Kwantlen Polytechnic University

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Kwantlen Polytechnic University
Kwantlen Polytechnic University CoA.svg
MottoThrough Tireless Effort, Knowledge, and Understanding
Established1981; 41 years ago (1981)
ChairpersonHanne Madsen
ChancellorKim Baird[2]
PresidentAlan Davis[3]
ProvostDiane Purvey (pro tem)
Academic staff
Location, ,

49°07′59″N 122°52′16″W / 49.133°N 122.871°W / 49.133; -122.871
CampusUrban, 92.988 acres (0.376 km²) net
Colours  Rich Burgundy
AffiliationsAUCC, IAU, CICan, ACU, CBIE, CUP
Kwantlen Polytechnic University (logo).png

Kwantlen Polytechnic University (commonly abbreviated to KPU) is a public degree-granting undergraduate polytechnic university in British Columbia, Canada, with campuses in Surrey, Richmond, Cloverdale, Whalley, and Langley. KPU is one of the largest institutions by enrolment in British Columbia with a total of 20,000 students and 1,400 faculty members across its five locations, encompassing the Metro Vancouver district. KPU provides undergraduate and vocational education including bachelor's degrees, associate degrees, diplomas, certificates, apprenticeships, and citations in more than 140 diverse programs.

The school operates largely as an undergraduate polytechnic university, but also serves as a vocational school offering apprenticeships for skilled trades. as well as diplomas in vocational education for skilled technicians and workers in support roles in professions such as engineering, accountancy, business administration, nursing, medicine, architecture, and criminology.

Kwantlen Polytechnic was founded as Kwantlen College in 1981; as a response to the growing need for expanded vocational training across the Fraser Valley. In 1995, it became a university college.[4] In 2008, the provincial government announced its intention to amend the University Act to appoint Kwantlen University College a polytechnic university. The legislation renaming the university college to university received royal assent on May 29, 2008, and KPU began operation as Kwantlen Polytechnic University on September 1, 2008.[5][6][7]

KPU became a member of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC) on October 24, 2008.[8] Also in affiliation with KPU include: the International Association of Universities (IAU), the Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan), the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU), the Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE), and the Canadian University Press (CUP).

The Globe and Mail Canadian University Report ranked KPU among the top post-secondary institutions in terms of enrollment across Canada, earning numerous grades in the A-to-B range in categories such as quality of teaching and learning, career preparation, student satisfaction and information technology.[9] Published in Maclean's magazine, the National Survey of Student Engagement also listed KPU among the top Canadian institutions in terms of student participation, educational practices, and quality of education.[10]



Kwantlen College was formed in 1981 by separation from Douglas College. There were more than 200 suggestions in a contest to name the new South Fraser region college. The winning entry "Kwantlen" was submitted by Stan McKinnon. "Kwantlen" comes from the name of the Kwantlen First Nation in whose traditional territory the university is located. Chief Joe Gabriel of the Kwantlen First Nation gave permission for the college to use the Kwantlen name.[11][12]

Following a provincial government initiative designed to increase access to degree programs in British Columbia that began in 1988, five community colleges were granted authority to offer baccalaureate degrees. These five institutions— Cariboo, Fraser Valley, Kwantlen, Malaspina, and Okanagan—were renamed university colleges. Initially, they offered degrees under the aegis of one or more of the three provincial universities. In 1995, they were awarded the authority to offer degrees in their own right. [13] Also in 1995, the province of British Columbia enacted legislation changing the institution's name to Kwantlen University College.[14]

Expansion and growth[edit]

Transition to University[edit]

Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Surrey Campus, Main building (exterior)

In 2005, Kwantlen University College began a campaign to convince elected officials at the municipal and provincial levels, and various key community leaders, to support its efforts to become a university. Removing "college" from its official name would require approval from the government of British Columbia. In its case for the university status, Kwantlen's administrators claimed the change to Kwantlen University would:

  • Enhance Kwantlen's ability to help British Columbia become the best educated, most literate jurisdiction in North America; and
  • Bring multiple benefits to the fastest growing region in BC and help BC achieve long-term growth and prosperity.[15]

In 2007, Murray Coell, Minister of Advanced Education and Minister responsible for Research and Technology was joined by special advisor Geoff Plant, to release the Campus 2020 report that recommends Kwantlen University College become Kwantlen University.[16]

