Visiting Tutors, invited speakers, and others who spend time on Quest’s campus provide a useful external and disinterested perspective on our community: the educational model, the faculty who implement it, and the students who are learning in this environment. All of our visitors are uniformly impressed; here is a sampling of their comments:

What an exciting environment for a well-rounded education is being created for your learners! As you are acutely aware, few if any established universities can offer the quality of educational experience conceived by Quest faculty. That the seed for innovation at Quest University continues to be cultivated, to grow and thrive, is critical not only for those fortunate enough to be involved, but also as a beacon for change with promise to enhance all post secondary education in British Columbia and beyond. Everyone involved is to be commended!

– Dr. Gerry Kelley, former President Royal Roads University

I have been teaching for 30 years and I have never experienced such an incredible level of engagement in the teaching and learning process as I did at Quest University. Students were unanimous in their belief that the block program, including the depth, passion and involvement by their professors, made this approach and this new University the right place for them. Add the stunning location and rich athletic and field-based experiences—I have concluded that our own university should be pursuing this type of model.

– Dr. Michael Fox, former Chief Academic Officer, Mount Allison University

Quest University has a number of deep strengths. The innovative curriculum is very strong. The faculty who teach there are excellent instructors. The physical plant is outstanding and the setting of the campus is breathtaking. The student body is very international in origin and impressive in its quality. The students we observed were unusually engaged, articulate and thoughtful.

– Visiting Committee of the American Academy of Liberal Education

I’ve been a professor at Columbia University for 17 years and have been a visiting professor at several universities in Europe. None of these teaching experiences has been as intellectually fun as the block I taught at Quest in September 2008. My Quest students were strikingly attentive, engaged, and creative. Their commitment to learning, to questioning, and to each other was breathtaking. They rose to every task I set them, and seemed always to find some original idea in their assignments. Many college students—even very talented and well-educated ones—treat their education as a job: they want to read their books and complete their assignments so they can get to the next task. Quest students were profoundly different. Their goal was to personalize and live what they were learning.

There was something magical about what happened in my classroom. While the individual students were perfectly clever, the classroom experience was greater than the sum of its parts. What I realized is that the sense of commitment to one another and the university increased the learning experience. The students were able to achieve such high intellectual levels because they were committed to do so, and they were so committed because they had learned the benefit of a dynamic social and intellectual exchange.

The campus itself seems designed to maximize these exchanges. Besides the stunning beauty of its location, the layout of classrooms (with their well-designed break-out rooms), faculty offices, and student center enhances the social and intellectual dynamic of Quest. The wonderfully committed instructors and staff encourage students to work together and achieve more than they otherwise would. I came away deeply impressed with virtually every aspect of Quest University. I had a wonderful time visiting and hope to return.

– Christia Mercer, Gustave M. Berne Professor of Philosophy, Columbia University

My experience teaching at Quest in April 2010 was wonderful. I have never seen students work so hard! They have a minimal sense of entitlement and an advanced respect for instructors, each other, and the undertaking of learning. Enough students at Quest have come there for a purpose —they are not merely marking time or trying to keep themselves entertained, as is true of so many university students I see—that there is a drive to the student body I have not seen elsewhere. This leads to two important results: first, less-driven students are lifted up by a culture of achievement, and, second, the community is producing academic and cultural richness far beyond what one would expect from its small size. I have never seen a faculty and staff so remarkably unified by, and dedicated to, the advancement of student achievement. The Quest education is producing students with the most valuable thing on Earth: a mind that is active, open, and educated in the truest sense of the word. They are intellectually fearless and willing to work to achieve great things, and I am convinced that the remarkably high level of work they produced in my class is a small preview of their future accomplishments.

– Dr. Rich Wildman, Harvard University

I’ve been very impressed by [students’] enthusiastic positive references to the Quest advantage of small classes, personal access to teachers, diversity of teaching methods, one-on-one mentoring, exposure to courses in a variety of disciplines, association with fellow students from diverse cultures, frequent engagement in collaborative projects, and the absence of hierarchy. The students want to learn. They have considerable capacity for hard work, and a remarkable absorptive capacity. I think they will leave Quest with a very deserved confidence that they may take confidently to graduate studies and future careers.

– Art Wright, former Canadian Ambassador to Mozambique and Angola

I expected that teaching a class of third-year students at Quest would be an unusual experience, given that the students had already worked with the Quest liberal arts model for two years. Nonetheless, I was pleasantly and repeatedly surprised by the degree to which students participated in classroom and fieldtrip activities, the energy they brought to various tasks and their willingness to ask probing questions, to challenge each other and their tutor, but always constructively. I did not have to keep reiterating, make sure you do the day’s readings—instead, I found students arrived with their course notes thoroughly marked up and with incisive observations and interpretations of the text that showed considerable intellectual sophistication. Clearly, the Quest model is helping students gain confidence, nurturing leadership skills, and fostering critical thinking and curiosity.

– Tom Green, PhD candidate, University of British Columbia

I thoroughly enjoyed talking to the students. They are, both humanly and intellectually, considerably more mature than the average undergraduate. I find them to be very impressive. The benefits of the Quest educational experience are evident.

Quest is a bold experiment in higher education that the world should know about. I have a hunch that this school will help chart the future course of higher education.

– Dr. Gerald Chan, co-founder Morningside Group
(Venture Capital and Private Equity Investment firm)

I have seen the future, and it is Quest.

– Prof. Anton Allahar, University of Western Ontario and co-author Ivory Tower Blues


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