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 Physical Sciences Tutor Ian Picketts was quoted in an article posted on the CBC News website. The article dealt with how municipalities across B.C. have implemented innovative actions for climate change, but there are challenges, depending on the size of the region, political momentum, and industry relationships.

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What it truly means to be gifted

Quest’s very own Mathematics Tutor Richard Hoshino composed an opinion editorial titled “What it truly means to be gifted,” that was published in The Toronto Star. Richard proposes that through authentic mathematical experiences, students develop confidence, creativity, and critical-thinking skills.

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As part of Quest University’s program of spring events, the school will be welcoming award-winning playwright and artist-in-residence Elaine Ávila for an evening of readings on Feb. 16.

Via Squamish Chief

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Birder Data to be Flocked

Quest Life Sciences Tutor, Kimberly Dawe, was featured in The Chief. She recently signed a letter of agreement with the Squamish Environment Society to begin analysis of the massive Squamish Estuary data that the Squamish Birders have collected every month since 1991. The multi-layered data has never undergone expert analysis, but that is about to change. Kimberly will apply for funding to help with the project, plans to hire a Quest student, and to involve her classes in the project.

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Photo: Jennifer Thuncher

Photo by: Jay Ashworth

Quest’s Manager of Community and Sustainability Programs, and member of the Student Affairs Team, Krystle tenBrink, is featured in an interview by Jay Ashworth, who heads “The Bentwood Project.”  He documents people and their passion using a 100 year old camera set up. Krystle co-chairs the Squamish Food Policy Council, and was the former president of Squamish Climate Action Network where she would manage food initiatives. She discusses her passions and influences in an in-depth interview.

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The Walrus Talks explore innovation

Quest graduate Andrew Luba talks about the connection between happiness and design systems at the Maury Young Arts Centre on Saturday (Oct. 22).   Photo by Alyssa Noel

On Saturday, October 22, corridor innovators took the stage at the Maury Young Arts Centre to present The Walrus Talks on Innovation. Cheeying Ho, the Executive Director of the Whistler Centre for Sustainability says, “even though we may think of millennials as being self-absorbed and conspicuous in everything they do, there’s some pretty interesting characteristics we can describe that are conducive to changing the world…”

Read more of the article featured in Question, a Whistler publication.

Listen online to all seven speakers speak for seven minutes each on the topic of Innovation.

Howe Sound Comes to Life

Suzuki Foundation, Quest University discuss marine protection


The David Suzuki Foundation and Quest University combined efforts recently to give people an inside look at how Howe Sound has been springing back to life.

On Oct. 6, the university hosted the Great Howe Sound Recovery, which included a series of short films presented by the David Suzuki Foundation that give a glimpse of what life is like inside the waters of the sound.

Stephen Foster of the David Suzuki Foundation acted as the moderator for the event and introduced the short films.
The event was timely, according to Foster, because of changes in the government’s attitude around marine protection.

“It’s kind of an interesting time because the new government has changed the discussion around marine protection,” he said.

“National parties are looking at this place as part of the conversation on marine protection.”

Foster said the foundation is interested in a number of issues including community cooperation, enhancing biodiversity and the possibility of a park in Howe Sound, especially with the return of marine life.

“We know that something extraordinary is happening in Howe Sound,” he said.

The evening included five short films, including one in which Squamish’s John Buchanan explores life returning to the Britannia Creek area.

In it, he talks about how he first saw salmon back in the stream and how the creek has rebounded after being one of the most toxic rivers in North America.

“I can’t get enough of this creek,” he said in the film. “It’s the underdog.”

He also talks about changes to the old mine site in terms of plugging up the old sources of pollution and ends by citing the importance of government to scientific efforts to study and support life in the ecosystem, as well as to make up for past mistakes such as firing scientists.

“Government needs to get back in the business of science,” he said.

As well, Buchanan talks about his experience in newspapers and compares himself to a reporter in the water interviewing the fish.

“I love the way he’s always stirring the pot,” Foster said when introducing the film.

Other films included Bob Turner’s Howe Sound – Vancouver’s Wild Neighbour, which chronicles a five-day paddling trip; Roy Mulder’s Cradles of Glass, which examines the importance of glass sponges to marine life and Howe Sound; a profile of biologist Ramona de Graaf and her work to study the role of beaches in supporting life; and a short video by North Vancouver high school student Chris Dietrich.

