Office of the President

Andrew Petter, President and Vice-Chancellor

President's Goals and Objectives 2011-12

1. Context:  Last Year’s Goals  

In order to situate these in a broader context, it might be helpful to review the longer term goals I identified in the President’s Agenda that I provided the Board last year. These were to build upon the university’s existing strengths to establish SFU as:

  • A university of choice for undergraduate students;
  • A research leader amongst Canadian comprehensive universities;
  • A national model of university-community engagement.

Drawing upon these same strengths, and consistent with these goals, I argued that SFU had an opportunity to develop a strategic vision that, over time, could help to define and differentiate it as the best university of its kind.  I therefore committed to engaging the SFU community, as well as communities we serve, in a consultative process aimed at developing a strategic vision that would serve to distinguish, guide and inspire the university over the next five years. 

2. Moving Forward:  Finalizing and Harnessing and the Strategic Vision

In light of the above, I have two overarching goals for the coming year.  The first of these is to complete the strategic visioning process that is underway and to bring it to a successful conclusion.  This requires the finalization of a strategic vision that can serve the objectives referred to above and enjoys the support of the university community as expressed through its Senate and Board of Governors.  

Completion of this process will give rise to another, namely that of harnessing the strategic vision to advance SFU’s standing and, over time, to establish it as the best university of its kind.  This will involve a major institutional effort that draws upon the strategic vision to build strength, to demonstrate results, to gain reputation and to attract believers.  As Jim Collins explains in Good to Great and the Social Sectors, this is an arduous and protracted endeavor requiring ongoing dedication and energy.

Thus my second overarching goal for next year is to initiate and lead this subsequent process starting with the launch of the strategic vision in 2012.  In doing so, I will work with the university community to develop and demonstrate SFU’s strengths, to foster a deeper sense of shared mission, and to build SFU’s reputation at home and abroad. 

Commitment to this second goal implies my further commitment to the goals set out in the strategic vision (which will succeed the long-term goals I articulated last year).  The recent envision>SFU discussion paper proposes that these goals draw upon the vision of SFU as “the leading engaged research university defined by its dynamic integration of innovative education, cutting edge research, and far-reaching community engagement. Based upon this vision, the paper suggests the following three goals:  

  1. To equip SFU students with the knowledge, skills, and experiences that prepares them for life in an ever-changing and challenging world.
  2. To be a world leader in knowledge mobilization founded on research excellence, interdisciplinarity, and reciprocal community engagement.
  3. To be Canada’s most community-engaged research university.

The paper goes on to note that “[t]he success of these goals depends not just on their individual implementation but on their integration – on the degree to which each contributes to the others.”  It also provides an explanation of each proposed goal together with selected objectives. 

While the goals associated with the strategic vision will not be finalized until the vision is approved, the above represents my current thinking and best sense regarding their likely nature and content. Once they are approved, I will work with the executive and others to ensure their smooth inclusion into SFU’s planning framework and to facilitate alignment of the vision and with other parts of the framework.

3. Other Notable Goals

The following represent some of my other notable goals for the coming year.  My role with respect to these in most cases will be to provide leadership and support in relation to plans and activities that are directed by others.

  • Continue implementing the Academic Plan and Strategic Research Plan, including efforts to improve our learning and research environments and to promote interdisciplinary engagement amongst students and faculty.
  • Further developing SFU’s strategic approach to budgeting and enrolment management aimed at strengthening our fiscal position, improving institutional quality, and maintaining access for qualified students.
  • Developing and implementing strategic plans, and strengthening institutional capacities, to guide and support government relations, international relations, and marketing and communications activities.
  • Building and promoting SFU’s commitment to community engagement, including initiating an initiative to establish SFU as BC’s premier forum for dialogue and public engagement concerning major issues of public policy.
  • Pursuing fundraising and alumni activities, including preparation of a 50th Anniversary Campaign and completion and implementation of a strategic plan for alumni engagement.
  • Continue implementing the Aboriginal Strategic Plan, including initiatives to increase the numbers of Aboriginal students, faculty and staff, and efforts to improve facilities to support Aboriginal needs;
  • Implementing SFU’s capital plan, including:
    • pursuing provincial support for the staged expansion of facilities (and associated programs) at our Surrey campus;
    • collaborating with other post-secondary institutions to seek funding to cover the costs of deferred maintenance with respect to existing facilities;
    • developing a financially viable plan to secure facilities in Vancouver to meet SFU’s needs when the Harbour Centre lease expires in 2017.
  • Developing an institutional strategy and structure to guide and promote SFU’s sustainability commitments.  
  • Exploring new means and opportunities for engagement with faculty, students and staff.
  • Planning and implementing a multitude of ceremonies and special events, including an SFU Open House. In the spring of 2012.