Canada’s First International Partnership for a Pathway Program

  • Timothy J. Rahilly
  • Bev Hudson


This chapter describes North America’s first international university pathway program, a partnership between Simon Fraser University (SFU) and Navitas. After extensive community consultation where strong arguments in favour (e.g., internationalising the institution, achieving enrollment targets in a competitive global market, creating a reliable revenue stream) and against (e.g., the commodification of education, resistance to a private- for- profit partner) were heard, the University Board approved an agreement between the University and Navitas to open a pathway college. Fraser International College (FIC) opened in temporary facilities and welcomed its first students in 2006. Eleven years later, the partnership is considered a great success except by those who retain a philosophical opposition to a public-private partnership in a higher education context. FIC has over 2,700 students from over 60 countries and more than 2,500 students have transferred to and are either currently studying in or have graduated from SFU. The SFU/FIC partnership has served as a model in Canada and a similarly successful program was subsequently founded at the University of Manitoba. Other Canadian institutions have since implemented pathway programs, either with a private partner, or on their own. However, they have yet to have the level of success of the SFU and University of Manitoba partnerships. This chapter outlines the antecedent history leading to the formation of the pathway partnership as well as the University’s student recruitment and retention goals. Lessons learned regarding partnerships with academic and administrative units, separation and integration of student support programs, and how the two institutions both draw and blur lines between its students are also discussed. The success of the partnership has resulted in significant change at the University. The challenges and benefits that accompanied this change are discussed in terms of the academic and non-academic aspects of campus life. The chapter concludes with a reflection and observations about these types of partnerships and about change management at large institutions.


Navitas Simon Fraser University Fraser International College Pathway programs Public-private partnership Privatisation Internationalisation Student success Academic success Canada 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Simon Fraser UniversityVancouverCanada
  2. 2.Navitas North AmericaVancouverCanada

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