On April 22, 2008, British Columbia Premier Gordon Campbell announced that Kwantlen would become Kwantlen Polytechnic University.[17] On April 22, 2008, the provincial government announced its intention to amend the University Act to make Kwantlen a polytechnic university, in recognition of its "versatility in providing academic, trades and horticultural training."[5] The legislation renaming the University College to University received royal assent on May 29, 2008.[6]

By 2017 the university agreed to lease space for a private high school intended to teach Mainland Chinese citizens intending to enter Western university systems.[18]

AUCC membership[edit]

On October 24, 2008, KPU became a member of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC).[8]

Although the AUCC is not an official government accreditation body, its standardized membership benchmarks and requirements for members serves to ease a student's ability to transfer from undergraduate to graduate programs across Canada and the world.


KPU campuses are all in British Columbia's Lower Mainland. They are located in:

KPU Tech (Cloverdale)[edit]

KPU Tech, formerly known as KPU Cloverdale is the second newest of the five KPU campuses, opening in April 2007. The new Cloverdale campus replaced the aging Newton campus facilities which had served as the home for trades training since Kwantlen's inception. The new Cloverdale building is certified as an LEED Gold building and houses KPU's Trades & Technology programs, which include appliance servicing, automotive servicing, carpentry, farrier science, masonry, parts and warehousing, welding, plumbing, and CADD technologies.[19]

KPU Langley[edit]

The Langley campus is home to the university’s School of Horticulture - which includes a field lab, greenhouses, and gardens. The Langley campus was also home to KPU's music programs and included performance spaces and an auditorium. KPU Langley also offers science programs, and has biology, brewing, chemistry, physics, and geology labs with industry-standard equipment.[20]

KPU Richmond[edit]

KPU Richmond was KPU’s first official campus, established in 1981 when the institution split from Douglas College. In 2018, the campus underwent major renovations with the addition of the Chip & Shannon Wilson School of Design. The campus is currently home to KPU's Fashion and Design programs, as well as many art and business courses, among others.[21] In January 2018, the new Wilson School of Design facility officially opened its doors beside the KPU Richmond campus. This includes teaching studios and labs, gallery space and 3D printers.[22]

KPU Surrey[edit]

KPU Surrey, often called the main campus, is the largest of the five campuses and offers a range of courses across multiple faculties. It is the primary location for the university’s School of Business and Office of the President. All KPU Sport + Recreation operate out of Surrey, where the university’s gymnasium and fitness centre, along with many recreational facilities, are located.[23]

KPU Civic Plaza[edit]

KPU Civic Plaza, the newest and smallest campus at KPU, opened in Spring 2019 in 3 Civic Plaza, a new skyscraper in the city centre. The campus occupies 5 of the lower floors of the building. It was designed to focus towards post-baccalaureate education for mature students as well as business education. The campus was expected to open in early 2016, but was consistently delayed due to construction issues with the skyscraper.[24][25]


KPU has over 140 different programs across seven distinct faculties — Academic and Career Preparation, Arts, Business, Design, Health, Science and Horticulture, and Trades and Technology — where students can pursue a degree, diploma, certificate, citation, or work towards completing an apprenticeship.

Organic Farmer Training[edit]

KPU operates two farms that offer "Farm School" training as a non-credit continuing education program.[26] These schools, located in Richmond and Tsawwassen, teach students applied sustainable farming practices and include a farm incubator program for alumni.


KPU has a library on all of its campuses, with the exception of Civic Centre. The largest library is on the Surrey campus with smaller program focused collections available in Richmond, Langley, and Cloverdale. KPU students and faculty have access to millions of items through the library, including online journal and newspaper articles, print and ebooks, streaming media and more. Items from other parts of Canada and around the globe can also be accessed through the library's free interlibrary loans service.[27]

Student enrolment[edit]

KPU has an enrolment of more than 20,000 students annually and over 12,000 FTE (full-time equivalency) students annually.[28] KPU's region (Richmond, Delta, Surrey, White Rock and Langley) has a population of over 800,000.[29]

Faculty and employees[edit]

As of Fall 2016, Faculty and staff employees number over 1,400.[28] While some faculty are also involved in research, their primary role is undergraduate education. KPU was named a BC Top 50 employer for the tenth consecutive year in 2017.[30] KPU has repeatedly been named one of BC’s Top Employers, most recently in 2021.

