Quest University Canada student Miguel Orlando Chiau, a Mastercard Foundation Scholar, is among the speakers who will present at The Walrus Talks Africa’s Next Generation (Ottawa) on September 26. Miguel is a second-year student from Mozambique studying computer science. He is passionate about Africa and social inclusion, and envisions himself bringing change to his continent and believes that higher education is a prerequisite for achieving this goal.

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Herieth Ringo: Mastercard Foundation Scholar

Quest University Canada student Herieth Ringo, a Mastercard Foundation Scholar in the Program at African Leadership Academy, authored the essay To Build Confidence, Young Africa Must Focus on What it Does Well. In the essay, Herieth discusses creating the right conditions for young Africans to flourish as confident leaders.

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On September 1, 2017, the Canadian Mathematical Society announced that Dr. Richard Hoshino is the recipient of the 2017 Adrien Pouliot Award for significant and sustained contributions to mathematics education in Canada. Founded in 1945, the Canadian Mathematical Society (CMS) promotes the advancement, discovery, learning and application of mathematics. Richard is the youngest mathematician to have received this prestigious award in recognition of individuals “who have made significant and sustained contributions to mathematics education in Canada.” Adrien Pouliot was the second President of the CMS and was described as a world-class ambassador for science and mathematics and a great educator.

Richard’s colleague Dr. Glen van Brummelen, himself a 2017 National Teaching Fellow, noted that the award is essentially a national lifetime achievement award and that Richard has been “one of the most valued people in the Canadian mathematics education community” even before coming to Quest. Prior to his arrival at Quest in 2013, Richard was a postdoctoral fellow at the National Institute of Informatics in Tokyo (2010-2012), and was a mathematician with the Government of Canada (2006-2010), leading the mathematics and data exploration section at the Canada Border Services Agency. He has published 28 research papers across numerous fields, including graph theory, marine container risk-scoring, biometric identification, and sports scheduling.

Richard is a former Mathematics Olympian and has coached the students representing Canada at the International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO). He recently penned a novel The Math Olympian aimed at young people as a way to reach and inspire even more students. He frequently visits high schools to give public talks, and has reached thousands of students in British Columbia over the past four years. He has also led numerous professional development workshops for high school math teachers, and has organized or keynoted math education workshops and conferences throughout Canada. Hoshino is an active member of the Canadian Mathematics Education Study Group (CMESG), and will be the local organizer for the next CMESG meeting, to be held at Quest in June 2018.

For more information about Richard’s award, please see the press release from the Canadian Mathematical Society.

80th Birthday Retrospective Dr. Daniel Birch

It is with great fondness and admiration that Quest must bid farewell to Dr. Dan Birch, who will be stepping down from his position on the Board at the end of August after seven years of service to the University as both Chancellor and a Board member. In his own words, “I will celebrate my 80th birthday on September 1st and this seems like a good time to focus on my family. Doing so will entail no diminution in my aspirations for the future of Quest.”

When Dr. Birch became Chancellor of Quest University Canada, he brought a tremendous background in higher education with him. He received his Ph.D. in Education from the University of California- Berkeley. At Simon Fraser University he was appointed Dean of Education, Associate Vice President Academic, Acting Vice President Academic, and briefly as Acting President of the University. At the University of British Columbia, Dan again served as Dean of Education and for twelve years as Provost and Academic Vice President. He received the Cree name Mitehe (Heart) in recognition of twenty years of support for the development of First Nations programs at universities, including the establishment of the first Aboriginal graduate programs at UBC.

When asked about what attracted him to Quest when he first became Chancellor, Dan notes, “Members of the Quest community frequently say that their goal is to institutionalize revolution and the University is truly revolutionary – from cornerstone to keystone.” In regard to Cornerstone, he emphasizes the interdisciplinary teaching by two tutors from different disciplines, which “like much of the academic program has more to do with learning to ask good questions than with memorizing answers to be reproduced on exams.” As for Keystone, Dan finds it impressive how many lead into interesting employment or personally relevant studies for Quest alumni, either graduate or professional, and often in the most distinguished of institutions in Canada or abroad.

As an educator, Dr. Birch feels that Quest exemplifies the unique possibilities of a discovery-based pedagogy. “Most members of the public expect a university education to entail mastery of a body of knowledge. Quest’s expectation is that students will learn how scholars in a variety of disciplines formulate questions to advance their insight into the world around them and into themselves and others who live in it. Many Quest tutors achieve true distinction as scholar teachers and, in doing so, inspire their students to do likewise.”

