University Canada West
||The neutrality of this article is disputed. (April 2015)|
|Parts of this article (those related to ownership and affiliations) are outdated. (May 2015)|
|University Canada West (UCW)|
|Motto||Learning that Fits |
|Location||Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada|
|Colors||Red ‹See Tfm› and White ‹See Tfm›|
University Canada West (UCW) is a private educational institution in British Columbia, Canada. University Canada West is Canada's first for-profit university. Founded in 2005 by David F. Strong, a former president of the University of Victoria, it was purchased in 2008 by the Eminata Group. In 2015, it was acquired by the Global University Systems group. Arthur Coren is currently the president of the university.
As the first private, for-profit university in Canada there is continuing controversy regarding the educational standards and governance University Canada West (UCW) would have to adhere to and whether it would down-grade other universities in Canada and British Columbia.
In addition to fulfilling the provincial charter, a university's membership with the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC) can be considered the de facto accreditation for Canadian universities, but University Canada West is a for-profit university; and therefore, it does not qualify for AUCC membership.
The Canadian Information Centre for International Credentials (CICIC), a unit of the Council of Ministers of Education of Canada (CMEC), identifies University Canada West on their "list of recognized and authorized postsecondary institutions". The CICIC regards itself as “the only authoritative list of all postsecondary institutions (including the AUCC and ACCC) in one web site recognized by the competent jurisdictional authorities.”
The University Canada West MBA is not accredited by the three largest business school accreditation bodies. The three major accrediting bodies are the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), which accredits research universities, the Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP), which accredits universities and colleges, and the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education (IACBE), all of which also accredit schools outside the US. University Canada West is working towards accreditation through ACBSP.
Tuition for a full undergraduate degree program at UCAN is higher than similar programs at public universities due to the fact that it is not publicly subsidized. According to the Student Aid BC website, 30 per cent of UCW students defaulted on their government-backed loans in 2009. That compares with a default rate of 3.7% at the University of British Columbia and 4.7% at the University of Victoria.
As the first private, for-profit university in Canada there is continuing controversy regarding the educational standards and governance University Canada West (UCW) would have to adhere to and whether it would down-grade other universities in Canada and British Columbia. In addition, there is continuing controversy regarding the business aspect of the school. University Canada West was sold in 2008 and is allegedly losing money, in 2011 the Victoria campus was closed.
In 2004, prior to University Canada West's founding, the Canadian Association of Teachers (CAUT) released an issue of the CAUT Bulletin featuring viewpoints of considerable dismay towards the prospect of a private educational institution. Norma Wieland, president of the Confederation of University Faculty Associations of B.C. stated; "A university should offer a wide range of instructional programs backed up by an extensive research mandate, from the information that has been made available to date, David Strong's institution is nowhere close to meeting that goal." The same 2004 article also featured Cindy Oliver, president of the Federation of Post-Secondary Educators of B.C., stating, "The B.C. government's emphasis on allowing the expansion of private universities is a failed vision," and "What we need in B.C. is for the government to commit to high-quality, affordable post-secondary education so that average and low-income students and their families are not disadvantaged. These private universities are notoriously expensive and certainly do not address the access problems for students."
Robert Clift, executive director of the Confederation of University Faculty Associations(CUFA/BC), said, "The fundamental problem here is that it is impossible for the general public to know what they are getting with this institution. The public universities operate in an atmosphere of openness and accountability, but Strong has been able to conceal the details of his plans and yet still get government approval." The article reported earlier in the year Strong was asked about the details of "the internal quality control process for degree programs and how academic governance would be structured," and Strong avoided the question by replying "the information soon would be made available on the UCW web site." In the article, Clift continued remarking, "At this point, it looks like faculty at University Canada West will have no formal authority in academic decision-making. There will be an advisory body, but it appears the final decisions about academic programs will be made by the corporate board of governors...Even though enrollment at these private institutions will be tiny compared to the total enrollment at public degree-granting institutions they have the capacity to generate a lot of ill will for everybody if things go wrong."
In March 2011, the University shut down its Victoria, BC campus for "business reasons". Students were informed by email that they could continue their studies online or transfer to the Vancouver campus. Some students stated that they found it difficult to get their credits transferred to other institutions; they were also unhappy that the university's announcement closing the Victoria campus came immediately after the final day for dropping classes without financial penalty.
In March 2012, The Province reported that dissatisfied students from UCW expressed "disappointment" with their experience at the university to BC Opposition leader Adrian Dix, who in turn called for a closer look at the regulatory bodies responsible for monitoring B.C.’s for-profit schools.
In October 2012, "over 30 students, graduates, faculty and former teachers and employees interviewed by Hindustan Times have alleged that it is a university only in name, and that many of them were duped.".
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