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)
University Canada West Logo.png
TypePrivate, for-profit
ChairmanAlfred Cosier Morris
ChancellorMitchell Gropper[1]
PresidentBrock Dykeman[2]
Location, ,
OwnerGlobal University Systems
ColorsRed and white

University Canada West (UCW) is a private, for-profit university in British Columbia, Canada. It was founded in 2005 by David F. Strong, the former president of the University of Victoria. UCW was purchased in 2008 by the Eminata Group and in 2014 sold to Global University Systems, its present owners. Based in downtown Vancouver, the university offers undergraduate and graduate programs in business and management.


Initial years (2005 – 2008)[edit]

University Canada West was founded as a for-profit university by David Strong, the former president of the University of Victoria, and a group of investors. It was intended to cater to British Columbian students who had been turned away from the province's public universities as well as the Asian Pacific market and had projected an eventual enrollment of 3000 students.[3] The establishment of the university marked the first time in British Columbia that a for-profit institution had been authorized to use the designation "university," the result of the province's recently enacted, controversial Degree Authorization Act. UCW was approved in 2004 and opened its doors in 2005 in the former Blanshard Elementary School in Victoria, British Columbia. It initially offered undergraduate degrees in commerce, communications, geography, tourism, and economics and a master's degree in business. However, the geography, tourism, and economics programs were later dropped.[4][5][6]

In an effort to expand its program offerings, UCW bought Victoria College of Art in 2006. The intention was to start a Bachelor in Fine Arts degree. However, after the takeover, enrollment at the art college dropped drastically from 150 students to 12.[7][8] The university subsequently withdrew its request to the British Columbia Degree Quality Assessment Board for approval for the new degree.[9] UCW opened a second campus in Vancouver in 2008.[3]

Eminata Group ownership (2008 – 2014)[edit]

In 2008, the university was sold to the Eminata Group. At the time of the sale, it was reported that UCW was teetering on the edge of bankruptcy and struggling to attract students.[10] Faced with declining enrollment at its Victoria campus, the university closed the site in February 2011. At the time of its closure the Victoria campus had only 24 students enrolled in academic degree programs. The announcement of the imminent closure was made one day after the deadline for a tuition refund had passed. The students were given the option of transferring to another college or to UCW's Vancouver campus. However, some students interviewed on CBC News said their preferred college was unwilling to transfer their UCW course credits, and they could not afford moving to Vancouver.[11][6]

In March 2012, a two-part investigative feature in the British Columbian paper The Province reported on student complaints at UCW and two other Canadian colleges owned by Eminata.[12][13] In October of that year, the Hindustan Times published an article reporting on interviews with over 30 students, graduates, faculty and former teachers and employees of UCW who "alleged that it [was] a university only in name, and that many of them were duped." The article noted that the university "vehemently" denied the allegations that the students were misled about the value of UCW degrees saying that it had many students who secured positions in industry and government, both in Canada and abroad. At the time of the article's publication, approximately 90% of UCW's students were from India. Earlier that year, when student complaints about UCW had begun to surface, India's Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University pulled out of a Memorandum of Understanding with UCW to jointly run an MBA exchange programme.[14]

UCW's founder David Strong had been replaced as the university's president in December 2009. He was succeeded by Verna Magee-Shepherd, a former acting president of British Columbia Institute of Technology. Magee-Shepherd resigned in March 2012, and four months later Arthur Coren was named UCW's new president and vice-chancellor. Coren was previously the dean of Kwantlen Polytechnic University's business school.[15][12][16]

Global University Systems ownership (2014 – present)[edit]

Eminata sold University Canada West to the Netherlands-based company Global University Systems in November 2014 at which time it had approximately 400 students enrolled in its in-person and online programs.[17][18] According to a 2017 interview with Coren in The PIE News (an industry publication for the international education sector), the university's enrollment had increased since 2014 with 80% of its students coming from outside Canada.[19] UCW had 52 graduates in the class of 2018. Of these, 23 were from India and the Far East, 10 from Canada, 7 from Africa, 4 from the Middle East, 4 from Europe, and 4 from Central and South America. The majority of the graduates were on the MBA program.[20]

In 2019, Brock Dykeman was named new president of the University.[2]

The London Building, site of the UCW campus


Earlier sited on two floors of an office building on Melville Street in downtown Vancouver, the university relocated in 2014 to the nearby London Building where it occupies five floors. The 10-storey London Building is located at 626 West Pender Street and was originally built in 1912 for the London and British North American Company.[21][22]

University Canada West is set to open a new campus, Vancouver House, in July 2020, which will house 3,400 students.[23]


In line with the bicameral system at many other Canadian universities, the governance structure of UCW is composed of an Academic Council and a Board of Governance.[24] The Board of Governance oversees the strategic direction of the university including its fiduciary, legal and financial responsibilities. It is composed of two members nominated by Global University Systems (the university's owner), the university's president, and a minimum of four members external to both the university and its owner. As of 2018, the Board of Governance was chaired by Alfred Morris. He also serves on the board of directors at two other institutions owned by Global University Systems, Arden University and University of Law.[25][26][27] The Academic Council oversees the university's academic programs and policies. It is composed of representatives from the university's staff, faculty, students and alumni.[28]

Although UCW does not receive public funds, the British Columbia Ministry of Advanced Education requires the institution to file audited financial statements. The institution also undergoes an annual quality review by the Degree Quality Assessment Board.[28]


