’s investment in sustainability within the new portfolio will more broadly contribute to a stronger enterprise risk management program and lead to better outcomes for Royal Roads University.  Assessment of the 2018/19 fiscal year-end results will provide the first opportunity for a comprehensive and critical analysis of the productivity impact of the creation of the Operations and Resilience Portfolio.


The innovative approach to the creation of an Operations and Resilience Portfolio and the integration of sustainability and enterprise risk management represents a turning point in the maturity and growth of the university.  One of the outcomes of this alignment is the advancement of campus organizational resilience initiatives through the coordination and collaboration of the university’s collective knowledge, skills and expertise.  Leveraging the university’s leadership and profile in sustainability with the risk management framework, as well as both campus operations and the capital program, this new structure positions the organization to carefully manage the complex factors that inform the university’s strategic decisions.

Equally important, this initiative is innovative through the linkages between sustainability goals and enterprise priorities.  Operating within a post-secondary environment that is constantly managing and responding to change, the pairing of enterprise risk management and sustainability will ensure the immediate and long-term resilience of the university.  Strengthened resilience will allow the university to better manage volatility, be more adaptive, proactive and responsive, and recover from complex or unpredictable changes through the implementation of sustainable measures and practices.  The link between resilience and sustainability offers a guiding principle that can shape the university’s thinking, planning and actions in ways that allow it to be flexible and responsive to whatever changes may occur in the long term.

At Royal Roads University innovation is encouraged. This portfolio integration is a sign of a maturing organization and represents the value of aligning with emerging best practice in this area across the country.

Supporting Documents Resilience-Framework.docx