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Former Public University Chairman Debunks Private University Myths


Adler University stands out in Vancouver

By Justin P. Goodrich, LL.M.

As the former board chair of a public university In Canada I’ll be the first to admit that I had a less than favourable view of private universities – that is until I joined the Department of Public Policy and Administration at Adler University.

Though common place in the United States, in Canada private universities are rare. In British Columbia there are only a few, and of those few, only a couple of them have managed to gain the reputational status of many public universities. Thus, imagine my surprise when I started to dig into what Adler University was all about.

The first thing that struck me was its Board Chair, Joy MacPhail. A former member of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia, Joy served in a variety of roles, including Minister of Health, Minister of Finance, Deputy Premier and Leader of the Opposition. Currently, in addition to serving as Board Chair of Adler University she is also the Board Chair of the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia; a provincial Crown corporation. Given her exceptional service to the Province of British Columbia, Joy has earned the respect of those on both sides of the political aisle and her involvement with Adler speaks volumes about its credibility.

The next thing that struck me is that even though Adler is a private university, it still has to meet the academic rigour as required as the Degree Quality Assessment Board (DQAB) under the British Columbia Ministry of Advanced Education. In other words, the quality of education provided by Adler must meet the same standards as that of a public university. Additionally, Adler University is the only private university in British Columbia that offers a doctoral program.

Several interesting aspects of Adler University also speak to the organization’s credibility.

The first is that Adler’s roots date as far back as the 1970’s. In fact, it has been around just as long as many public universities, which started as colleges and gained university status over the past decade or so. Adler isn’t a newcomer – it’s an established institution in Vancouver.

The second is that Adler University is a registered charity. Unlike some private universities that are for-profit, Adler is registered as a non-profit: the Adler University Vancouver Foundation.

Now, let’s discuss its unique value proposition.

Adler University is Canada’s only university dedicated to social justice, centering exclusively on graduate education with a focus psychology, counselling, or public policy. While some see its narrow focus as problematic, I would argue that serves its student well.

From small class sizes to faculty members who bring a healthy balance of scholarship and lived-experience, students are afforded the opportunity for regular, meaningful engagement with their instructors – something that enriches their academic journey in a powerful way.

Finally, Adler University is able to position itself as the perfect community partner. In fact, Adler has over 200 partnerships with service providers right here in Vancouver! This gives students the opportunity for numerous internship and practicum experiences that not only enrich their education, but also allow them to make a real difference in the community.

Not all private universities can be compared to public universities in Canada – but Adler can. As we’ve often told our children… never judge a book by its cover!

If you’re interested in learning more about Adler University and the programs we offer, contact our Admissions team or fill out the “Request Information” form today!