The university is accredited by the British Columbia Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills & Training, and carries the Education Quality Assurance (EQA) accreditation under the 2003 Degree Authorization Act.[29][30] The University is also a member of the British Columbia Council on Admission & Transfer.[31] In 2017 the university's bachelors and post-graduate business degrees received accreditation by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP).[32][33]

As of 2019 UCW offers a Bachelor of Commerce, a Bachelor of Arts in Business Communication, and an MBA. The mode of study for these degrees is either full-time on campus or part-time online.[34] It also offers an Associate of Arts degree.[35]


  1. ^ Chunn, John (24 August 2017). "Farris senior partner Gropper named chancellor of University Canada West". The Lawyer's Daily. Retrieved 11 December 2018.
  2. ^ a b "President's Message University Canada West".
  3. ^ a b Leclaire, Ryan (3 March 2011). "University Canada West Closes Victoria Campus". Study Magazine. Retrieved 2 September 2015.
  4. ^ CAUT Bulletin (September 2004). "B.C. Accepts Private University". Canadian Association of University Teachers. Retrieved 11 December 2018.
  5. ^ Fisher, Donald; Rubenson, Kjell; Shanahan, Theresa; Trottier, Claude (2014). The Development of Postsecondary Education Systems in Canada: A Comparison between British Columbia, Ontario, and Québec, 1980-2010. p. 72. McGill-Queen's Press. ISBN 0773590439
  6. ^ a b Bell, Jeff (23 February 2011). "University Canada West winds down degree programs at Victoria Campus". Times Colonist. Retrieved 11 December 2018.
  7. ^ Kloster, Darron (4 June 2008). "San Francisco Comes Closer". Times Colonist. Retrieved 5 December 2018.
  8. ^ Litwin, Grania (18 March 2009). "Art School Offers Flexibility". Times Colonist. Retrieved 5 December 2018.
  9. ^ British Columbia Degree Quality Assessment Board (2009). 6th Annual Report, p. 12. Retrieved 5 December 2018.
  10. ^ Litwin, Grania (24 November 2008). "Education tycoon buys University Canada West". Times Colonist. Retrieved 5 December 2018.
  11. ^ Tomlinson, Kathy (15 March 2011). "Students derailed by private university". CBC News, Retrieved 11 December 2018.
  12. ^ a b Olivier, Cassidy (11 March 2012). "For-profit schools hit by complaints. The Province. Retrieved 10 December 2018.
  13. ^ Olivier, Cassidy (12 March 2012). "I never admitted to wrongdoing". The Province. Retrieved 10 December 2018.
  14. ^ "Bogus varsities prey on Indian students". Hindustan Times. October 14, 2012. Retrieved 2012-10-17.
  15. ^ Bell, Jeff (9 December 2009). "Founder replaced at University Canada West". Times Colonist. Retrieved 11 December 2018.
  16. ^ University Canada West (29 July 2012). "Dr. Arthur Coren Appointed President and Vice-Chancellor of University Canada West" (press release). PR Newswire. Retrieved 11 December 2018.
  17. ^ Baker, Amy (Jun 3, 2015). "Global University Systems acquires University of Law". The PIE News. Retrieved August 27, 2015.
  18. ^ Leyne, Les (29 May 2014). "Private university review under scrutiny". The Daily Courier. Retrieved 6 December 2018.
  19. ^ Baker, Amy (10 May 2017). "Arthur Coren, President, University Canada West". The PIE News. Retrieved 5 December 2018.
  20. ^ Fehr, Bradley (19 July 2018). "UCW celebrates 2018 graduating class". University Canada West. Retrieved 31 January 2019.
  21. ^ University Canada West. "Our Campus". Retrieved 24 May 2018.
  22. ^ Windover, Michael (2012). Art Deco: A Mode of Mobility, p. 52. Presses de l'Université du Québec. ISBN 2760535134
  23. ^ "New university campus for 3,400 students to open at Vancouver House". The Daily Hive. 2019-11-19. Retrieved 2020-01-07.
  24. ^ Jones, Glen A.; Shanahan, Theresa; Goyan, Paul (January 2001). "University governance in Canadian higher education" Tertiary Education and Management, Vol. 7, Issue 2, pp. 135–148. Retrieved 11 December 2018 (subscription required).
  25. ^ University Canada West. "Interim Chair". Retrieved 11 December 2018.
  26. ^ Arden University. "Meet Arden University's Board of Directors". Retrieved 11 December 2018.
  27. ^ University of Law. "Structure and Governance". Retrieved 11 December 2018.
  28. ^ a b University Canada West. "Governance at UCW". Retrieved 11 December 2018.
  29. ^ Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills & Training (12 November 2018). Registry of BC EQA-Designated Institutions, p. 9. Retrieved 11 December 2018.
  30. ^ Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills & Training. "Degree Authorization". Retrieved 11 December 2018.
  31. ^ British Columbia Council on Admission & Transfer. "Private Institutions in the BC Transfer System". Retrieved 11 December 2018.
  32. ^ Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs. University Canada West. Retrieved 18 July 2017.
  33. ^ Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (22 August 2017). "ACBSP Grants Accreditation to 58 Colleges and Universities in 11 Countries" (press release). GlobeNewswire. Retrieved 5 December 2018.
  34. ^ University Canada West. "Bachelor of Commerce", "Bachelor of Arts in Business Communication", "Master of Business Administration", "Online Learning". Retrieved 31 January 2019.
  35. ^ Kennedy, Kerrie (5 July 2018). "University Canada West to deliver AA degree". The PIE News. Retrieved 13 July 2018.

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