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The Westcoast Reader’s new online community

For more than 30 years, The Westcoast Reader has served the needs of those who are not fluent in English. The award-winning newspaper has expanded its offerings – and its audience – to include an online learning community.

The WCR Learning Community features a wide range of content related to current events, entertainment and topics of general interest that reflect everyday life and culture in Canada. Teachers and beginner English readers can download articles and exercises, participate in polls and contests, and connect to each other by way of social media tools  such as Facebook and Twitter.

The WRC Learning Community invites ideas, suggestions, photos and stories from teachers and learners around the world. Visit:



Capilano University a finalist for a Power Smart Excellence Award

Capilano University is a finalist in the Energy Conservation Commitment Award category for the 2012 Power Smart Excellence Awards (PSEA). The Energy Conservation Commitment Award recognizes organizations with an outstanding corporate commitment to energy conservation in British Columbia. Energy management is a continuing part of their business practice, together with longterm integrated energy management plans. Achieving this award can be the foundation for attaining Power Smart Leader status in the future. The Power Smart Leader designation is BC Hydro’s highest level of customer recognition. The 2012 awards ceremony will take place at the Vancouver Convention Centre on October 18.

Capilano University’s faculty of tourism and outdoor recreation celebrates 40 years


Capilano University outdoor recreation expedition, circa 1970s.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Christina Moore at 604.848.8251
E-mail: cmoore@capilanou.ca

(NORTH VANCOUVER, B.C.)—From unruly pioneer to industry leader, Capilano University’s faculty of tourism and outdoor recreation is celebrating a significant milestone this year.

Forty years ago, the university’s inaugural outdoor recreation program welcomed its first 18 students to class. As was characteristic of the ‘70s, the program thrived on a reputation of being on the fringe, comprising of a collective of students and instructors who marched to the beat of their own drum. Today, close to 3,000 graduates, including some of British Columbia’s most innovative tourism entrepreneurs, call themselves alumni of Cap’s faculty of tourism and outdoor recreation. Their leadership has been pivotal to the growth of tourism in B.C., contributing to the province’s rise to become one of the world’s top tourist destinations.

The outdoor recreation program was pioneered by Dr. Brian White and Don Basham.

“We were a pretty unruly outfit in those early days; the science students didn’t like us too much,” recalls White, who remained at the helm for 35 years. “It was the ‘70s . . . we did some very cool stuff, went on incredible expeditions, and didn’t play by the rules a whole lot. But we were focused on serious work. There was a lot of concern about training and public safety as people started to embark upon backcountry pursuits. We helped to professionalize the industry.”

Those first students embraced a curriculum that took them on lengthy backcountry expeditions to Garibaldi and Cathedral Provincial Parks, cross country skiing expeditions to 108 Mile House in the Cariboo, and hiking or kayaking trips to Vancouver Island’s West Coast Trail and the Broken Islands.

While such trips are still a core part of the outdoor recreation and advanced wilderness leadership programs, the faculty has expanded to offer the province’s first bachelor degree in tourism, Canada’s only professional scuba dive certificate and North America’s first mountain bike operations certificate.

Roy Jantzen was an outdoor recreation student in 1988 and has been an instructor within the faculty for the past 13 years.

“Being part of the outdoor recreation program and the broader expansion of our faculty has been an incredibly rewarding journey,” he says. “Through recent decades, B.C. as a global tourism destination has exploded onto the world map, with outdoor recreation being one of its key drivers. Today our province is recognized for its array of authentic adventure tourism experiences, and Capilano University’s programs have been feeding off this growth and evolving in a parallel way.”

Graduates from the faculty of tourism and outdoor recreation now hold senior level industry positions across the province in such organizations as: Alpine Club of Canada, BC Ferries Vacations, BC Parks, Bluewater Adventures, Cypress Bowl, Landsea Tours and Adventures, Mountain Equipment Co-op, Shangri-la, Tourism Vancouver, Tourism Whistler, Vancouver Parks, and Ziptrek Ecotours, to name a few. Many grads remain connected to Cap and offer work practicums, host field trips, and return to the classroom as guest speakers, providing invaluable connections to real world settings.

