VIU Wins BC Top Employer Honours

VIU BC Top Employer


February 24, 2020 - 1:45pm

Vancouver Island University (VIU) has been named one of BC’s Top Employers for 2020.

This recognition is awarded from Canada’s Top 100 Employers, a national program to determine which employers lead their industries in offering an exceptional workplace experience. VIU won the BC Top Employer award with its first application to the program. The evaluation criteria for this recognition is based on many factors including the physical workplace; work atmosphere and social, health, financial and family benefits; vacation and other leaves; internal communications; performance and professional development; and community involvement.

The article below, which was published in the Vancouver Sun, highlights some of the reasons VIU was chosen. 

Education is for everyone at Vancouver Island University 

Being situated in a beautiful environment with easy access to kayaking, rock climbing, paddle boarding, surfing and more are big attractions of Vancouver Island University (VIU). But an even bigger draw for employees is the institution’s mission.

“Our key slogan is Matter Here,” says Dan VanderSluis, associate vice-president of human resources. “We take that very seriously, for both students and employees.”

A key initiative of the University is Access to Excellence — and that access applies to everyone.

“We welcome students from all demographics and grade point levels, and we help them along their journey to completion,” he says. “And this while being an example of excellence, where our President’s Scholarships attract top high school students.”

Spread across four coastal campuses, the main one in Nanaimo, VIU was also the first post-secondary institution in B.C. to offer free tuition to youth who lived in foster care. Two years ago, the provincial government turned the university’s initiative into a province-wide policy. In addition, VIU is a national leader in Indigenous education, including a recent partnership with the MasterCard Foundation. This partnership provides designated funding and supports to Indigenous students.

“Our focus on social innovation and commitment to non-traditional learners typically overlooked in traditional university systems is what gets folks excited about working here,” says VanderSluis. “It’s more than just a job.”

And along the way, there are plenty of professional and personal development opportunities for employees. In her 15 years at VIU, Tina Schultz has worked in a few departments.

“I’m a bit of a learning junkie, so it’s been so valuable for me,” says Schultz, a professional practice liaison technician.

Aside from job opportunities, employees can take credit courses at no cost, with the possibility of working towards a degree or certificate. Schultz was one of four employees selected to do an annual one-year leadership program.

“It was a really incredible experience,” she says. “Not only did I get paid for my wages at that course for a year, I ended up with great credentials.”

Training and development funds have had a high uptake from staff at all levels.

“Because we’re a university, we put a high degree of emphasis on educational opportunities,” says VanderSluis, adding that employees are supported in those endeavours at VIU and other institutions of their choice.

But, as Schultz notes, employees are not the only beneficiaries.

“In the end,” she says, “the more we do, the more we are able to help students with their success.”

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