The front entrance to the VIU Cowichan building in Duncan

A community-based approach to post-secondary education

April 24, 2023

VIU’s Cowichan campus offers Q’ushin’tul

Preparing for your first year of university can be stressful. Choosing the right courses, fitting them into a schedule that works – it’s a lot. And the thought of being alone in a crowd of strangers in an unfamiliar place can be overwhelming. A new approach to learning at VIU’s Cowichan campus in Duncan is ready to help you not only manage but thrive in your post-secondary career. Here’s what it’s all about. 

What is Q’ushin’tul and how does it work? 

Q’ushin’tul is a new cohort model of learning, designed and open for all first-year students at VIU’s Cowichan campus in Duncan. The name Q’ushin’tul was given to the program by VIU Elder-in-Residence Marlene Rice and means “walking together.” You’ll take three courses per semester with the same group of peers (your cohort). This offers consistency, familiarity and  friendship as you navigate university. There’s room to register for more courses if you want, but you don’t have to. All Q’ushin’tul courses count towards various degrees and academic pathways. The courses are woven together in creative ways – and they’re delivered with consideration to culture, and to how knowledge is traditionally kept and passed along. Students, faculty and support staff are all teaming up to provide a balanced approached to post-secondary education. 

What are the benefits of learning together in a cohort model?

The cohort model helps you feel more connected and able to ask questions of your peers and professors. Moving through courses together means deeper relationships are formed. By having familiar faces in each class and extra supports in the Registrar’s office, Advising and the Writing Centre, you will feel a sense of belonging that is really important to a successful university career. 

What kind of students would thrive in a learning community like this? 

This learning community is for you if you: 

  • Have enrolled in a degree program but want to feel more connected and supported in your studies;
  • Want to explore some non-traditional course design elements; or
  • Think you might change your mind (and your program) after the first year. 

 The Q’ushin’tul bundle of courses is structured so that you will be able to achieve some compulsory courses common across many degree programs mixed in with interesting electives that suit a broad list of possible degrees.

How was the Q’ushin’tul mix of courses determined? 

Q’ushin’tul was developed so that students from different degree programs could make friends and have a great time learning, while also accomplishing key required credits in their first year.

Fall 2023:

  • ENGL 115 - (University Writing and Research)
  • THEA 115 - (Participatory Drama I)
  • HHS 263 - (Elder Teachings Across Disciplines)

Spring 2024:

  • CRIM 200 - (First Peoples, Colonization, and Justice)
  • SCIE 254 - (Our Physical World)
  • MARK 160 - (Introduction to Marketing)

How do students join? 

You apply to VIU in the normal way, then declare your interest in being part of the Q’ushin’tul cohort by emailing:

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