As new interim president of Quest University, Dean Dupperon is focused on enrolment, especially when it comes to international student markets in places like China, Indonesia, the Philippines and the United States.
“One of the challenges the school has had is they haven’t been able to celebrate their enrolment success because they set goals that weren’t achievable in the early days,” he said. “They asked for 166 students a year. When you ask for 166, and you publish 166, when you announce that you have 74 you have some people groaning and some people with daggers in their eyes and some people hiding around corners.”
While enrolment for the private university’s first year was indeed 74, it jumped this year by 70, a spurt impressive to Dupperon on account of what he considers Squamish’s less-than-sensational international profile.
Dupperon comes to Quest with considerable experience. As president of B.C.’s Sprott-Shaw Degree College since 1991, he propelled enrolment from 26 students to 7,500, with campuses located worldwide.
The strategy involves block learning, which sees course loads offered throughout the year, as opposed to just in September, the traditional start to a school cycle.
“Think about the number who just missed the September start in any other school,” he said. “It would be attractive for them to start with us.”
In addition to recruiting Dupperon for eight months, Quest is also entering a relationship with Sprott-Shaw, and administrative and financial functions will be managed from the latter’s headquarters in the Lower Mainland. A report appearing in local media last week suggested jobs could be leaving the community as a result of the relationship, something Dupperon wanted to refute. According to his analysis, while he is shifting responsibilities from Squamish to Coquitlam, he’s not eliminating actual jobs.
“I don’t see it as jobs leaving as much I see it as some tasks might be better distributed,” he said.
This type of approach might be indicative of Dupperon’s style, which seems to focus on staff as much as it does students.
“My three hot buttons are student satisfaction, student morale, which has always been a cornerstone of this facility,” he said. “Part of that is the students are engaged in the learning themselves. Staff satisfaction and staff morale naturally are an important part of the student satisfaction. And a third part of the mandate is to be fiscally responsible.”
Dupperon replaces Thomas Wood, whose contract has concluded.