Cooperative education[edit]

KPU offers cooperative education in several degree programs including Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Business Administration, Bachelor of Technology as well as diploma programs.[31] Such programs include dedicated work-placement semesters that match their field of study, in addition to regular studies.

Program transferability[edit]

KPU offers many transferable courses to other educational institutions, which often lead to direct transfers into second-year or third-year studies at other post secondary institutions. To aid in this, KPU is a part of the BC Transfer Guide Website, an online resource for planning and understanding transfer in the BC post-secondary education system.

New program development[edit]

Additional major and minor programs and specialized courses are currently under development. KPU will be the first public, post-secondary institution in British Columbia to offer studies in Traditional Chinese Medicine.[32] KPU's Faculty of Arts has also launched two new program offerings; a minor in language and culture, and a major in applied geography.[33] In 2016, KPU launched an introductory bhangra course.[34] Continuing and Professional Studies launched an online cannabis career training course.[35]

As of 2017, KPU launched a minor in Medicinal Chemistry[36] and a minor in Aboriginal Community Justice.[37] School of Business launched three post-baccalaureate programs in Technical Management and Services, Operations Supply Chain Management, and Accounting.[38]

In September 2018, KPU launched a new Mechatronics and Advanced Manufacturing Technology Diploma program, along with two graduate diplomas in green business management and sustainability, and global business management.

In 2020, the university launched a new graduate certificate in sustainable food systems and security.

Student life[edit]

Kwinten is the mascot for the Kwantlen Eagles athletics program


KPU was previously a member of the Pacific Western Athletic Association (or PacWest) which is affiliated with the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association. The University had six varsity teams competing in four sports (Men's & Women's Soccer, Men's & Women's Basketball, Badminton, and Golf).

The Athletic teams, known as the Kwantlen Eagles, were supported by "Kwinten" - the University's mascot.

KPU Athletics has had notable results in the following sports:
Women's Soccer - 2009 & 2010 PacWest Provincial Champions, 2009 CCAA National Bronze medalists
Badminton - 2010 National Women's Doubles Bronze, 2011 National Mixed Doubles Gold, 2012 National Men's Doubles Bronze, 2013 National Men's Doubles Silver.

The Eagles athletics program ceased operations after the 2015-6 academic year.[39]

Sport + Recreation (2016–present)[edit]

KPU Sport + Rec offers fitness centres and studios on all campuses. Free membership to fitness centre is available to all current students, employees, and alumni.[40]

Tournaments, sports leagues, intramurals along with various Lunch & Lawn activities are available through KPU Sport + Rec.[41]

Kwantlen Student Association[edit]

The Kwantlen Student Association (KSA) is an elected student body that contributes to community life, and allocates student funds to social, cultural and entertainment programs for students.[42] The KSA was founded as the Kwantlen College Student Society under the Society Act of British Columbia in August 1981.[43]

Since the early 1980s the KSA has also been affiliated with the klan Canadian Federation of Students as one of its founding members. For a brief period of time in the late 1990s, the KSA was the only Student Association in Canada to have held membership within both the Canadian Federation of Students and the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations at the same time.[citation needed] In March 2008, the Kwantlen Student Association (KSA) organized a referendum to disaffiliate from the CFS. One of the reasons given for disaffiliation was media coverage in 2007, alleging corruption within the Douglas Students' Union of the CFS.[44] The KSA also criticized the financial transparency of CFS-BC and argued that the CFS was ineffective at lobbying for students.[45] As of January 2013, the KSA has been attempting to de-federate from the CFS and has joined the "Alliance of BC Students" as an alternative lobbying body.[46]

At a Special General Meeting held on November 30, 2011, Kwantlen students voted 352 to 0 to remove thirteen directors of the KSA and place them into "bad standing" where they would be unable to run for future office. The vote was held over allegations of conflicts of interest in settling litigation, association with the embezzlement of two million dollars of student funds, and a 40% pay raise to the elected officials on their first day of office among other things.[47][48]


The highest authority within the Kwantlen Student Association lies with the membership (who are the students of Kwantlen Polytechnic University). Membership is mandatory. The membership delegates its authority over the day-to-day operations of the society to an elected Board of Directors (Council), which is bound to operate under a Constitution and a set of Bylaws.[49]


Each year in February KPU students may run for and elect a Council to a one-year term of office that spans April 1 to March 31.[50] The Council is responsible for, and exercises full control over the affairs of the Society while the executive members assist with the management of the day-to-day operations of the society. The Council holds regularly scheduled meetings at least twice each month, excluding the months of July, August and December.[51]

Member services[edit]

The KSA operates a cafe, a fitness centre and a social justice centre on campus. It employs an ombudsperson, distributes day planners, and provides advocacy services as well as funding for campus clubs, events, conferences, and political special interest groups. Through the KSA, students and other members of the Kwantlen community are also eligible for special discounts including bus and train passes, discount movie tickets, and other seasonal offers. Finally, full-time students who do not have comparable coverage elsewhere, are automatically eligible to receive benefits from a health and dental plan.