Looking back on his service as Chancellor and as a Board member, Dan shared the following thoughts. “I am grateful to have served under two outstanding Chairs, Ian Worland and Mary Jo Larson, who have given themselves unstintingly for Quest’s wellbeing.” When asked about his hopes for the future of Quest University Canada, Dan enthusiastically responded, “I will look for the achievement of fiscal sustainability, continued orderly growth to a planned enrolment total of perhaps 1200 students, for an increase in the international experience of both students and faculty members, for continued relevance in the co-curricular program, and for an increase in peer tutoring. I expect vibrant and strategic leadership from the next President and from a coherent administrative team. It has been a great privilege to have been a member of Quest’s governing board.”

Quest is an inspired community of diverse, unique individuals who share a passion for discovery. Dan Birch exemplifies the spirit of Quest and we are truly privileged to have enjoyed his guidance and support for so many years. Board Chair Mary Jo Larson offered the following reflection on Dan’s contributions to Quest, “Dan has been an invaluable member of the Board. His knowledge of and connections in Canadian higher education have helped not only the Board, but all Quest students. When few graduate and professional programs understood the value of a Quest education, Dan opened doors for many Quest graduates, who continue to pave the way for the students coming after them. All of us are indebted to Dan for his many contributions to Quest.”

With the warmest wishes upon the occasion of his 80th birthday, thank you Dan from all of us at Quest!


Quest’s New President Dr. George Iwama

August 25, 2017

The Board of Governors of Quest University Canada is proud to announce that Dr. George Iwama has been appointed the University’s next President.

Quest is the national and global leader of a distinct philosophy of inquiry-based education, and is committed to continuing to innovate and share its work.

When we started our search for a new President, we set out to find someone who would:

  • Champion Quest’s mission, vision, and values;
  • Continue to strengthen, defend, and renew Quest’s pedagogical approach;
  • Recruit and support a truly distinctive student body;
  • Recruit and support world-class teacher-scholars;
  • Ensure a sustainable business model; and
  • Serve as a compelling and effective advocate for Quest as its leading external ambassador.

We strongly believe Dr. Iwama is an outstanding candidate, and we are excited about adding his experience and leadership to Quest University Canada.

Dr. Iwama will be a critical part of helping our University tackle the challenges and seize the opportunities that lie ahead by continuing to develop and champion the vision of Quest as a place for innovation in teaching and learning.

We look forward to hosting a social welcome event where students, staff, and community members can meet and get to know our new President this fall – stay tuned for details. For more information on Dr. Iwama, please visit the Incoming President webpage.

With appreciation,
Mary Jo Larson
Chair, Board of Governors
Quest University Canada


Quest student Alicia Saunders is asking visitors to Alice Lake Provincial Park to be on alert for the Western toad, which is native to the Sea to Sky Corridor. Saunders’ Keystone is on the migration of the toads, and plans to become a biologist with a focus on wetlands. She hopes her work will help protect the important species.

Read more via Jennifer Thuncher / Squamish Chief

Candidate Evaluation Committee: August 7 Update


Candidate Evaluation Committee Update

Dear Quest Communities,

As you know, the Candidate Evaluation Committee has been working very hard. It reviewed the skills and experiences sought in our next president, solicited community input, and then drafted a Presidential Profile. The CEC has completed its initial evaluation of the candidate in light of the articulated attributes desired and strategic objectives outlined in the profile. The evaluation included reviewing the candidate’s letter of interest and vita, speaking with several references, exploring information available on the internet, and interviewing the candidate in depth.

I am delighted to announce that the CEC has unanimously concluded that the candidate has the experience and attributes needed to lead Quest into the future and has invited him to campus for the next step in the evaluation process. At this time, we are able to share that the candidate is Dr. George Iwama. As many of you may know, Dr. Iwama has previously served as Vice President Academic and Provost at Acadia University and as President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Northern British Columbia. He is also currently the Chancellor of Quest. You can find more information about Dr. Iwama on the Presidential Search webpage.

On behalf of the Candidate Evaluation Committee, thank you for your confidence and support, as well as the patience you have displayed as we work through this important process. We are making good progress and look forward to this final phase.

With appreciation,
Mary Jo Larson
Chair, Board of Governors
Quest University Canada



Presidential Candidate Evaluation Committee: Update

The Quest University Presidential Candidate Evaluation Committee (CEC) met on Friday, July 28. The following is a brief update on the progress of the CEC’s work.

As you know, Marjorie Wonham was appointed Quest’s Interim President last May by the Board of Governors (the Board). At that time, the Board intended to conduct a national search for a new president and began to identify the leadership attributes and priorities for Quest’s next leader.

