Tom is one of the founders of Columbia College. He currently serves as President of the College and Chairman of the Board of Directors for Columbia College. Tom was born in southern Alberta. He entered the University of Lethbridge Faculty of Arts and Science in 1970. After learning about special education, Tom transferred to a five year joint B.A., B.Ed. program. In January 1974, Tom moved his family to Calgary. He joined the Calgary Board of Education to take up a special education teaching position and completed his Master’s Degree in Educational Administration in Washington.

Tom and Nola married in March 1980 and in June he was offered a program coordinator position at Mount Royal College. The Snell family (including 5 children) moved to Saskatchewan in 1984 when Tom took on the CEO (President) position of Cypress Hills Community College.

Since starting Columbia College in 1986 Tom completed his Doctor in Higher Education (1995) at Nova Southeastern in Florida. He has also taught management courses at the University of Calgary. Columbia College is now one of the largest private colleges in Alberta. Its graduates consistently achieve some of the highest marks in Canada on national professional exams. The college is positioning itself to offer undergraduate degrees as well as becoming one of Canada’s first multi-cultural institutions.

On October 20, 2011, Dr. Snell received the “Wall of Fame” Award from Myers High School in Taber, his old high school. The award is given to Myers High graduates who have demonstrated outstanding service to the community.Tom is on several provincial committees, is active in community clubs and volunteer work. He works out several times per week. Tom enjoys spending time with his best friend (Nola), family members and when time permits - golfing.

Professional Code of Conduct

Our success in the workplace is based on how proficient we are at utilizing our knowledge and skills and how effectively we conduct ourselves each day as professionals in satisfying the needs of our internal and external customers, and the goals of our organization. The following list describes many professional behaviours that can help us become more effective. The more skilled we become at applying each of these behaviours, regardless of our position in the organization, the more successful we will become.