The organization's main office is located at the Surrey Campus of Kwantlen Polytechnic University. The society also has offices and provides services at KPU's three other campuses in Cloverdale, Langley and Richmond. The KSA does not own a student union building.

The Runner[edit]

The Runner is the institution's independent student newspaper. It is a member of the Canadian University Press.[52] Since early 2009,[53] The Runner has added to Kwantlen student life by providing the community with "a freely distributed, year-round, multi-campus, student-owned, student-run news and campus culture publication".[54]

It receives some of its funds from the Kwantlen Student Association under a levy; however, it is run as separate, autonomous incorporated B.C. non-profit society, Polytechnic Ink Publishing Society (PIPS), with its own Kwantlen student board of directors.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "KPU Foundation 2017 Financial Statement" (PDF).
  2. ^ "About the Chancellor". Kwantlen Polytechnic University. Retrieved December 21, 2020.
  3. ^ "Office of the President". Kwantlen Polytechnic University. Retrieved April 17, 2019.
  4. ^ "Kwantlen's Timeline of Success". Kwantlen Polytechnic University. Retrieved April 17, 2019.
  5. ^ a b "Kwantlen granted full university status". Surrey Now. CanWest MediaWorks Publications Inc. April 22, 2008. Archived from the original on January 1, 2011. Retrieved April 17, 2019.
  6. ^ a b Queen's Printer, Victoria. Votes and Proceedings of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia 4th Session, 38th Parliament, May 29, 2008. Retrieved on: September 6, 2008
  7. ^ "An Overview of B.C.'s Public Post-secondary Institutions". Archived from the original on September 25, 2009. Retrieved August 17, 2017.
  8. ^ a b Pires, David (October 26, 2008). "Kwantlen accepted by national universities association". Kwantlen Chronicle. Archived from the original on March 31, 2009.
  9. ^ "Canadian University Report" (PDF). The Globe and Mail. 2012. Retrieved April 17, 2019.
  10. ^ "National Survey of Student Engagement: A truer measure of quality".
  11. ^ "About Kwantlen Polytechnic University". Kwantlen Polytechnic University. Retrieved August 17, 2017.
  12. ^ "1981 Chronology". Archived from the original on February 24, 2012. Retrieved August 17, 2017.
  13. ^ Fleming, Robert. "University College". The Canadian Encyclopedia. Retrieved April 17, 2019.
  14. ^ "Premier Announces Fraser Valley's First University". Premier of British Columbia and Ministry of Advanced Education. April 21, 2008. Archived from the original on June 3, 2013.
  15. ^ "Kwantlen Polytechnic University". Kwantlen Polytechnic University. Retrieved August 17, 2017.
  16. ^ "Campus 2020: thinking ahead: the report" (PDF). Geoffery P. Plant. Archived from the original (PDF) on September 28, 2007. Retrieved August 19, 2007.
  17. ^ "Province to establish kwantlen polytechnic university". Government of BC. Archived from the original on June 21, 2013. Retrieved April 23, 2008.
  18. ^ Quan, Douglas (April 9, 2017). "Some B.C. universities leasing spaces on their campuses to private Chinese high schools to boost revenue". National Post. Retrieved November 25, 2020.
  19. ^ "Cloverdale Campus". Kwantlen Polytechnic University. Kwantlen Polytechnic University. Retrieved July 19, 2013.
  20. ^ "Langley Campus". Kwantlen Polytechnic University. Kwantlen Polytechnic University. Retrieved July 19, 2013.
  21. ^ "Richmond Campus". Kwantlen Polytechnic University. Kwantlen Polytechnic University. Retrieved July 19, 2013.
  22. ^ Korstrom, Glen (January 3, 2018). "Kwantlen opens $36M Wilson School of Design in Richmond". Richmond News. Retrieved April 15, 2019.
  23. ^ "Surrey Campus". Kwantlen Polytechnic University. Kwantlen Polytechnic University. Retrieved July 19, 2013.
  24. ^ "Kwantlen expands into Surrey's downtown core with KPU Civic Plaza". KPU. June 10, 2014. Retrieved April 6, 2019.