In early July, a qualified and impressive candidate with higher education leadership experience expressed an interest in the presidential position. As a result, the Board decided to suspend the national search in order to thoroughly review the candidate’s qualifications and established the CEC, consisting of the following members: Board chair Mary Jo Larson; Board members Daniel Birch, Stuart Louie, Chief Dale Harry, Claude Rinfret, Michael Hutchison, and David Fujimagari; faculty Glen VanBrummelen and Ellen Flournoy; alumna Vrindy Spencer; and student Nicole Zanesco.

During the July 28 meeting, the CEC reviewed and approved the leadership attributes and strategic priorities, as well as the process, that will be used to evaluate the candidate. The proposed attributes and priorities were initially captured in a Presidential Profile. This Profile reflects the final changes approved by the CEC. The documentation received by the candidate includes a letter of interest, CV, and six references. CEC members will begin reviewing the candidate’s material immediately and will continue their review until our next meeting in early August.

The identity of the candidate remains confidential until the CEC has completed the initial review process. After the initial review process, if the CEC determines that the candidate satisfies the leadership qualifies set forth in the Presidential Profile, then the name of the candidate will be shared with the Quest community. In addition, the candidate will be invited to visit campus and meet with the campus community before a final decision is made. If this occurs, it is planned to take place at the following times and forums (times subject to adjustment):

• August 9, 2017, 3:00 pm – In-person meeting at Quest
• August 9, 2017, 6:00 pm – Webinar
• August 12, 2017, 2:00 pm – Webinar

We will provide additional details as these dates approach.

We are also planning to have the candidate for lunch and dinner on the 9th and lunch on the 12th. If you would like an opportunity for more informal interaction with the candidate at these lunches or dinner, please contact Ellen Flournoy at . We want to keep the group small enough to allow conversation, but still have departmental representation.

Thank you for your continued interest in Quest University and support of this very important candidate evaluation process. We look forward to staying in touch as the process continues to unfold.

Presidential Search Update

As we announced last week, a very strong candidate has come forward to express interest in serving as Quest’s president. Given the genuine and serious expression of interest, and the strengths the candidate could bring to Quest, we wish to conduct an expedient, thorough, and transparent process of evaluating this candidate, with the intent of completing the evaluation in a timely manner before the beginning of fall term. The Interim President has expressed her strong support for this process. The Board has committed to making evaluation process for this candidate as transparent and as open as we can. We are following this evaluation process and timetable for the rigorous evaluation we are undertaking. We will update the timetable as needed we move through the process.

We will post an update here as each key step of the process is completed, and will email faculty, staff, students, and alumni at major milestones. An important step was taken on Thursday July 20, when Board member and former Chancellor of Quest, Dan Birch (in person), and Board Chair Mary Jo Larson (by Skype) met on campus with interested faculty, staff, students, and alumni on campus to explain the evaluation process, and to listen to their views on the leadership characteristics needed and strategic priorities for the next President of Quest. The conversation was immensely helpful to us as we shape the Profile by which the candidate will be assessed. We have also received several emailed comments, and welcome further input. The Profile has now been redrafted to take into account these comments. After one more review by the Board, this draft will be sent to the Candidate Evaluation Committee for final review and approval on July 28. Anyone may give us additional input on leadership characteristics and strategic priorities any time before July 28 by emailing us at Your views are important to us and the success of the next President, so please do not hesitate to send us your comments!

The Candidate Evaluation Committee consists of Board members Mary Jo Larson (chair), Daniel Birch, David Fujimagari, Chief Dale Harry, Michael Hutchison, Stuart Louie, and Claude Rinfret; Founding Faculty member Glen van Brummelen; Academic Council Board Representative Ellen Flournoy; Alumna and former SRC representative Vrindy Spencer; incoming SRC president Nicole Zanesco. The Board is very grateful to the faculty, alumni, and student volunteers who are contributing their time and efforts to invest in this rigorous and important process.

Alumni Zeeshan Rasool on Quupe

Quest graduate Zeeshan Rasool is one of the co-founders of the local startup Quupe—its name is short for the word recoup—an online platform that allows citizens to offer their recreational and hobby-oriented items for use. The service taps into a young generation’s tendency to rent rather than buy. They came up with the concept while attending Vancouver’s Centre for Digital Media, where they noticed many students borrowing resources such as bicycles, snowboards, and vacuum cleaners from one another.
Read more via the Georgia Straight…


Deepnify: Alumna Krista Caldwell

Quest alumna and co-founder of food logistics startup Deepnify, Krista Caldwell, is part of the speaker series RBCDisruptors discussion titled, Can Humans Save AI? They’ll talk about how AI is transforming unexpected industries including grocery stores and physical therapy, how we should deal with the increasing pace of innovation and disruption, and how humanity can use and shape AI to work for the common good.