  1. Professional Approach and Ethical Behaviour
    1. As a professional, demonstrates pride in their work and is honest, moral, ethical, honorable, trustworthy, and acts with integrity
    2. Is pleasant, polite, punctual, positive, friendly, smiles, and asks how they may help others
    3. Is reliable, responsible, accountable, loyal, engaged, and enthusiastic about their work
    4. Is compassionate, caring, and finds meaning and fulfillment in their work
    5. Tries to be constructive, pro-active, and acts as a protagonist
    6. Contributes to a safe, secure, and environmentally-friendly workplace and world
    7. Views adverse experiences as learning opportunities and recovers quickly from such experiences
    8. Keeps personal bias out of the workplace, does not use profanity, and respects cultural differences
    9. Dresses appropriately for the workplace in a neat, clean, and well-groomed manner
    10. Contributes to the organization via volunteering, coaching, and mentoring others
    11. Is active in their professional association (where appropriate)
  2. Interpersonal Relations and Teamwork
    1. Treats all individuals in an equal, fair, and just manner (does not label, or discriminate against others)
    2. Is a good role model and synergistic team member who is personable, sociable, cooperative, collaborative, has a sense of humor, and is well mannered
    3. Is considerate and sensitive to others needs and uses tact and diplomacy when required
    4. Is respectful, courteous, and sincere (does not belittle, intimidate, or insult others)
    5. Views each client, patient, student, customer, and coworker as a valued customer whose needs must be satisfied before they or their organization can succeed
    6. Is available, approachable, and may develop close personal relations (avoids romantic situations)
    7. Offers support, assistance, is flexible, and helps build a positively connected team and organization
    8. . Makes allowances for others mistakes by showing empathy, understanding, and forgiveness
    9. Is open to constructive criticism, and takes responsibility for one’s errors by apologizing, and correcting them
    10. Avoids conflicts of interest and respects others’ workspace and privacy (e.g. FOIP)
    11. Seeks help from others and offers help to others to become more efficient and effective
  3. Self-Concept and Confidence
    1. Projects a positive self-concept and feels internally confident, yet does not dominate interactions
    2. Functions well in ambiguous situations
    3. May assume responsibility and leadership when required yet remains humble and gracious at all times
    4. Demonstrates self-efficiency by following through on commitments in order to achieve outcomes
    5. Considers themselves equal to others and demonstrates such in their interactions
  4. Communication
    1. Demonstrates effective listening, speaking, and writing skills
    2. Helps to keep team members informed of changes in the department and/or organization
    3. Develops more effective ways to improve verbal and non-verbal communication (e.g. tone of voice)
    4. Respects others privacy and confidentiality (does not engage in gossip)
    5. Maintains emotional control and encourages others to do the same
    6. Deals with difficult situations and sensitive issues in a professional manner
    7. Avoids engaging in disagreements and arguments in public. Seeks assistance when necessary.
    8. Follows the organization’s technology use policy
  5. Life-Long Learning and Professional Development
    1. Continues to increase their knowledge and skills to become more competent (e.g. credit courses, workshops, seminars, conferences, professional books, journals)
    2. Shares newly developed approaches based on leading edge research
    3. Monitors changes and makes or recommends needed adjustments
    4. Keeps informed about changes affecting their profession, department, organization, and industry
    5. Acknowledges when they do not know something and seeks to increase their competence
  6. Problem Solving/Decision Making
    1. Either individually or within a team, identifies work-related and customer-based problems/challenges
    2. Helps others to view problems and concerns as challenges and even opportunities
    3. Seeks input from those affected by work-related or customer-based problems
    4. Is more effective when they actually identify the problem as opposed to a symptom
    5. Assesses and analyzes problems by using such techniques as brainstorming, nominal group technique, Delphi technique, reframing, and lateral thinking
    6. Objectively determines the most efficient and effective solution to each problem/challenge
    7. Tries to make fair and just decisions that contribute to the common good
    8. Effectively implements solutions in a timely manner
    9. Monitors and evaluates solutions and takes further corrective action as needed
  7. Creative Thinking and Innovation
    1. Is more creative by asking ‘why’ and more innovative by asking ‘what if’
    2. Takes calculated risks and is willing to recommend and/or initiate change
  8. Negotiating or Conflict Resolution
    1. Identifies customer or employee issues when a conflict first arises by listening to and determining their wants, needs, and concerns.
    2. Effectively uses conflict resolution and problem solving techniques
    3. Effectively negotiates and helps others resolve issues in conflict by focusing on facts and not emotions
    4. Turns to qualified professionals to resolve situations involving harassment, bullying, or violence
  9. Organizational and Time Management Skills
    1. Practices one-touch policy by taking immediate action to solve simpler challenges (e.g. does not put paper, emails, etc. in piles) and develops a plan to take action on more complex challenges
    2. Uses electronic calendar to plan regularly occurring daily, monthly, and yearly meetings and activities
    3. Maintains an organized office, desk, files, documents, and working environment
    4. Is prepared in advance for appointments and meetings (meeting etiquette)
    5. Sets SMART individual and/or team goals by completing assignments, reports, etc. in an accurate and timely manner (does not procrastinate)
    6. Lets others know if they are unable to meet a commitment, must change a priority, or needs help
  10. Stress Management
    1. Maintains composure under pressure and draws on their internal strength to succeed during difficult times
    2. Effectively deals with negative situations in a positive manner
    3. Maintains a balance between personal and professional life
    4. Maintains a positive, focused, and more productive environment by reducing negative stress
  11. Leadership Style
    1. Effectively contributes to the organization’s vision, mission, directions, goals, and Code of Conduct
    2. Encourages others to adopt a positive leadership style (does not use threats or punishment)
    3. Stimulates interest and enthusiasm on the part of others and contributes to positive employee morale
    4. Coaches, advises, mentors, and counsels others where appropriate
    5. Motivates others to achieve their intrinsic and extrinsic rewards through recognition, praise, and where possible through empowerment
    6. Brings out the best in others which helps them channel their energy and experience greater satisfaction
    7. Seeks new opportunities or approaches that will increase customer satisfaction, respect, and loyalty
    8. Networks with others outside the organization and builds relationships that will benefit the organization
    9. Bases leadership practice on collective vision, beliefs, as well as professional attitude and values
    10. Builds a sense of shared values that bind others to a common cause and/or direction
    11. Encourages and promotes a culture based on trust and respect
  12. Performance
    1. Continually seeks new ways to more efficiently and effectively perform their duties and responsibilities which contributes to the financial success of the organization, and as a result, also increases job security
    2. Is committed to continuous improvement in the quality of goods/services their customer/patient/client/student experience
    3. Contributes to the long-term growth and success of the organization by providing such outstanding customer service that current customers refer new customers on an ongoing basis
    4. Firmly believes that only when each internal and external customers succeed, will they succeed