“The faculty’s incredible wealth of knowledge along with their caring and in-depth teaching style really allows the students to connect to the key components of operating a successful tourism business,” says Kevin Pearce, president and co-owner of Landsea Tours & Adventures, and a graduate of the class of 2006. “I owe a lot of my success to the Tourism Program as it really opened my eyes to the fact that tourism business is indeed quite different than more broad-based types of businesses. I will forever assist tourism’s next generation by providing inspiration and insight to Capilano University tourism students. The faculty at Capilano are like family to me now.” 

‘Gaining The Edge,’ a strategy for tourism development in B.C. over the next five years, positions tourism as one of B.C.’s leading economic sectors with benefits extending into every region of the province. During the last decade, tourism in B.C. grew more rapidly than our economy as a whole, despite challenging international events. With targets to grow five per cent annually to achieve sector revenue of $18 billion by 2016, go2, a resource for people working in the tourism industry, predicts B.C. will need 84,000 new tourism workers over the next decade.

“We will continue to prepare our students for the challenges and opportunities that the tourism industry will present throughout our next 40 years,” says Dr. Chris Bottrill, dean of the faculty of tourism and outdoor recreation. “Our 40th anniversary is a wonderful milestone to celebrate for alumni, current students, our employees, and the university at large. We are proud to provide students with relevant, industry-leading courses offered by some of the top faculty, guides and industry experts in the field. Through an extensive and ever-growing web of local and international connections, our programs provide a global perspective, without losing sight of local implications.”

Located at the heart of some of the world’s favourite tourism and recreation-based destinations, the faculty operates out of Capilano University’s North Vancouver, Sunshine Coast and Squamish campuses, offering students the benefit of being fully immersed in learning, both inside and out of the classroom.

Internationally, students can broaden their education through study abroad experiences in Hawaii, Australia, Austria, and the United Kingdom. With a core value centred on education and achievement of sustainability within the industry, the faculty is also active in tourism development projects and study exchanges in Asia through a partnership with the Pacific Asia Travel Association. The faculty’s expertise has also been recognized on a global level, resulting in representatives being sent to Russia to discuss their experiences from the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, and the benefits of volunteerism.

Applications are currently being accepted for September enrolment in all programs. For more information, contact:  www.capilanou.ca/tourism or tourism@capilanou.ca.   

– 30 –

A message from Stephen Lewis to Capilano University graduates

May 28, 2012

A message from Stephen Lewis (who, due to a back injury, was unable to attend Cap’s convocation and accepted his honorary degree in absentia):

“Graduates: Needless to say, I was excited and honoured about coming west to receive an honorary degree from Capilano University. It drives me crazy to submit to mortal frailty, but a nasty herniated disc makes lengthy plane travel impossible. I am so very sorry. Had I been able to come, I would have had two over-riding messages for you:

First, this world is swamped by crisis … just look at the barbaric massacre of children and families in Syria. Whether it’s conflict, or poverty, or disease, or climate change, the planet is desperately in need of leadership. And the leadership is wanting. Somehow, this next generation has to give voice to the injustice. We need courageous and outspoken advocates and activists, some of whom – perhaps some of the students of this graduating class – will travel to developing countries to make a contribution, and then tell the world of the struggle for survival, and refuse to be beaten down or silenced by indifferent governments.

Second, and to my mind of even greater priority, is the single most important issue on the planet: the struggle for gender equality. We’ll never achieve even a modicum of social justice if we continue to marginalize half the world’s population. The panoply of discrimination visited on the world’s women, particularly women of the developing world, is frankly unconscionable. Whether it’s international sex trafficking, or female genital mutilation, or child brides, or honour killings, or the absence of inheritance rights, or the absence of property rights, or the absence of economic autonomy, or insufficient political representation, or the contagion of sexual violence and rape to be found everywhere, we simply must see women’s rights as paramount and embrace the principle of equality.