Source: Squamish Chief


Quest University Canada President and Vice Chancellor Peter Englert was profiled in Business in Vancouver. From compulsory military service, to an initial desire to become a chemist, to worldwide travel in search of knowledge, he explains how all of his experiences prepared him to be where he is today. With a love for science and background in nuclear chemistry, he discusses how his global journey led him to Quest.
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Sand Dune Restoration

The Political Ecology class, run by Dr. John Reid-Hresko, took a block trip to Tofino, BC for 8 days to study human-environment interactions and the politics and power that shape those interactions.

While in Tofino they spent the week meeting with diverse stakeholders – tourism companies, the mayor of Tofino, First Nations people, residents, biologists, environmental non-profit managers, and fish farming companies.

One of the highlights of the course was with Parks Canada, where they discussed the parks system of conservation and restoration, and helped the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve with restoration work by removing invasive species of grass on the sand dunes.


Although 30 of 37 of the most significant dune sites on the coast are under some sort of protection, they have greatly declined over the last 100 years. Less than 1% of British Columbia is covered by these dunes. This rare ecosystem has shrunk by 56% across coastal BC. Sand dunes are fragile environments and Parks Canada is working hard to ensure their long-term survival.

Sand dunes are home to unique plant species tough enough to survive in very harsh conditions. Dune plants get blasted by sand that scours off branches and needles from spruce trees, yet they survive and thrive.


Some have roots that reach metres into the sand for moisture, while others have waxy leaves to prevent water loss and can survive regular burial by sand movement. Despite their hardiness, these plants do not have the capacity to compete with the invasive beachgrass species and subsequent encroachment of forest land.

By removing invasive beachgrass species, Parks Canada is protecting sensitive plants that rely on the sand dune ecosystem. With the help of committed staff, scientists and volunteers, Parks Canada is working to restore the open, dynamic sand dune ecosystem so that it can support a variety of indigenous plants and animals.

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(Photo Credit: Photo: Devon Francis)

Quest device tracks climate change

Quest University Canada student and member of the LEAP program, Kyle Martin, was featured in The Squamish Chief for creating a device that may help inform scientists about climate change and pollution. The device is a subsurface current drifter that works on a small scale and can be used in rivers and lakes. He has successfully tested it in Howe Sound, and hopes to leave it behind when he graduates to allow for other Quest students to study and develop.

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Quest University Canada will join with other schools to participate in an innovative research project with the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO). Amid concern that today’s postsecondary graduates are lacking critical employability skills, an international test on literacy, numeracy, and problem-solving will be given to first-year and graduating students at 11 colleges in Ontario in October 2016. A similar pilot for other universities, including Quest, will follow in 2017. The Essential Adult Skills Initiative (EASI) pilot project by the HEQCO marks the first time in Canada that core skills, considered foundational to success in work and life, will be evaluated at the postsecondary program and institutional level.


Using the internationally recognized Education & Skills Online assessment from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the first phase of the EASI pilot will test 350 first-year students at each of the participating colleges in October 2016; the second phase will test a similar number of graduating students from the institutions in February 2017. The students are drawn from specific programs at each institution, ranging from sciences and business to humanities and applied arts. The college final report, to be available by fall 2017, will evaluate the practicality and validity of the test and provide an initial sense of whether students have enhanced core skills in literacy, numeracy and technology-enabled problem-solving over the course of their postsecondary studies.


The 90-minute online test consists of a series of questions or tasks based on everyday scenarios, examining how the student comprehends and applies numeric and textual information. Students receive individualized reports on their skills proficiency and can compare their scores with OECD international data. Participating colleges and universities will have an evidence-based window on the entering and exiting skills of their students. The results for each college and university will be revealed only to the institution and will not be included in the study reports. “The initial goal is that colleges and universities use these results as instruments for quality enhancement,” says Harvey Weingarten, HEQCO president and CEO.

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Previous Quest president, David Helfand, was quoted in an article by The Globe and Mail titled, “How to graduate from university with an education and a job.” Helfand said “a university education should be about learning to think, rather than about building up a set of employable skills.” The list is offering advice for potential and current students on how to make the most of their post-secondary experience.

Read More at The Globe and Mail…

The Squamish Chief featured an interview with Ryan Derby-Talbot, Quest’s Chief Academic Officer and Vice President. Ryan joined Quest faculty in 2009 and is currently a Mathematics tutor. The article highlights some important questions and answers, and focuses on Squamish’s quest for knowledge.

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Quest international students, Poema Kazazi and Carlos Kagame, are featured in The Chief for being a part of Quest’s Squamish Host Family Program. Squamish couple Jim and Claire Harvey signed up and first met Poema and Carlos about three years ago when the students were in their first year at Quest. 

The program is currently looking for host family volunteers for this year’s crop of international students. To get involved or for more information about the program, contact Prescott at or 604-898-8104.

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