Quest University Canada is pleased to announce a new member of the Board of Governors, Chancellor, Dr. George Iwama.

Dr. Iwama received his Ph.D. in Zoology from the University of British Columbia specializing in fish physiology and aquaculture. After postdoctoral fellowships at the University of Texas and Dalhousie University, he returned to UBC to join the faculty in Animal Science, where he was subsequently tenured and granted full professorship. In 2000 he went on to serve four years as Director General of the National Research Council’s Institute for Marine Biosciences in Halifax and led the creation of the NRC Institute for Nutriscience and Health on Prince Edward Island.
Read more about our Board of Governors…

LEAP Mountain Biker Jacob Tooke

Featured in his hometown newspaper, Vernon Morning star, mountain biker Jacob Tooke will join the LEAP Program this fall as he attends Quest. Jacob finished fourth nationally in 2016 to earn a spot on the Canadian Junior National Enduro Team.

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(Sam Egan Photo Vernon mountain biker Jacob Tooke is preparing for three upcoming Enduro World Series Events.)

Following the threat of salmon program cutbacks, a public forum was held between government, conservationists, and researchers, after reversals to salmonid enhancement program cuts.

The event was held at Quest, hosted by MP Pamela Goldsmith-Jones, and included representatives from Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the District of Squamish, the Squamish River Watershed Society, the Vancouver Aquarium, and Quest University Canada.

Quest’s Chancellor George Iwama shared that he was working with research networks to address issues facing fisheries.


Read More at The Squamish Chief


Photo: Steven Chua

Parker Carruthers: Starting off, tell us about your background, where did you go to high school, what are your research interests broadly?

Elijah Cetas: I was born in Tucson Arizona, but grew up in Portland, Oregon. I went to public school at Cleveland High School. I’ve always been interested in local politics. I grew up in a very progressive family where my mom always took me to protests. In high school I got really interested in the contract negotiation that was going on with the teachers’ union of the public school at the time. I got interested in how people could work autonomously as teachers vs. a public-school system that was trying to enforce tests and things like that. And that was something that I thought about with the research too.

PC: So building on that, could you expand more on your prior engagement with educational activism?

EC: After Occupy came to Portland, there was a big movement in Portland. In my junior year I joined the student union that had just formed. It was a group of students who were activists and were interested in doing student politics by going to demonstrations, and holding our own demonstrations against standardized testing in particular—just trying to represent the student voice.

My senior year was when this contract negotiation came around. And that year the teachers presented a contract to the board that basically said, “these are the schools Portland students deserve”—that was like their catchphrase. They were really interested in trying to negotiate things like the amount of tests students had to take in Portland public schools, the way teachers’ hours are structured, and the way in which teachers had the ability to design their own curriculum.

So we as a student union saw in that message something really exciting, which was that school isn’t about testing and it’s not about a pre-designed curriculum, it’s about student and teacher autonomy. We got behind the teachers and helped in the contract negotiation. In the course of that year we demonstrated and held walk outs, which we had done in the last year as well. We created forms for opting out of standardized testing, and we went to the school board and testified against the school board management.

PC: And that was in your junior year—what ended up coming out of that?

EC: That was in my junior through senior years. The final contract was much better than the proposed contract by the management. We didn’t win everything we wanted, but it went really really well. And for a while after that there was a strong group of students who had become interested in politics and had become active. It was just kind of a fire-y little movement for a while, so that was cool to see.

PC: So switching from that, how did that bring you to Quest? Or what brought you to Quest, rather?

EC: I came to Quest because I wanted to go to a small liberal arts school; a place where students could figure out their own course and work closely with mentor figures. I always wanted to do the humanities, but I wanted to be in a place where we could be intentional with our own education and what kind of community we want to be a part of.

PC: Felt like a good fit?

EC: I came up and did an interview, and I remember telling the admissions officer at the time about my experience in high school, and she said, “Quest is the kind of school where people can think about some of the things that you’re thinking about.”

PC: So talking about educational activism, and your research interests now, what can you say about your paper, “A systematic review of motivational values and conservation success in and around protected areas,” that won Conservation Biology’s 2016 Rising Star award? Maybe breaking that up, tell us about your paper first.

EC: So I got interested in this paper when [Social Sciences Faculty Tutor Dr.] Maï [Yasué] proposed the idea to a number of students. I knew that I didn’t want to study conservation per-say as a major focus at Quest, but I was really interested in this research proposal. The study that Maï and I did was a systematic review, a literature review essentially, but one where you use the articles as data points. You code them and use them to see what those codes say, essentially.

