SFU becomes first Canadian research university to gain U.S. accreditation

August 02, 2016

By Wan Yee Lok

After a seven-year comprehensive and rigorous process, SFU has been granted accreditation by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU). Accreditation gives the University added recognition for its commitment to excellence and for the quality of its programs, particularly in the international arena.

“SFU’s success in the NWCCU accreditation process is evidence of our commitment to assessing and improving the quality of our programs, and to building our reputation worldwide,” says SFU President Andrew Petter.

“My heartfelt thanks goes out to all those at the University who worked so hard over the past seven years to make this extraordinary achievement possible.”

In its decision to accredit the University, the NWCCU commended SFU for its commitment to accreditation and to the role of faculty governance in maintaining academic freedom. NWCCU also commended the University for supporting faculty growth and professional development in teaching, developing a culture that defines and assesses educational goals, establishing a comprehensive institutional planning framework, and creating a transparent, collegial and mutually supportive environment. 

It also drew particular attention to SFU’s remarkably rich and varied community engagement programs that reflect and underscore the institution's mission and vision, and which support its integration into the community as well as nurturing its long-term partnerships.

“The standards set collectively by the members of NWCCU require us to be transparent and accountable to our students, our employees and to those who fund our operations," says SFU Provost and VP Academic Jon Driver.

"Regular review of our performance across a wide range of activities can only help us become better at achieving our goals.” 

Accreditation significantly benefits the University and its students. These benefits include demonstrated ongoing accountability to ensure SFU meets the highest academic standards, defined educational benefits around innovation areas, collaboration and community engagement, and the ability to independently assess its compliance with standards of best practices. 

Accreditation is also expected to attract future students who wish to make an impact internationally, and will further enhance the value of an SFU degree for alumni living abroad and for international students. 

Finally, accreditation also lets SFU athletes participate in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), which connects the University to broader audiences and opportunities in sport.