Vancouver Island University (formerly known as Malaspina University-College and before that as Malaspina College) is a Canadian public university serving in Vancouver Island and coastal British Columbia. Established in 1969 as Malaspina College, it has grown into a university that plays an important role in the educational, cultural, and economic life of the region. The main campus is located in Nanaimo, and there are regional campuses in Duncan and Powell River, and a campus centre in Parksville. Vancouver Island University was founded in 1969 as Malaspina College, named after Captain Alexandro Malaspina, who explored Vancouver Island. Following a 1988 government initiative designed to increase access to degree programs in British Columbia, five community colleges in BC were granted authority to offer baccalaureate degrees, and these five institutions — Malaspina, Fraser Valley, Kwantlen, Cariboo and Okanagan — were renamed university colleges. Initially, they offered degrees through one of the three provincial universities. Occupying three campuses and a number of facilities including a centre in Parksville/Qualicum; the Deep Bay Marine Field Station; and Milner Gardens and Woodlands, VIU has had many renovations and major developments in the past few years to accommodate its growing student body and faculty. Nanaimo Campus Cowichan Campus Powell River Campus Parksville·Qualicum Centre Duncan Campus Vancouver Island University offers exchange programs that allow students to study for one or two semesters overseas while remaining registered at Vancouver Island University. Current partner institutions are located in Australia, England, Finland, France, Japan, Korea, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Switzerland and the USA. Vancouver Island University also offers short-term study abroad options in some program areas; destination countries include Belgium, Belize, the Cook Islands, Indonesia, Italy, USA (New York), Tanzania, Korea, France, and Spain. Additionally, Vancouver Island University supports field schools, co-ops, practicum placements and development projects, has sister-school agreements with Japan, Korea and Thailand and educational alliances with schools in Taiwan, China, Mexico, India and Turkey.