With those brief thoughts, I again express my regrets at not being present on this joyous day for the graduating students, their families and friends, and the entire teaching and support staff of Capilano.

Congratulations to you all.” SL

Capilano University wins coveted environmental award

Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Contact:  Shelley Kean at 604.983.7596

(NORTH VANCOUVER, B.C.)—Capilano University is the recipient of the Recycling Council of British Columbia’s 2012 Environmental Award in the Educator’s category for its forward-thinking work in sustainability.

Nominated by Encorp Pacific (Canada) for waste audits conducted by the university in fall 2011, RCBC Environmental Awards recognize the valuable contribution that individuals and organizations make toward preserving British Columbia’s environment.

Capilano University and Encorp performed a pilot program aimed at increasing the use of onsite containers for recyclable beverages at Cap’s North Vancouver campus. A 2010 Beverage Container Return Study found that single men between the ages of 18 to 34 living in urban areas are the highest discarders of beverage containers. A heavy discarder is defined as those who typically discard at least two containers per week (not recycle). They are likely to work outside the home or are students.

“This is really exciting news, says Cap’s facilities manager, Susan Doig. “While Cap is regarded as a leader in post-secondary in managing waste and implementing waste management programs, it views this partnership as a way to become even better.”

Students in Cap’s Environmental Geography program and Tourism and Outdoor Rec program performed waste audits at the North Vancouver campus on September 20 and November 15. Audit results were then compiled and recommendations made that assisted Encorp in implementing this project at other post-secondary institutions.

Encorp and Cap U are currently developing the work plan for another a waste audit in September. Last year’s venture involved close to 100 Cap U students who participated in the project as part of their coursework.

“This is a great opportunity for our students to participate in a real-life work experience for a cause that is in alignment with the university’s values,” said Mitra Kiamanesh, instructor in Capilano University’s school of business. “It’s also exciting for them to know that they personally are helping to increase awareness of such an important issue.”

Capilano University is a learner-centred university that serves the communities of the Lower Mainland, Howe Sound, and the Sunshine Coast through campuses in North Vancouver, Squamish and Sechelt. Opened in 1968, enrolment today totals 7,500 students in credit programs each term with an additional 7,000 people taking non-credit courses annually. Currently, 708 international students from 52 countries are studying in 43 programs at Capilano, with an estimated economic impact of $31.9 million. Capilano University offers a complete range of preparatory courses, university-level arts and science courses, business and management studies, creative and applied arts programs, health and human services programs, plus a range of services in support of student learning and success. Credentials awarded include bachelor degrees, associate degrees, post-baccalaureate diplomas, advanced diplomas, diplomas, certificates and statements of completion.


Three honorary doctorate degrees conferred at Capilano University

Monday, May 28, 2011
Contact:  Shelley Kean at 604.983.7596

(NORTH VANCOUVER, B.C.)—A former Canadian Ambassador to the United Nations and longtime activist for an AIDS free world, an Order of British Columbia recipient whose face you’d want to see if stranded on one of our local mountains, and an educator and storyteller extraordinaire from the Sto:lo Nation in southwestern British Columbia all received an honorary doctorate degree from Capilano University at its spring convocation held Monday, May 28.

Stephen Lewis

Stephen Lewis
Doctor of Laws, honoris causa
Stephen Lewis is a Distinguished Visiting Professor at Ryerson University in Toronto. He is the board chair of the Stephen Lewis Foundation, and co-founder and co-director of AIDS-Free World in the United States. Stephen Lewis’s work with the United Nations spanned more than two decades. He was the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa from June 2001 until the end of 2006. From 1995 to 1999, Mr. Lewis was Deputy Executive Director of UNICEF at the organization’s global headquarters in New York. From 1984 through 1988, he was Canada’s Ambassador to the United Nations.   

