University Canada West

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Coordinates: 48°26′14.61″N 123°21′34.66″W / 48.4373917°N 123.3596278°W / 48.4373917; -123.3596278

University Canada West (UCW)[1]
Motto Learning that Fits [2]
Established 2005
Type Private for-profit
Chairman Skip Triplett[3]
Chancellor John Winter[4]
President Arthur Coren
Location Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Campus Urban
Colors Red ‹See Tfm›     and White ‹See Tfm›    [5]
Affiliations AAC&U, IAU
University Canada West Logo.png

University Canada West (UCW) is a private educational institution[6] 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.[7][8][9] In 2015, it was acquired by the Global University Systems group.[citation needed] 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.


Canada has no national Educational accreditation system.[10] The British Columbia Ministry of Advanced Education, oversees University Canada West.

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.[11][12]

The Canadian Information Centre for International Credentials (CICIC), a unit of the Council of Ministers of Education of Canada (CMEC),[13] 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.”[14]

University Canada West has been approved by the British Columbia Education Quality Assurance program[15] as well as the Degree Quality Assessment Board of British Columbia.[16]

The University Canada West MBA is not accredited by the three largest business school accreditation bodies.[17] 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.[18]


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.[19]


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.[20] 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.[21][21][22][23]

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."[20] 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."[23]

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."[23] 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."[20]

In 2009, Vancouver Sun reported that University Canada West has been losing $300,000 per month and was sold by David Strong to Eminata Group, who owns small colleges in Vancouver.[9][22]

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.[19] 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.[24]

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.[25]

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.".[26]


  1. ^ "UCW Abbreviation". UCW Abbreviation. Retrieved 1 April 2014. 
  2. ^ "UCW Motto". Retrieved 1 April 2014. 
  3. ^ Sun, Sep 8, 2013, 3:35 AM EDT – U.S. Markets closed (2012-11-13). "Dr. Skip Triplett Elected Chair of Board of Governance at University Canada West – Yahoo! Finance". Retrieved 2013-09-08. 
  4. ^ "First Chancellor Appointed at University Canada West" (PDF). Retrieved 2011-03-29. 
  5. ^ "University Color Scheme". University Canada West. UCW. Retrieved 1 April 2014. 
  6. ^ "Former UVic President Forms Private University". Retrieved 2011-03-29. 
  7. ^ "University Division". Retrieved 2011-03-29. 
  8. ^ "Founder replaced at University Canada West". 2009-12-09. Retrieved 2011-03-29. 
  9. ^ a b "B.C. university teetering on bankruptcy has been sold". 2008-11-23. Retrieved 2011-03-29. 
  10. ^ "CICIC > Fact Sheet No 5". Retrieved 2011-03-29. 
  11. ^ "Degree Accreditation in Canada" (PDF). Retrieved 2011-03-29. 
  12. ^ "Information on how to become a member of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada". 2009-12-03. Retrieved 2011-03-29. 
  13. ^ "Canadian Information Centre for International Credential – Centre d'information Canadien sur les diplômes internationaux". Retrieved 2011-03-29. 
  14. ^ "Directory of Universities, Colleges and Schools in Canada - University Canada West". CICDI. Retrieved 4 Apr 2014. 
  15. ^ "Registry of EQA Institutions | BC – Education Quality Assurance". Retrieved 2011-03-29. 
  16. ^ "Degree Quality Assessment Board" (PDF). Retrieved 2011-03-29. 
  17. ^ "AACSB Business and Accounting Accreditation". Retrieved 2011-03-29. 
  18. ^ "University Canada West (Profile Pages)". ACBSP. 12 March 2014. Retrieved 3 Apr 2014. 
  19. ^ a b Posted: Mar 14, 2011 9:52 PM ET (2011-03-22). "CBC News – The National – Go Public – Students derailed by private university". Retrieved 2011-03-29. 
  20. ^ a b c "B.C. Accepts Private University". 2004-01-09. Retrieved 2011-03-29. 
  21. ^ a b "Private university leaves students out – – Macleans OnCampus". 2011-03-15. Retrieved 2011-03-29. 
  22. ^ a b JSteffenhagen (2008-11-23). "Private B.C. university sold – Report Card". Retrieved 2011-03-29. 
  23. ^ a b c "B.C. Accepts Private University". 2004-01-09. Retrieved 2011-03-29. 
  24. ^ "Students derailed by private university". CBC News. 2011-03-22. 
  25. ^ "Global News | Latest & Current News – Weather, Sports & Health News". Retrieved 2013-09-08. 
  26. ^ "Bogus varsities prey on Indian students". Hindustan Times. October 14, 2012. Retrieved 2012-10-17. 

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