Geoffrey Bursill-Hall received his B.A. from the University of Cambridge in 1948, and in 1949, he joined the French Department at the University of British Columbia. In 1957, he took leave from UBC to complete his doctoral studies at the University of London and he received his Ph.D. in 1959. By 1964, Bursill-Hall was an associate professor when he was hired as the head of the Department of Modern Languages at SFU. Bursill-Hall built the Department to treat language as distinct from literature, contrary to how language was taught in the rest of Canada, and with linguists of diverse academic views to expose students to a variety of opinions.
Ishbel Galloway, received her M.A. in American Studies from the University of Manchester in 1975. After immigrating to Canada in the 1970s, she pursued further studies at Concordia University in Montreal and received her M.A. in Applied Linguistics. She lived in Montreal for several years teaching at both Concordia and McGill before she came to Simon Fraser University in the mid-nineties, where she was a lecturer in Linguistics. Galloway taught classes on academic writing and she taught English as an additional language in the English Bridge Program for international students. Her research examined English as a foreign language acquisition and the development of academic literacy and the use of computers in language training. She has also studied cross-cultural aspects of academic writing. Galloway is now retired
Neville Lincoln received his B.A. from the University of London. He pursued graduate studies at the University of Alberta and wrote his thesis on the phonology of the Métis dialect of St. Paul, Alberta. He received his M.A. in Linguistics in 1963. He then studied at Cornell University, where he received a Ph.D. in Anthropology and Linguistics in 1969. In 1966, he was appointed as an assistant professor of French and Linguistics in the Department of Modern Languages at Simon Fraser University. Despite his relative youth and inexperience, Lincoln was made the chair of the Department in 1969, a position he held for four years. He was promoted to the rank of associate professor in 1978.
Paul McFetridge first came to Simon Fraser University as an undergraduate student. After receiving his B.A. in Linguistics, he pursued postgraduate studies at SFU under the supervisor of Dr. James Foley, a student of Noam Chomsky. He received his M.A. in 1982 after completing a thesis entitled “Linguistic Change by Rule Generalization as Illustrated by Portuguese Nasalization and Radical Vowel Alternations”. His doctoral studies resulted in a thesis entitled “A Theoretical Phonology of Old English” and he received his Ph.D. in 1989, the year the Department of Linguistics was created.
Ross Saunders received his B.A. in Russian with a certificate in Russian Area Studies from Pennsylvania State University in 1961. He then pursued postgraduate studies in Slavic Linguistics at Brown University, and was awarded his M.A. in 1964 and his Ph.D. in 1969. From 1959 t0 1962 he worked as a translator of Russian scientific materials at Penn State; his first publication, published under the name Dmitri R. Saunders, was Catalog of Fossil Spores and Pollen (1961 and 1962), a translation of palynological descriptions of the Jurassic, Triassic, and Cretaceous periods written by Russian scientists. Saunders was a charter faculty member of Simon Fraser University; he joined the Department of Modern Languages as an instructor of Russian and Slavic Linguistics in 1965.