Tim Jones

Tim Jones
Doctor of Laws, honoris causa
Tim Jones is the current Team Leader of North Shore Rescue. Over the past 20 years, he has participated in more than 1,400 search and rescue operations. He is in his 30th year as Paramedic in Charge of the North Vancouver BC Ambulance Service. A co-founder of NSR’s heavily relied on Helicopter Rescue Program, Mr. Jones also established its extensive Communication Network. Over the years, Mr. Jones has helped to raise more than $1,500,000 for the organization’s operations and equipment. Mr. Jones received the Order of British Columbia in 2011, an honour extended to those who have excelled in any field benefiting their fellow British Columbians.

Dr. Jo-ann Archibald

Dr. Jo-ann Archibald
Doctor of Letters, honoris causa
Jo-ann Archibald (Q’um Q’um Xiiem) from the Sto:lo and Xaxli’p First Nations, is Associate Dean for Indigenous Education and the Director for the Native Indian Teacher Education Program (NITEP) in the Faculty of Education, University of British Columbia. Since 1992, she has co-edited an annual theme issue of the Canada Journal of Native Education. Dr. Archibald’s research interests relate to Indigenous knowledge systems, storywork/oral tradition, transformative education at all levels. Dr. Archibald received a National Aboriginal Achievement Award in 2000 for her work in education. She is the author of the book, Indigenous Storywork: Educating the Heart, Mind, Body, and Spirit, published in 2008 by UBC Press.

The honorary doctorate degree is the highest form of recognition granted by Capilano University and recognizes those who have made substantial contributions to society at the provincial, national and/or international levels. It is conferred upon those distinguished and widely recognized individuals who have outstanding and sustained achievement in their area of expertise and whose achievements are appropriate and relevant to the University.

Capilano University is a learner-centred university that serves the communities of the Lower Mainland, Howe Sound, and the Sunshine Coast through campuses in North Vancouver, Squamish and Sechelt. Enrolment totals 7,500 students in credit programs each term with an additional 7,000 people taking non-credit courses annually. Capilano offers a complete range of preparatory courses, university-level arts and science courses, business and management studies, creative and applied arts programs, health and human services programs, plus a range of services in support of student learning and success. Credentials awarded include bachelor degrees, associate degrees, post-baccalaureate diplomas, advanced diplomas, diplomas, certificates and statements of completion. More information can be found at www.capilanou.ca


Capilano University VP wins Women of Distinction Award

Capilano University’s vice-president of international programs, external relations and new initiatives, Catherine Vertesi, is a 2012 Women of Distinction Award recipient for her work in international education.

Friday, May 25, 2012
Contact:  Shelley Kean at 604.983.7596

(NORTH VANCOUVER, B.C.) – Congratulations to Catherine Vertesi, Capilano University’s vice-president, International, External Relations and New Initiatives, for winning a 2012 Women of Distinction Award.

Catherine was nominated in the Education, Training and Development category and honoured at the May 24 event in Vancouver for her work in international education.

“On behalf of the entire Capilano University campus community, I would like to say how proud we are of Catherine for her contributions to international education at the local, national and international levels,” said Capilano University’s president, Dr. Kris Bulcroft. “This is an amazing capstone to a remarkable career.”

Catherine joined Capilano University (then College) as dean of Business programs in May 2001 and has been a vice-president since March 2006. She is the recipient of several awards for excellence in teaching, student service and in program innovation and has received the Canadian-wide award for Leadership in Internationalization from the Canadian Bureau of International Education. She was also a founding board member of the International Educators Association of Canada and is often requested to present on various issues in international education at conferences around the world.

Catherine is the former vice-chair of the board of the provincially-sponsored BC Council for International Education, and in 2011, she chaired the NAFSA: Association of International Educators Annual Conference that was held in Vancouver for approximately 10,000 attendees from more than 125 countries.

The YWCA’s Women of Distinction Awards is recognized nationally as one of Canada’s most prestigious awards program for women. It honours women whose outstanding achievements “contribute to the well-being and future of our community.” In addition to recognizing the nominees, this event highlights and raises funds for the programs and services that help improve the lives of more than 50,000 women and children each year.