media release

SFU granted initial accreditation from NWCCU

Simon Fraser University becomes the first Canadian research university to gain U.S. accreditation.

August 02, 2016


Wan Yee Lok, University Communications, 778.782.5987,
Kurt Heinrich, University Communications, 604.782.3404,

Simon Fraser University has become the first Canadian research university to be accredited in the United States.

After a seven year, comprehensive and rigorous process, SFU has been granted accreditation by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).  Accreditation will provide the university added recognition for its commitment to excellence and 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 the role of the faculty governance process in maintaining academic freedom. It also acknowledged the University for the support of faculty growth and professional development in teaching, for developing a culture of defining and assessing educational goals, for its comprehensive institutional planning framework, and for the creation of a transparent, collegial and mutually supportive environment.

It also drew particular attention to SFU’s remarkably rich and varied array of community engagement programs that reflect and underscore the mission and vision of the institution 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. Regular review of our performance across a wide range of activities can only help us become better at achieving our goals,” said SFU Provost and VP Academic Jon Driver.

The benefits of accreditation are significant for the university and its students. They include demonstrated ongoing accountability to ensure SFU meets the highest academic standards, defined educational benefits around areas of innovation, collaboration and community engagement and an opportunity 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 will also allow SFU athletics to participate in the NCAA, which connects the university to broader audiences and opportunities in sport.



As Canada's engaged university, SFU is defined by its dynamic integration of innovative education, cutting-edge research and far-reaching community engagement. SFU was founded 50 years ago with a mission to be a different kind of university—to bring an interdisciplinary approach to learning, embrace bold initiatives, and engage with communities near and far. Today, SFU is Canada’s leading comprehensive research university and is ranked one of the top universities in the world. With campuses in British Columbia’s three largest cities – Vancouver, Burnaby and Surrey – SFU has eight faculties, delivers almost 150 programs to over 35,000 students, and boasts more than 135,000 alumni in 130 countries around the world.


Simon Fraser University: Engaging Students. Engaging Research. Engaging Communities.

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