The Student Experience Initiative (SEI)

The Student Experience Initiative aims to enhance the experience of students by developing high-impact opportunities for engagement with the SFU community. Our mission is to create lasting platforms that help build relationships and connections across the SFU community for students, faculty and staff. In doing so, we hope to shift the SFU culture to become increasingly more student-focused and holistically supportive. Ultimately, we envision an accessible, healthy learning environment where students feel a sense of belonging.

Through our review of the research literature, SFU student survey data, and community consultations, we've identified eight broad key areas for action and formed working groups to gather ideas for student experience enhancement. We've also dedicated funds and resources to ensure that together we make a real difference.

Key Areas

We are looking for more students, faculty, and staff to get involved in these key areas.

Email: seinfo@sfu.ca

Through our review of the research literature, SFU student survey data, and community consultations, we've identified eight broad key areas for action and formed dedicated working groups. 

Working groups, composed of students, faculty, and staff, are being set up in each key area to bring together ideas on enhancing student experience. More details to come regarding direction and expectations as the work develops, so stay tuned. We've also dedicated funds and resources to ensure that together we make a real difference.

Destination SFU

Making the physical campuses more vibrant and exciting - a place where students want to stay and engage with their learning community, and where the wider community wants to visit.

 

Healthier Campus Community

Mental health and well-being have been identified by both undergraduate and graduate students as a key area of concern. We’ll work with the Healthy Campus Community Initiative to significantly advance activity in this area.

Navigating SFU

Providing effective and easy-to-use online and print tools for seamless access and interaction with SFU systems; supporting student-centred policies and processes for all three campuses.

 

 

Supervision for the 21st Century

Improving the supervisory experience for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows; bringing clarity and consistency around research assistantships.

Improving Communication with Students

Developing a university-wide strategy for communicating with students through channels and tools they use, with messaging they relate to in a coordinated manner across the University so that students are not overwhelmed by information-overload.

 

Building Community and Sense of Belonging

Evoking a sense of belonging and connection; ensuring SFU is a welcoming, safe, equitable, and inclusive community for all students; supporting transitions in and out, especially for those coming from different environments and bridging to new ones.

Home Away From Home

Creating spaces and opportunities for commuter students so that they want to stay on campus between classes and engage more fully with the SFU campus communities. 

 

 

Ideas Too Good To Ignore

Reserving space for ideas that may not fall squarely into any of the identified action areas above, but that are clearly ideas with high impact potential.

How You Can Contribute

Meaningful and sustainable student experience requires all of us, students, staff, and faculty, to work together to shift the culture toward more student-focused approaches and more holistic support. To achieve this culture shift, it's essential that we continuously seek feedback and involvement from the SFU community.

Working groups are currently being formed to take the lead in each key area for action, setting direction, expectations, budget, and deadlines. Their work is to gather and implement ideas that will positively impact student experience. Community involvement is important to this process!

See below for ways to get involved. If you have any questions, email seinfo@sfu.ca

Volunteer

Whether you are looking to volunteer on a specific key area or you are just passionate about student experience, whether you have significant time to commit or just occasional, there are many ways to get involved—serve on a working group in one of the key areas, provide feedback through a focus group, participate in a forum or survey. 

Please email seinfo@sfu.ca to join our volunteer network!

Currently, our working groups are still in the process of setting up.

  • Email us your name, email address, role at SFU (student, faculty, or staff),
    action area(s) of interest, and level of commitment (occasional vs. signification contribution).
  • We will then put your information in a database shared among all working groups.
  • Once the working groups are ready, they will either reach out for your help or consult you for your input.

Make a Suggestion 

If you have a suggestion on how to improve student experience, drop it off in the box below!

Your Suggestion

Your Name and Email Address (optional)

Your Role at SFU

Start a Conversation

We believe that shifting the culture starts with conversations. Student experience is different for every student, and the connection to student experience is different for staff and faculty members. Talking about what student experience means to us as unique individuals, how it affects us, and what we can do to improve it is the first step toward change.

Here are some ways to start:

  • talk about student experience with friends/colleagues/classmates
  • put student experience on meeting agendas
  • have hallway conversations about student experience

Share Your Work

There are numerous programs and activities that foster community and a sense of belonging for students already existing at SFU. If you are a part of a program, club, organization that does great work to improve student experience, let us know in the form below and help us create an even more connected learning community. 

Your Name and Email Address 

Affiliation (department, Faculty, club, unit, alumni)

Your Program or activity and how it enhances student experience

Submit a Project Idea

If you have a project idea for enhancing student experience that you feel fits in one or more of the SEI key areas and aligns with the SEI core values and design principles:

  • Fill out the form below with an overview of the idea and the key area(s) in which the idea fits.
  • You will be conncected with someone from the relevant WG for an initial interaction.

