Vancouver Island University

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Vancouver Island University
VIU CoA.jpg
Motto Enjoy the journey, Love where you learn
Established (1969-1988 as Malaspina College);
(1988-2008 as Malaspina University-College);
(September 1, 2008 - Now) Vancouver Island University
Type Public University
Endowment C$60 million[1]
Chancellor Louise Mandell
President Dr. Ralph Nilson
Students 19,780[2]
Undergraduates available
Location Nanaimo, Powell River, Duncan, Parksville-Qualicum Beach, British Columbia, Canada
Colours blue      & green     ;
Nickname Mariners
Affiliations AUCC, Canadian Colleges Athletic Association, CBIE, CUP, WUSC.
VIU logo 1.png

Vancouver Island University (formerly known as Malaspina University-College and before that as Malaspina College) is a Canadian public university serving in Vancouver Island and coastal British Columbia. Established in 1969 as Malaspina College, it has grown into a university that plays an important role in the educational, cultural, and economic life of the region.[3] The main campus is located in Nanaimo, and there are regional campuses in Duncan and Powell River, and a campus centre in Parksville.[4]


VIU Student Service Building

Vancouver Island University was founded in 1969 as Malaspina College, named after Captain Alexandro Malaspina, who explored Vancouver Island. Following a 1988 government initiative designed to increase access to degree programs in British Columbia, five community colleges in BC were granted authority to offer baccalaureate degrees, and these five institutions — Malaspina, Fraser Valley, Kwantlen, Cariboo and Okanagan — were renamed university colleges. Initially, they offered degrees through one of the three provincial universities.

Malaspina College had regional campuses in Nanaimo, Duncan, and Powell River by 1990.[5] In the 1990s several at Malaspina promoted the idea of the institution offering something distinct—interdisciplinary Bachelors' degrees in Liberal Studies—and in 1995 the institution was awarded the authority to offer degrees in its own right.[6] In 1995, the province of British Columbia enacted legislation changing the institution's name to Malaspina University-College and allowing it to begin granting academic degrees and college diplomas.[7] Malaspina University-College's Arms and Badge were registered with the Canadian Heraldic Authority on May 20, 1995.[8]

Malaspina University-College was upgraded to a university under an amendment of the University Act and officially began operation as Vancouver Island University on September 1, 2008.[9]

International students: 817.96 Full Time Equivalent (FTE) 2007-2008.[10]

Vancouver Island University's first president was Dr. Carleton Opgaard. The first chancellor was Shawn Atleo, who in 2009 became the national chief of the Assembly of First Nations.

The university press, The Navigator, is a member of Canadian University Press.

Buildings and facilities[edit]

VIU Student Union Building

Occupying four campuses, VIU has had many renovations and major developments in the past few years to accommodate its growing student body and faculty.

  • Nanaimo Campus
  • Cowichan Campus
  • Parksville·Qualicum Campus
  • Powell River Campus

The main campus located in Nanaimo has 908,500 square feet (84,400 m2) of built space.

At this main campus the most recent facility is a 39,000-square-foot (3,600 m2) Faculty of Management Centre (completed 2006) that is a certified Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design,[11] and a renovated 100,000-square-foot (9,300 m2) library and bookstore (completed 2005) that offers over 230,000 books/journals, online resources, viewing rooms and multimedia computer stations.

The Nanaimo campus is also home to the Richard W. Johnston Centre for International Education,[12] gymnasium and fitness facilities; art and music studios; science and computer labs; research centres; campus career centre; cafeterias; and student centre on 92-acre (37 ha) campus.

Core programs[edit]

VIU Library

Vancouver Island University has four year bachelor's degrees, two year diplomas, and one year certificate programs in a range of areas.

  • Business (M.B.A./M.Sc., post-graduate diploma, Bachelor of Business Administration)
    • With eight streams for students - Accounting, Economics, E-management, Financial Services, Human Resources Management, International Business, Marketing, and Management
  • Tourism and Hospitality
  • Science and Technology (B.Sc.)
  • Art and Design, and Performing Arts
  • Humanities (B.A.)
    • With 17 majors and minors including English, Anthropology, Economics, History, Global Studies, Media Studies, and Psychology
  • Career/Vocational
  • Health and Human Services Programs including degrees in Social Work, Nursing and Child and Youth Care

In addition, VIU also offers English language certificate programs for English-as-a-second-language (ESL) students.

International programs[edit]

Vancouver Island University offers exchange programs that allow students to study for one or two semesters overseas while remaining registered at Vancouver Island University. Current partner institutions are located in Australia, England, Finland, France, Japan, Korea, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, and the USA. Vancouver Island University also offers short-term study abroad options in some program areas; destination countries include Belgium, Belize, the Cook Islands, Indonesia, Italy, USA (New York), Tanzania, Korea, France, and Spain. Additionally, Vancouver Island University supports field schools, co-ops, practicum placements and development projects, has sister-school agreements with Japan, Korea and Thailand and educational alliances with schools in Taiwan, China, Mexico, India and Turkey.[4]

Master of Business Administration (MBA) program[edit]

VIU Faculty of Management Building

VIU’s Faculty of Management offers graduate business programs that appeal to recent graduates and those individuals who require higher education for career advancement or specialized training.[13] VIU School of Business is one of the three Canadian business schools that have been internationally accredited by ACBSP. .[14]

VIU offers a post-graduate program of Master of Business Administration (MBA) and Master of Science in International Management (MSc) jointly with the University of Hertfordshire in the UK.[15] The 2007-08 class enrolled 102 students out of 280 applicants from all over the world, including: Brazil, Canada, China, Egypt, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kuwait, Malaysia, Mexico, Morocco, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Russia, Taiwan, Trinidad and Tobago, and Turkey.[16]

In 2015, the Vancouver Island University MBA Society hosted the first ever BC MBA Games. The competition was influenced by the national MBA Games and was attended by VIU earlier in the year. MBA students from across British Columbia competed in a range of intensive activities ranging from sports, case competitions and team spirit events. The event was attended by 110 MBA students from Vancouver Island University, Sauder School of Business, Peter B. Gustavson School of Business, Beedie School of Business and Thompson Rivers University.[17] The event's theme to raise funds for families living with autism generated a total of $10,138 which was donated to the Canucks Autism Network and the Autism Society of British Columbia.[18] The event ended with Vancouver Island University emerging as the winner of both the BC MBA Games Cup and the Mann Cup.

Aboriginal involvement[edit]

VIU developed governing board and senate policies as well as aboriginal governed councils within the university structure. Aboriginal elders are present on campus at VIU to provide social supports. VIU has developed an Aboriginal Shellfish Aquaculture Training Program to meet specific needs within aboriginal communities.[19] VIU also offers a bachelor's degree in First Nations Studies. The B.A. Major and Minor in First Nations Studies are products of a collaboration between Vancouver Island University and the First Nations of Vancouver Island and Coastal British Columbia. Their purpose is to provide comprehensive, high-quality education respectful of the cultures of Aboriginal peoples, while meeting their diverse needs. The Child and Youth Care Diploma Program based at the Cowichan Campus (Duncan) works with Elders and Firsts Nations leaders from the Coast Salish tradition to prepare graduates to work with children, youth, families and communities in a manner that is described as bi-cultural. The Child and Youth Care Degree program offers an Aboriginal child welfare focus which explores and supports both Aboriginal and non Aboriginal students to work with Aboriginal families and communities.


See also[edit]


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 49°09′27″N 123°58′01″W / 49.15759°N 123.96696°W / 49.15759; -123.96696