Whistler University (Whistler U) and the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC) have agreed to work together to promote higher education in B.C.
Just what that means at this point isn’t totally clear. Dr. Doug Player, the Whistler U Project Director, issued a brief news release late this week announcing that the two entities agreed to look forward together.
According to the release, the agreement is to promote, encourage, and facilitate the development of internationalization of higher education in the province.
In the release, Dr. George Iwama, President of UNBC, said a UNBC presence in Whistler is a natural fit because UNBC has proclaimed itself Canada’s Green University. The school has gone so far as to trademark the phrase Green University.
“Whistler has established a good reputation in sustainability and UNBC is the leading campus in Canada in its approach to energy,” Iwama said. “Bringing some of our programs to Whistler will draw national and international academic community.” Player was in Prince George on Monday to sign an agreement with Dr. Dale Mark, the UNBC Provost.
Player said in an interview from his home on Saturday that he wants to bring the UNBC sustainability values to the proposed WhistlerU and the agreement helps make that happen.
"What it means is we have an accredited university that wants to be on our site," said Player. "They want to be involved in programming, particularly in sustainability and also in the leadership area. They have a good leadership program there."
Player said it was honour to work with Iwana and the university.
“Dr. Iwama is a true visionary leader in Canada’s post-secondary industry,” Player wrote in the news release. “He has garnered global respect for UNBC and we could not ask for a finer university to bring to Whistler community. I believe this is an excellent way to diversify Whistler’s economy while supporting our primary industry of tourism.”
Iwama, reached at the Vancouver Convention Centre Sunday, said the agreement connects UNBC with one more B.C. community.
"We are not committed to any particular programming as yet," said Iwama. He added that UNBC is happy to be affiliated with Whistler because of the resort's international brand and reputation as a sustainable resort.
The agreement with UNBC follows an agreement signed with the British Columbia Institute of Technology in December.
According to Player, the higher learning centre details for the university proposed for the southern end of Whistler just below Highway 99 will be presented to Whistler’s Council’s Committee of the Whole on April 17th.
Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden stated during her election campaign that she would hear details of the Whistler U proposal at Council.
"The RMOW needs to listen to the proponents, and, provided it's in the best interest of the community, work with Whistler U to obtain the best product possible," said Wilhem-Morden on her election website.
Check Thursday’s edition of Pique Newsmagazine for more information.
-with files from Vince Shuley