Your name

Your email address

Your role(s) (Department, Faculty, Unit, Alumni)

Overview of your project idea 

Key Area(s) that your project idea aligns with

Additional opportunities for faculty engagement 

Faculty are invited to apply for a Faculty Inquiry Grants: Student Learning Experience (FIG: SLE) of up to $6,000 to assist them in enhancing the student learning experience in their courses and programs. This grant program, established in association with the SEI and administrated by the Teaching and Learning Centre in partnership with the Library and Centre for English Language Learning, Teaching and Research, focuses on the academic aspect of the student experience at SFU.

For more information, visit sfu.ca/slegrants

 

The SEI Process

We are approaching this intiative in four phases.

P1. Gather information 

  • Review relevant literature
  • Review existing SFU student surveys data and feedback
  • Consult with community
  • Review what other institutions are doing

P1. Develop a framework of key areas for action

  • Identify broad key action areas with the highest potential impact based on information gathered

P2. Set up working groups to take the lead in each broad key area

  • Gather ideas for enhancement in key areas and spotlight signature events
  • Working groups identify multiple projects to implement

P3. Implementation

  • Support projects with high potential for impact and sustainaibility
  • Working groups monitors implementation
  • Evaluate impact of SEI projects developmentally

P4. Impact Evaluation

  • Evaluate overall impact as projects conclude
  • Evaluate overall impact of the Student Experience Initiative
  • Explore possibilities and make recommendations for sustainability post SEI support

Our Mission

Our goal is to shift the SFU culture by bringing together the community through meaningful connections and working together to improve student experience.

Our Vision

A connected and supportive learning community that approaches student needs holistically.

Core Values

1. STUDENT PARTICIPATION AND INVOLVEMENT IS AT THE CORE.

Students are at the centre of all SEI work. Their contributions and decisions are key to its success.

2. STUDENT EXPERIENCE IS EVERYBODY'S JOB.

Everyone at SFU has a direct or indirect impact on student experience. Responsibility for student experience is shared by the entire SFU community—students, staff and faculty.

3. A HOLISTIC VIEW OF THE STUDENT IS KEY.

The design of student support acknowledges the intersectional and multi-dimensional nature of student identities and responsibilities. Student support addresses the "whole person."

4. STUDENT EXPERIENCE IS DIFFERENT FOR DISTINCT SUB-GROUPS OF STUDENTS—CUSTOMIZED APPROACHES WILL BE NEEDED.

An activity intended to enhance student experience may positively affect some sub-groups and negatively affect other sub-groups. The uniqueness of student sub-groups is valued.

5. STUDENT EXPERIENCE SHOULD FEEL SEAMLESS ACROSS FACULTIES, SERVICE UNITS, AND CAMPUSES—COLLABORATION IS ESSENTIAL.

Advancing the student experience requires cross-unit communication and collaboration, including across the Faculties, between the Faculties and Service Units, and across all three campuses in order to provide an integrated system of support. 

Design Principles

1. STUDENT PARTICIPATION IN DESIGN, DEVELOPMENT, IMPLEMENTATION, AND EVALUATION OF THE PROJECTS IS ESSENTIAL.

Students are involved in all aspects of the Initiative.

2. FOCUS WILL BE ON KNOWN FRICTION POINTS AND GAME-CHANGERS.

Students have identified areas of concern. Selected projects will address solutions to these areas of concern.

3. PROJECTS WILL BE SUPPORTED ON ALL THREE CAMPUSES.

Student experience is unique at each of our campuses. Selected projects will address the uniqueness of each campus. 

4. WE WILL WORK FROM OUR STRENGTHS AND SEEK LEVERAGING OPPORTUNITIES WHEREVER POSSIBLE.

There are a lot of great things already happening at SFU. We will leverage existing opportunities and expertise through collaboration and collective implementation when possible.

5. PROJECTS WILL REFLECT THE SFU CONTEXT by being DATA-INFORMED AND EVIDENCE-BASED WHEREVER POSSIBLE.

Direction-setting for projects will be guided by research literature and best practice applied to a data-informed understanding of the local SFU context.

6. PROJECTS ARE ENCOURAGED FROM THE CURRICULAR, CO-CURRICULAR, AND EXTRA-CURRICULAR ENVIRONMENTS.

The curricular, co-curricular, and extra-curricular opportunities all impact student experience. Thus, action is required in all three environments.

7. OUTCOMES WILL BE ARTICULATED, MONITORED AND REPORTED OUT.

Project management processes will be implemented to track and evaluate the impact of projects. 

8. SUSTAINABILITY IS ESSENTIAL.

SEI funding is one-time funding. Projects will need to provide a plan for sustaining positive student experience beyond SEI funding.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SFU Views


Announcements

After a seven year, comprehensive and rigorous process, SFU is the first Canadian research university to be granted accreditation by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).  

View the Report on course-based experiential education across all SFU Faculties

View the 2013-2018 Academic Plan

View the Revised Report on Learning Outcomes and Assessment