2021 was an exciting year for University Canada West. Here’s a look back at some of the highlights of the last 12 months.
QS Stars rating
In September, UCW was honoured to receive a 5 Star rating from the QS Stars higher education rating system, the world’s most popular source of comparative data on university performance.
UCW became the third university in Canada, and the first in British Columbia, to receive a 5 Star rating from QS Stars. There are only a total of seven institutions in the United States and Canada to receive a 5 Star rating.
As part of the QS Stars audit process, institutions receive an overall rating of between zero and 5+ stars, as well as a rating in at least eight of 13 key areas. UCW’s scores included:
· Teaching: 5 Stars
· Employability: 5 Stars
· Academic Development: 5 Stars
· Online Learning: 5 Stars
· Social Responsibility: 5 Stars
· Inclusiveness: 5 Stars
· Internationalization: 4 Stars
UCW also received 5 Stars in the Specialist Criteria category for its Master of Business Administration degree program.
In 2021, UCW was also ranked one of the Best Online Universities in Canada for 2021 by University Magazine; listed as one of Canada's Best Online MBA Programs of 2021 by CourseCompare; and, the MBA and MBA Foundation programs were ranked #4 in ApplyBoard’s top 10 Canadian university programs.
New Interim President
October saw a change in senior leadership at UCW. Sheldon Levy was appointed Interim President and Vice-Chancellor as Brock Dykeman, who took over the President’s office in 2019 and saw the university through the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, retired.
President Levy was recently the advisor to Canada’s Minister of Small Business and Export Promotion, Mary Ng, on the issue of scaling up small and medium-sized businesses. He has extensive experience in senior leadership positions at post-secondary institutions. He served as President and Vice-Chancellor of Ryerson University from 2005 to 2015. He also served as President of Sheridan College of Applied Arts and Technology; Vice-President, Finance and Strategy, at University of Ontario Institute of Technology; Vice-President, Government and Institutional Relations, at the University of Toronto; and Vice-President, Institutional Affairs, at York University.
He was named an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2020 for his exceptional leadership as an education administrator and for promoting student entrepreneur incubators on university campuses across the country.
Return to On-Campus Learning
Also in October, UCW was delighted to welcome students back to campus for a full return to in-person learning for the Fall (October) 2021 Term.
On Oct. 12, most students started attending classes for the first time at UCW’s beautiful new Vancouver House Campus. At more than 90,000 square feet, UCW Vancouver House can accommodate up to 3,400 students.
Students in the University Access Program attended classes at UCW’s West Pender Campus, located in the historic London Building in the heart of Vancouver’s financial district.
UCW implemented several safety measures at both campuses for the Fall Term, including bringing back Student Health Ambassadors and keeping masks mandatory in all classrooms and common areas.
On July 16, UWC celebrated its largest graduating class ever with a virtual convocation ceremony.
Students, faculty, staff and dignitaries took part in the online ceremony celebrating 1,225 graduates from 38 countries.
The Valedictorian for 2021 was MBA grad Marcelle Carvalho Athanasof and this year’s Medals for Academic Excellence went to Bahareh Abdolrahimi, who earned her MBA, and Lynsey Logan, who earned an Associate of Arts degree.
The Distinguished Teaching Award went to Dr. Michele Vincenti.
The full 2021 Convocation Ceremony is available on UCW’s YouTube channel.
The British Columbia Council for International Education (BCCIE) handed out its annual awards in June and University Canada West (UCW) and its parent company Global University Systems (GUS) Canada were honoured with two awards.
GUS Canada CEO Cyndi McLeod was honoured with the BCCIE International Education Lifetime Achievement Award recognizing her long-term contributions made and the far-reaching impacts realized over a career of commitment to British Columbia’s international education sector.
UCW Marketing and Communications Department won the Excellence in International Education Marketing Award, which recognizes excellence and success in support of the education export sector in British Columbia and the marketing of the province’s world-class education system.
Committing to sustainability
In April, UCW announced that its membership with the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) to further campus efforts toward building a thriving, equitable and ecologically just world.
Through membership in AASHE, UCW will receive support in advancing its sustainability initiatives throughout the institution and in the community.
UCW Marketing Association launches
University Canada West kicked off 2021 with an exciting new opportunity for students.
On Jan. 19, UCW launched a collegiate chapter of the BC American Marketing Association.
The UCW Marketing Association (UCWMA) Collegiate Chapter aims to bring together students and marketing professionals to connect, learn and be inspired.
Membership is open to all UCW students who are interested in marketing and joining the association comes with several benefits to students, including becoming a national member of the American Marketing Association, gaining hands-on experience at events that will help accelerate their careers and opportunities to network with marketing professionals.
International Student Advisors
In February, in keeping with its commitment to supporting its students throughout their academic journey, University Canada West introduced International Student Advisors.
International Student Advisors (ISAs) provide support to international students before they arrive in Canada and throughout their time at UCW. Students can book a one-on-one appointment with an ISA or attend a virtual drop-in session. The ISA’s also host events, workshops and info sessions throughout each term.
ISAs currently able to offer services in various languages, including English, Chinese, Farsi and Portuguese.Published on Dec. 29, 2021.