Office of the President

Andrew Petter, President and Vice-Chancellor

Petter's Perspective: Notes from the President


SFU is Canada’s Top Comprehensive University – and so much more

October 13, 2017

Simon Fraser University is again ranked as Canada’s top comprehensive university in the 2018 Maclean’s rankings. It’s an honour we have held nine times in the past ten years, and affirms what we at SFU already know – we’re a great university.

And others know it too. As remarkable as our first place finish in the comprehensive category is the fact that our reputational ranking rose from 10th to 9th against all Canadian universities, including older, more established institutions with medical schools.

But rankings are not the only measure of greatness. What defines SFU, and distinguishes us from our competitors, is our ability and passion to engage.  

Our vision to be Canada’s “engaged university” challenges us to provide a “dynamic integration of innovative education, cutting-edge research and far-reaching community engagement."

The vision speaks to our strengths in engaging students through some of the most ambitious experiential education programs in Canada. The Maclean’s profile describes SFU as a “choose your own adventure” kind of university, and I couldn’t agree more.

Students have myriad opportunities to apply their academic knowledge inside and outside the classroom: through community-based learning, co-operative education, volunteerism, study abroad, field schools and more.

Our vision encourages our researchers to engage – to connect their insights and discoveries with the communities we serve – to enrich public discourse, to gain community knowledge, and to put their ideas to work in service of social, economic, environmental and cultural goals.

To that end, we’ve formed extraordinary connections with community organizations, industry, governments and other post-secondary institutions to foster research opportunities and to support economic and social innovation.

The vision calls upon us “to be British Columbia’s public square for enlightenment and dialogue on key public issues.”  Whether as a convener of public forums, workshops and dialogues through SFU Public Square, or through the plethora of other programs in which we host conversations with and for the communities we serve, SFU is committed to being a catalyst for strengthening the social, cultural and civic fabric of our communities.

Pursuing this vision of engagement, while maintaining our standing in the Maclean’s ranking, is a testament to the excellence of our faculty, the dedication of our staff, the talents of our students, and the quality of our academic programs.

The rankings are just one indicator of SFU’s growing national and international reputation.  But we have much more to be proud of as we continue to build Canada’s engaged university. Let’s keep the momentum going!

With three campuses, three semesters, cutting-edge programming and a passion to engage, SFU is Canada's Top Comprehensive University - and so much more!