And what she wanted to look at was intrinsic motivation versus extrinsic motivation. We hadn’t figured out how to look at conservation in greater detail than, but what I saw in that research proposal, and what interested Maï, was this question of “to what degree does autonomy, and to what degree does self-determination matter when it comes to the success of a conservation area?” And in my head the same question was “to what does it matter when it comes to the success of education and public high school education?” Because it’s essentially the same problem, where if you have a conservation issue, and you can figure out a really good incentive scheme to get people to conserve, and can enact it in every place, then it seems like you can just run this program, and the conservation area will be successful.

But there’s this question of “to what degree should you have local participation? To what degree does that matter for preserving ecosystems?” In the same way that in what way does it matter that teachers have autonomy over their curriculum?

PC: So it’s much broader.

EC: I was drawn to that question, and I think just trying to see, to kind of put to the test, some of the things that I believed almost dogmatically in high school were true. Like, “yes, teachers should have self-determination.” “Yes, local people should determine their relationship to a national park.” But we didn’t know that in data, and literature was conflicting, and that was what was really exciting about the whole thing. And I think just trying to answer questions that are something that you believe to be true but yet are vague and don’t appear in data very easily. I think those are really interesting to try to put into data.

PC: And obviously it was successful. You did this in the summer, so that was as a Summer Fellow. Could you maybe talk a little bit more about your experience as a 2015 Summer Fellow and what that meant to you as a student?

EC: I had just finished my first year, and I was pretty exhausted. We had a two-week break, and then came back in the beginning of the summer for the Summer Fellows Program. I started a little bit early. We had a conference that we wanted to go to in June, and I worked really hard that first month and got a lot done. We got a lot of our data, made a poster for the conference, and went to the conference. That was kind of a turning point for summer because from then on it was about finishing the data and writing the thing.

It was interesting because at Quest we don’t get to work on things for any length of time. It was strange to sit with one research problem for weeks and weeks, but I think it was really meaningful. It was challenging too to stay on top of your work and your research when it’s just so big that you’re trying to do a little bit every day.

PC: Where do you start to chip away?

EC: Exactly, but that was really meaningful as a first year to try to figure that out. It was also wonderful being around other students doing research projects. That was inspiring because most of them were doing Keystone work (there were a few other first years) and they were really excited about it and passionate, and we would have great conversations just talking about it. It was great.

PC: And that has to be valuable as a first year too, talking to those experienced students and getting that insight over the summer.

EC: It was huge. I could learn from them, and listen and hear about what they were researching and about their process. By the end of the summer, hearing other people present, you realize, “these people have done a ton.” And then you’re like, “I’ve done a ton.”

PC: What class are you in currently? We just finished a block, what are you moving into for the last block of the year?

EC: I’m in “What is Life?” I’m just finishing my Foundation courses. I took six Foundation courses this year, I believe, because last year I took two. And the rest, Concentration courses. “What is Life?” I took “Bio BC” last block, and that was interesting in relation to this project—to the Summer Fellows, because I spent so much of that summer reading about people talking about ecology, and interpreting the way people talked about ecology, but not having actually having done any ecology myself.

Studying ecology was interesting, I’d never thought about it really.

PC: And future courses? What is next year looking like as far as coursework goes?

EC: Next year I’ll be taking all Concentration courses. I want to take “Creative Writing” in fall block. I wanted to take “Ancient Philosophy,” but it doesn’t seem to be on the course slate. I want to take “Colonialism and Colonial Identities” with André [Lambelet, Humanities Tutor (History)]. For fourth block, I don’t remember the last one.

PC: You don’t need to have your whole schedule memorized. That’s perfect.

EC: I think broadly I want to take exciting, fun, classes. “Creative Writing” I’m really excited for in particular.

PC: And just stepping back, what’s your Question?

EC: My Question is “How do we Know Ourselves?” but lately in my head it’s become “What is the Meaning of Progress?”

I made it “How do we Know Ourselves” because I had no idea what I wanted to study in the humanities except that I wanted to look at literature, history, and philosophy all kind of bundled together. So I asked, “How do we Know Ourselves?” and now I’m interested in the 19th century, and thinking about what makes the modern identity, and what is the modern sense of self, and where does it come from? I think one of the big ideas of modernity is the idea of continual progress, and I’m interested in literature that’s relating to that.

PC: Just to wrap it up here, tell us something about yourself that we not know.

EC: Oh, I really love comic books.

PC: What sorts?

EC: I love Neil Gaiman, and I love Hellboy comic books a lot.