Vision and Mission

Our Vision

To be the leading Geography Department in Canada, globally known for our creative, cutting-edge research that defines the evolving discipline and fuels the education of informed and responsible global citizens through innovative, engaged and relevant teaching.

Our Mission

The mission of the Department of Geography at Simon Fraser University is to stimulate and promote excellence in geographic scholarship through:

  • dedication to the conduct, publication and broader dissemination of leading-edge research that matters;
  • commitment to undergraduate students to provide a learning environment that fosters knowledge, skills and experiences that prepare them for life in an ever-changing world, and engages, inspires and challenges them to become informed global citizens;
  • commitment to provide a research-based, mentorship model of graduate education, and to graduate masters and doctoral students who meet the highest international standards, and are skillful communicators, and informed and responsible global citizens and leaders;
  • service to the community by disseminating geographic knowledge and by providing geographic insights on important societal issues.

Our Guiding Values

Space and place matter: They drive a broader understanding of environment that includes natural, built, social and organizational environments, and necessarily includes theory, science, policy and practice and embraces other traditions of enquiry that are not motivated by questions of human-nature relations, such as the many cultural, social, and economic aspects of urban studies and sustainable communities, the geological tradition in earth sciences, and the society-space tradition in geography.

The power of ideas and skills: We pursue and value discovery and creation of new knowledge and innovative educational approaches that foster ways of thinking, knowledge, skills and experiences that engage, inspire and challenge our students, staff, faculty, alumni and community members to become better informed and responsible global citizens.

Learning by doing: We practice and value experiential learning in its many varied forms throughout our geography curriculum. Given the multifaceted nature of geographical knowledge, we are committed to providing active, student-centered learning environments such as fieldwork and project-based exercises. Such learning experiences promote understanding of practical applications of geographic concepts to solve real world problems; enhance critical thinking; develop communication and interpersonal skills for working effectively in teams and community settings; and, encourage the acquisition of transferable skills for various job markets.

Interdisciplinarity: As a discipline that straddles the natural, social and information sciences we embrace interdisciplinarity and value the advances in knowledge and understanding that can be made at the intersections of disciplines.

Diversity: We value diversity in the Department and University. It is a fundamental source of insight and innovation for our research and teaching practices, and it enriches all communities inside and outside academia. Diversity helps make space for the excluded by addressing injustices that prevent marginalized groups from participating in University life as students, faculty and staff. We are committed to learning from and putting into practice contemporary initiatives concerned with promoting equity, diversity and inclusivity in educational contexts such as indigenization and participatory research with local communities.

Collegiality: We value an environment of equity and inclusion in which people treat one another with honesty, respect and with each other’s best interests in mind. We value fair, transparent and inclusive decision making.