SFU's Strategic Community Engagement Plan

July 2019 | In 2013, SFU’s vision and mission were redeveloped under a bold commitment to engage students, engage research and engage community. Significant progress was made, building on decades of deep community engagement by SFU faculty, staff and students, and with support from the community. This document took stock of where we’d been, considered what we’d heard and learned – from our community partners and our faculty, staff and students – and sought to continue the process of articulating a shared vision and purpose for community engagement at SFU.

Document Revision history:
  • February 2024 – Original document set in SFU branded style with minor corrections
  • July 2019 – Original document released

Background

In 2011/12, thousands of students, staff, and faculty – and many thousands more alumni, friends, and supporters – joined the envision>SFU consultation process to identify core strengths on which SFU might build its future. What emerged was a vision of SFU as a leading engaged university defined by its dynamic integration of innovative education, cutting-edge research, and far-reaching community engagement.

In 2013 SFU mobilized an ambitious strategic plan for community engagement, prioritizing it as a foundational pillar alongside the university’s academic plan and strategic research plan. The 2013 Community Engagement Strategy defined five priority areas for plans of action: 1) Integration, 2) Reach, 3) Relationships, 4) Lifelong Learning, and 5) Being BC’s public square for dialogue on key public issues. Much progress had been made, documented in various reports for the North West Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU) and several internal reports. What had become clear was that SFU’s dynamic vision for the deep integration of community engagement had set SFU apart.

Building off of work in 2017 to re-engage the campus community around the university’s vision, it was becoming clear that SFU’s distributed approach was allowing for powerful community engagement work to take place. Synthesizing feedback from numerous consultations – with staff, faculty, partners, deans, and VPs – it was becoming clear that specific actions needed to be defined with community, where work was taking place. The 2019 Strategic Community Engagement Plan was envisioned as a document to support action definition at the local project level, aligned by articulated principles for how community engagement should take place.