Toran Savjord plans on continuing Paul Dangerfield’s work until the president returns
Justin Scott // Managing Editor
With Capilano University’s President Paul Dangerfield on a medical leave of absence, Vice President Strategic Planning, Assessment and Institutional Effectiveness Toran Savjord has assumed the role of Acting President. Savjord, who is still fairly new to the school having assumed the VP role in August, has plenty of experience in the education system including a tenured position as an Outdoor Recreation (OREC) instructor at CapU 20 years ago.
“I like learning myself,” he said. “I like the experience and the challenge of learning new things.” It’s this passion that originally led Savjord into the education sector. Since then, he has held multiple positions at a variety of educational institutions, eventually finding his way back to CapU.
Having taught at CapU from 1998-2002, Savjord has been involved in the education system for over two decades. “It was a program and is a program that highlights some of the spirit of Cap,” he said of the OREC program. “Great students, a program that really encompasses experiential education as well as problem solving and the root of what I would call education, which is educari, which is ‘to draw out of people.’”
After his first tenure with CapU, Savjord assumed the role, amongst other positions he’s held, as the vice president of operations and development at Squamish’s Quest University from 2004 to 2015. Even though Quest only opened its doors in 2007, Savjord began developing the concept of the institution years before. During his time at Quest he helped start the University and turn it into the respected institution it is today.
A proponent of experiential education, Savjord was able to use his time developing Quest’s educational style and curriculum as a way to learn about different educational styles. “I learned a lot at Quest about what’s out there, what people are trying, pushing the limits, not being afraid to try new things and fail and try new things and succeed as far as what makes a good education,” he said. “So, I’ve just taken all that experience and am trying to bring that to Cap.”
Savjord originally returned to CapU in a VP role, tasked with using information and analytics to help plan for the school’s future. “Paul [Dangerfield] specifically, but the institution was interested in moving Cap forward and making strategic decisions based on collecting information and an evaluation of where we’re at, setting that base line and then looking at where we needed to go and collecting the information about where we needed to go, and making those decisions based on that whole package,” Savjord explained.
Based on his position then, Savjord was the ideal candidate to fill in for Dangerfield as he recovers. And for Savjord, acting president was a position he was honored to step into. “Paul and I had a lot of conversations about where he sees the institution going and before I even took on the job,” he said. Showing commitment to Dangerfield’s vision, Savjord added. “That’s what I’m doing, following where Paul wants to go.”