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Emily Carr Institute becomes B.C.'s fifth new university

Two weeks ago B.C. was home to six public universities -- now there are 11

Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design was granted full university status Monday — the fifth new university to be announced by the provincial Liberal government in the past week. The school will now be known as the Emily Carr University of Art and Design.

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Premier Gordon Campbell was at the Vancouver waterfront campus Monday to make the announcement. He also announced last week that, pending a legislative amendment, Kwantlen University College will become Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Malaspina University College will become Vancouver Island University, the University College of the Fraser Valley will become the University of the Fraser Valley, and Capilano College will become Capilano University.

Emily Carr has been pushing for university status for more than 10 years. The institute has granted undergraduate degrees for almost 20 years and recently began offering master’s degrees. Institute president Ron Burnett said that the new designation will help the school attract talented students and faculty and open the door to more sources of funding. He also stressed that the new name will improve the school’s international reputation.

Emily Carr Institute was founded in 1925 as the Vancouver School of Decorative and Applied Arts. 4040 students are currently enroled and it is the only post-secondary institution in B.C. solely dedicated to art and design.

Robert Clift, executive director of the Confederation of University Faculty Associations of British Columbia, questioned whether the government is acting responsibly when designating new universities mere weeks after millions of dollars was siphoned out of post-secondary education. “There’s no new funding. It seems to me if this was a serious commitment to providing educational opportunities to [these] communities . . . that there would be some funding that would come along with that,” he said.

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