Meet Roger Wheeler, Business Professor

Business Administration professor Roger Wheeler at the top of Machu Picchu
Business Administration Professor Roger Wheeler loves being active, which was a key element of hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.

'So often people underestimate themselves. I love helping students recognize that they actually want – and can truly achieve – more'

Q: What is your education and background?

A: I am a Chartered Professional in Human Resources (CPHR) with bachelor’s degrees in physical and health education, and physics, as well as master’s degrees in science (biomechanics) and business administration.  Prior to teaching here at OC, I worked mostly in the public sector, first in government, then in health care, acting in a variety of consultant, manager and director roles.

Q: What is your area of interest?

A: I am keenly interested in human capital, from both a strategic and a measurement perspective.  I believe that it is incredibly important to identify how and where people in an organization can make a real difference, and to be able to demonstrate that investments in human capital have positive returns.   

Q: When did you know you had found your discipline?

A: I knew I found my discipline when I found myself wanting to learn more, and wanting to contribute beyond what was expected.  My career evolved organically, starting with individual health, then to organizational health, then to business administration, and finally to higher education.  The discipline of human resources allows me to focus on the connection between the performance of people and the performance of business.  I have always been captivated by the amazing things that people can accomplish – for themselves and their organization – when working together effectively.

Q: Why did you choose to work at Okanagan College?

A: I tried teaching as an experiment, and quickly discovered that it was very intrinsically rewarding.  The energy I get from interacting with students on a daily basis, both inside the classroom and during extracurricular activities (e.g., clubs, competitions) is amazing.  The OC School of Business was a very welcoming place when I arrived, and remains so today.  I really appreciate that OC is a smaller school with a big reputation, and the high-performance culture in the School of Business is a great fit for me.    

Q: What do you like most about the work you do?

A: I’d have to say that sharing ideas is what I like most.  Every day is filled with sharing. Whether it is an exchange of ideas with students in the classroom, or colleagues in the office, or professionals in industry, working in higher education comes with the expectation that ideas are frequently generated and freely exchanged.  A new idea, or an old idea used in a new way, is like a breath of fresh air. 

Q: Favourite teaching experience?

A: Although I really enjoy being in the classroom, my favourite teaching moments are when I get to work with students as individuals or in small groups. I have two different types of favourite experiences, both associated with students exceeding expectations.  I coach a lot of business-case competition teams, and helping talented students to achieve peak performance is highly rewarding. The “I actually did it!” looks on their faces when they receive their awards says it all.  My other favourite experience, which is also about exceeding expectations, is helping a diploma student come to the realization that they’ve got the “right stuff” to pursue a degree. So often people underestimate themselves. I love helping students recognize that they actually want – and can truly achieve – more.      

Q: Who gave you the best advice you ever received?

A: Well, if you’re talking about life advice, then I’ll have to credit my mother for simply saying, “Try it.  Either you’ll really love it, or you’ll really hate it.”  As for work advice, I have never forgotten a past supervisor’s no-nonsense instructions for being highly effective: “Be brief, be brilliant, and be gone.”

Q: What advice do you have for new students?

A: Don’t attempt to do it alone! Your post-secondary education isn’t just about the learning outcomes of your courses and program. There is plenty of life to live in post-secondary. Force yourself to step out of your comfort zone. Meet new people, build a network, collaborate. Try new things. Volunteer. Compete. Stretch yourself. And whatever you do, try to have some fun doing it!

Q: Why do you think people should study Business, especially Human Resources?

A: If you’re going to spend a lot of time and money on your education, you might as well ensure that you have plenty of options when you’re done … just in case you discover something along the way that captivates you. I believe that learning about business, and how people can make a difference in business outcomes (human capital), is totally transferable. No matter what it is that you wish to pursue beyond your education, what you learn in business studies will apply in some way.

Q: If you could go back in time, is there anything you would do differently?

A: If I were to travel back in time to the early days of my career, I would be more decisive and act sooner on my interests and passions – spend less time dreaming about what I’d really like to do, and just get moving to make it happen. It took longer than it should have to finally find the perfect fit (teaching). I could have, and should have, discovered it sooner!

Q: Where are you the happiest?

A: Outside, or in a gymnasium … anywhere it is easy to be active. To me, the worst thing ever is needing to sit still for long periods of time. My teenage boys are very active, and I thoroughly enjoy the challenge (and the fun) of keeping up with them!   

Published By College Relations on November 26, 2020

Business education

The Okanagan School of Business provides a career-oriented and innovative approach to education so that learners of various ages, experience levels, and cultures succeed. Our unique business programs have a strong focus on integrating theory and subject-matter knowledge with practical applications through business competitions, community-based course projects and work experiences.

Explore OSB

Human resources studies

People are at the heart of any organization, and Business studies in the Human Resources Management specialty focus on how best to manage and lead others well. Advance your career by gaining specific knowledge in recruitment and selection, training and development, compensation and benefits, employment law, health and safety and strategic planning.

Explore the program options:

The degree in Human Resources from Okanagan College is accredited by Chartered Professionals in Human Resources (CPHR) British Columbia and Yukon. The knowledge and skills you acquire from both programs are practical for any management position. Or, start off with a Business Administration Certificate - Human Resource Specialty and ladder your way up to the diploma and bachelor's degree.