  25. ^ Reid, Amy (October 11, 2018). "New KPU campus in Surrey's City Centre to focus on 'new ways of learning'". Surrey Now-Leader. Retrieved April 6, 2019.
  26. ^ "Farm Schools". Retrieved April 6, 2019.
  27. ^ "About Kwantlen Library". Kwantlen Polytechnic University. Retrieved March 22, 2011.
  28. ^ a b "KPU Facts". Kwantlen Polytechnic University.
  29. ^ "Population and dwelling counts, for Canada, provinces and territories, and census subdivisions (municipalities), 2011 and 2006 censuses". Statistics Canada. Statistics Canada. Retrieved July 19, 2013.
  30. ^ "KPU named a BC top employer". Kwantlen Polytechnic University. Kwantlen Polytechnic University.
  31. ^ "Coop Programs". Kwantlen Polytechnic University. Kwantlen Polytechnic University. Archived from the original on January 30, 2013. Retrieved July 19, 2013.
  32. ^ "KPU to host traditional Chinese medicine school". Archived from the original on January 23, 2015.
  33. ^ "KPU launches two new arts degrees". Archived from the original on January 23, 2015.
  34. ^ "KPU launches post-secondary bhangra course". Kwantlen Polytechnic University. Retrieved June 20, 2018.
  35. ^ "Blazing a business trail in Canada's medical marijuana landscape". Kwantlen Polytechnic University. Retrieved June 20, 2018.
  36. ^ "Drug discovery: KPU offers new medicinal chemistry minor". Kwantlen Polytechnic University. Retrieved August 23, 2017.
  37. ^ "KPU offers new Indigenous community justice minor program". Kwantlen Polytechnic University. Retrieved August 23, 2017.
  38. ^ "School of Business Post Baccalaureate Programs". Kwantlen Polytechnic University. Retrieved June 20, 2018.
  39. ^ Kupchuk, Rick (July 9, 2015). "Varsity athletics axed at Kwantlen". Surrey Now-Leader. Retrieved April 15, 2019.
  40. ^ "Fitness Programs". Retrieved April 15, 2019.
  41. ^ "Sport & Recreation". Kwantlen Polytechnic University. Retrieved August 23, 2017.
  42. ^ "KSA Mission Statement". Kwantlen University College Student Association. Archived from the original on July 1, 2007. Retrieved August 15, 2007.
  43. ^ "Kwantlen College Student Society 1st Annual General Meeting Agenda" (PDF). August 29, 2009. Archived from the original (PDF) on July 6, 2011. Retrieved September 1, 2009.
  44. ^ "CFS Corruption 3" (video). Retrieved October 6, 2007.
  45. ^ "KSA Referendum April 8–10". Kwantlen Students Association. Archived from the original on January 1, 2011.
  46. ^ "KSA joins Alliance of B.C. Students". January 14, 2014. Retrieved April 12, 2014.
  47. ^ O'Connor, Elaine (December 1, 2011). "Pepper spray forces evacuation prior to controversial Kwantlen University meeting". The Province. Postmedia Network Inc. Archived from the original on December 22, 2011.
  48. ^ "Kwantlen students pepper sprayed outside meeting (updated)". Retrieved August 17, 2017.
  49. ^ "Society Act, Part 2 — Changes in Constitution and Bylaws". Queen's Printer, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Archived from the original on December 22, 2008. Retrieved August 19, 2007.
  50. ^ "Article 8: Elections, KSA Bylaws". Kwantlen University College Student Association. Retrieved August 15, 2007.
  51. ^ "Article 12: Meetings Of Council, KSA Bylaws". Kwantlen University College Student Association. Retrieved August 15, 2007.
  52. ^ Canadian University Press | Presse universitaire canadienneMembers | Canadian University Press | Presse universitaire canadienne Archived July 18, 2011, at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved on April 12, 2014.
  53. ^ "Student newspaper scheduled to hit newsstands in January". Archived from the original on December 2, 2008. Retrieved March 2, 2011.
  54. ^ "Kwantlen Student Association" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on July 6, 2011. Retrieved August 17, 2017.

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