Virtual Orientation

Please use this section to get settled, find support and take advantage of university services. 

The new Research Commons space in the SFU Library contains lots of writing space and bookable meeting rooms for grad students.

Attend Events in "Month of Orientation"

Getting to know a new university is a lengthy process, and many orientation and welcome events take place throughout September.

Note: Fall 2017 dates for the following events have not yet been announced but we're keeping this page live so that you can see the range of activities in September.

SFU's Teaching and Learning Centre hosts a large TA/TM Day event for all teaching assistants and tutor-markers. The event is free and open to current TAs/TMs as well as anyone who is interested in becoming a TA or TM. It will be held on Friday, September 9, 2016, 8:30 am–4 pm.

The schedule also usually includes an opportunity to find out more about TA/TM employee medical coverage and get help with the employee medical insurance forms. See brief video from 2010.

After TA/TM Day, the TSSU and GSS host a social in the Pub.

Resource: A Guide for Teaching Assistants at SFU

See also: Instructional Skills Workshops

APEX Professional Development Certificate
Our APEX Certificate Program is an additional accreditation for all graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. This program will help you get engaged in professional opportunities, become aware of and improve your transferable skill set, and explore career opportunities of interest to you. 

The program uses a blended model involving face-to-face workshops supplemented by online materials. Review our webpages to read all about the program and how to get started

Workshop dates will be announced mid-August. You can view past APEX workshops and events on the APEX Just-in-Time Calendar.

Library Orientation
The Research Commons at the SFU Library has many available workshops for graduate students, from writing in lay language to R programming for non-science majors to writing good abstracts, proposals, riting business plans and more.  

You can also set up your own library orientation for any time

See also their full list of Upcoming Workshops and more information on the Research Commons, including a link to how to get the code to the new open writing and group meeting work space for graduate students (see photo above).

Awards Application Workshops
If you are planning to apply for NSERC, SSHRC or CIHR scholarships, we will be offering workshops on the application process in the fall term. See our Graduate Studies Events page.

Medical Insurance for TAs and RAs
SFU's Human Resources will host a benefits info session for TAs and RAs during the lunch break on TA/TM Day, Friday, September 9. This will take place in Halpern Centre at the Burnaby campus, room 114, from approximately 12:30–1 pm. Click here for more information.

More information and application forms: (Note that coverage is not automatic — you must apply to enroll in benefits.)

See also: Medical Insurance for graduate students

New and Young Worker Health & Safety Orientation
The New & Young Worker Health & Safety Orientation is mandatory for all new employees hired to perform work at SFU.  SFU is required to provide workers with orientation and training about safe work procedures and how to recognize hazards on the job before they start work. The Orientation is provided in Canvas and topics such as hazard and incident reporting, roles & responsibilities, worker rights, health & safety committees, emergency response, working alone and workplace bullying & harassment will be covered.

Gym Tours
SFU Recreation Services has free gym tours at any time for their Burnaby campus facilities.

If you're based at another campus:


Just-In-Time International Teaching Assistant Seminar
This free 3-session mini course is designed to offer timely orientation and support to graduate teaching assistants who are new to the North American academia, and whose first language is not English. Saturday classes will be held on September 3, 10 and 17, 2016, on the Burnaby campus. Choose from morning or afternoon sessions.

The 10-week intensive ITA program for Fall 2016 is also open for registration. Classes begin at the end of September. Register online.

SFU Burnaby Week of Welcome
SFU Burnaby's "Week of Welcome" will take place from from Tuesday, September 6 to Friday, September 9.  Click here for more information.

SFU Surrey Week of Welcome
SFU Surrey will be hosting a "Week of Welcome" from September 6–9. Click here for more information.

SFU Vancouver Welcome Back Community BBQ
Dates for SFU Vancouver's Welcome Back event are TBA. Click here for more information.

Terry's CAUSE on Campus (Walk/Run)
On Friday, September 30, 2016, you are invited to join hundreds of SFU students, staff and faculty who will walk, run, volunteer and fundraise at this special event in honour of Terry Fox called Terry’s CAUSE.

Terry Fox was an 18-year-old SFU kinesiology student when he was diagnosed with cancer in 1977 and shortly afterwards he began training for the Marathon of Hope at the Burnaby campus.

Every year SFU honours Terry’s dream, determination and courage by hosting a walk/run event on all three SFU campuses in support of the Terry Fox Foundation.