|Quest University Canada|
|Motto||Intimate, integrated, international.|
|Chancellor||Dr. Daniel R. Birch|
|President||Dr. David Helfand|
|Location||Squamish, British Columbia, Canada|
|Campus||24.3-hectare (60-acre) site|
|Colours||Green , silver , and white|
|Website||Quest University Canada|
Quest University Canada is a private non-profit liberal arts and sciences university in Squamish, British Columbia, Canada. The university opened in September 2007 with an enrollment of 74 students; its current enrollment is 540. Quest University is located on a 60-acre (24.3 ha) hill-top campus on the edge of Garibaldi Provincial Park. It is approximately 73 km (45 miles) from Vancouver and 57 km (35 miles) from Whistler. Quest University is approved by the Degree Quality Assessment Board (DQAB) under the British Columbia Ministry of Advanced Education. Quest University Canada is registered as a British Columbia Education Quality Assurance (EQA) approved post-secondary institution. (EQA is a quality assurance designation that identifies BC public and private post-secondary institutions that have met or exceeded provincial government recognized quality assurance standards and offer consumer protection.)
Quest University Canada is a private, secular, non-profit liberal arts and sciences university in Squamish, British Columbia, Canada. It was created as "Sea to Sky University" on May 29, 2002, by the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia's passage of the Sea to Sky University Act, which had been introduced as a private member's bill by MLA Ralph Sultan. The act's aim was to create a university that would "offer a rigorous and well-rounded university education in the arts and sciences with a global focus".
The university was the brainchild of David Strangway, OC, FRSC, who, after his retirement as president of the University of British Columbia, had begun to explore the possibility of creating a four-year, residential, liberal arts institution in Canada. Strangway wanted to create a university "where the student-teacher ratio was better than the Canadian national average of 30 to one, and where students could get a general arts and sciences curriculum that focused not on specific disciplines, but rather how those disciplines operated within the world at large."
A 240-acre (97 ha) parcel of clear-cut land was purchased in the Garibaldi Highlands neighborhood of Squamish, BC; the central 60 acres (24.3 ha) was designated as the campus, with the surrounding lands zoned for housing development. The fledgling university received grants from the J.W. McConnell Foundation, R. Howard Webster Foundation, and the Stewart and Marilyn Blusson Foundation, which enabled the university to begin construction on its campus and hire staff. In October 2005, the university changed its name to Quest University Canada.
The first administrative staff and faculty were hired in 2006, and began developing a curriculum and institutional policies that would shape a university that was "intimate, integrated, and international". On August 29, 2007, Quest University Canada held its opening convocation for its first 74 students, who were from four Canadian provinces, seven U.S. states, and eleven countries outside North America.
Over the next year, the university underwent a number of administrative changes. David Strangway stepped aside as president and was named chancellor; he was replaced as president by Thomas L. Wood, who had previously served for 14 years as president of Mount Royal College and three years as Quest's chief academic officer. Less than a year later, Wood was replaced by an interim president, Dean Duperron. Duperron's appointment was the result of a proposed alliance with CIBT Education Group, but, within a month, the alliance was dissolved. The board invited Professor David Helfand, chair of the astronomy department at Columbia University in New York and a visiting tutor at Quest since 2007, to serve as interim president.
Helfand has overseen the expansion of Quest University Canada, which has grown to 525 students as it begins its seventh academic year. There are now 40 full-time faculty. The faculty come from Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, China, and Switzerland. In addition, there are three additional academic staff working directly with students and a total support staff of 45. Visiting tutors have included faculty and researchers from the Universities of McMaster, Dalhousie, Toronto, Ottawa, and British Columbia and the Canadian Center for Human Health, as well as from Harvard, Princeton, Columbia, Stanford, Yale, Caltech and Colorado College in the United States and the Open University in the United Kingdom.
On April 30, 2011, Quest University Canada graduated its first class, bestowing the degree of Bachelor of Arts and Sciences on 49 students.
Quest's approach to academics is rooted in the liberal arts tradition, emphasizing breadth as well as depth. Quest offers one degree: a Bachelor of Arts and Sciences. During the first half of the program, students are required to take 16 "Foundation" courses, which are distributed among five broad disciplinary areas: the Humanities, the Life Sciences, the Physical Sciences, Mathematics, and the Social Sciences.
The second half of the program is devoted to a "Concentration" program. With the help of a faculty advisor, all students design their own program of concentration studies according to an interdisciplinary question or topic of research. Each student's Individual Concentration Program consists of four principal elements:
- a statement of the Question;
- a course plan;
- a list of related readings; and
- a Keystone project.
The Concentration Program may also include experiential learning components such as a semester abroad, leadership training, service learning, or an internship.
Courses at Quest are limited to a maximum of 20 students. Students at Quest study on the block plan, taking one course at a time, each for 3 ½ weeks. There are four blocks per semester; full-time students take eight blocks per year.
Quest provides a rigorous and challenging education. In the 2010 National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), Quest University Canada was ranked highest among Canadian universities on five key criteria: academic challenge, student-faculty interaction, supportive campus environment, active and collaborative learning, and enriching educational experience. The Vancouver Sun reported that the NSSE report "found Quest students more satisfied with their educational experience than students at any of the other 52 participating Canadian universities."
In 2007 Quest introduced women's and men's varsity basketball teams, followed by women's and men's soccer in 2008. The program's team name is the Kermode, a uniquely colored black bear native to certain regions of BC. The program currently competes in the British Columbia Colleges Athletic Association.
Martina Franko, a Canadian women's national soccer team player and a member of the Canadian Olympic team that competed in Beijing 2008, joined Quest as the varsity women's soccer head coach in January 2008. The women's soccer program became the first Quest playoff team with a trip to provincials in 2010.
Quest's athletic facilities feature a CIS/NCAA-standard basketball gym and a FIFA standard synthetic grass field unique to the Sea to Sky region.
Study abroad/partner institutions
Quest students can apply to study with one of several international exchange partners for one or two academic terms. These partner institutions include the following:
Buildings and features
The campus is built on a pedestrian-friendly 60-acre (24.3 ha) site on a hilltop in Squamish, B.C. It includes academic buildings, a library, a recreation centre, and a dining hall. The campus design includes geo-thermal heating and cooling. The buildings of this phase of development can accommodate up to 650 students at any one time. There are currently five main student residences. All are built as condominiums, and all students are forced to live in residence for the full four years of the undergraduate program.
In the absence of federal or provincial funding, tuition revenue and private donations cover the costs of operating the University. Full-time tuition for the academic years (two semesters/eight blocks) in 2011–2012 is $27,000. Average full-time tuition for Canadian universities in 2010–11 was $5,138. The Vancouver Sun noted, "tuition of $24,000 (2009 Tuition, $26,000) a year might seem high by Canadian standards, but it's a bargain compared with similar schools in the U.S." To lessen the difference between a family's resources and the cost of attending Quest, the University provides scholarships, bursaries, and on-campus employment opportunities.
- , "The student's Quest", Maclean's Magazine, February 24, 2011
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-  "Noble Quest", Maclean's Magazine, November 12, 2008
-  "New Non-Profit University Welcomes First Class", Maclean's Magazine, August 16, 2007
-  "Small University, Big Dream", Globe and Mail, October 31, 2006
-  "Strangway's Quest", Maclean's Magazine, February 27, 2006
- List of universities in British Columbia
- Higher education in British Columbia
- Canadian Interuniversity Sport
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