(L to R) David Zandvliet, Helen Wussow, research assistant Joanne Provencal, Sean Markey and Joanne Curry. (Missing: John Pierce.)

SFU's Mission: Community and Citizenship

November 04, 2010

Team lead Joanne Curry is so enthused about her Community and Citizenship theme team’s work on the accreditation project and the 2010-13 academic plan, she could write a book on it.

In fact, the Surrey campus executive director, who has just begun a doctorate in business administration, will probably do exactly that a few years from now when she writes her thesis.

“I would have been interested in being a member of this committee just because of my practical experience and role at SFU Surrey,” says Curry. “But I’m so passionate about the topic, I want to do my thesis in this area as well.”

Curry’s team members include environment faculty dean John Pierce, continuing studies dean Helen Wussow, geographer Sean Markey, an assistant professor with Surrey’s Explorations in Arts and Social Sciences program, and associate education professor David Zandvliet.

“We’re fortunate to have this expertise around the table,” says Curry. “My teammates are all very dedicated to community engagement and citizenship so this particular theme is really important to them.”

Like the other theme teams, Curry’s group is currently more focused on carrying out their core-theme assessment for the accreditation self-study due next spring. But she says their accreditation and academic planning tasks are closely integrated.

The group is assessing the university’s efforts to link all three campuses more closely to their communities by making its learning opportunities, community service and research results more accessible.

Those efforts could include closer ties with Aboriginal and immigrant communities, more strategically focused non-credit programs, local and global community work and learning opportunities for students and closer links with alumni.

“We know what our goals and objectives are,” says Curry. “Our biggest challenge is figuring out how to accurately assess our performance in achieving them.”

But she adds, “What’s important about the accreditation process is that it helps to ensure you have the planning and measurement processes in place to answer questions like, what are you trying to do? How are you trying to do it? And how will you know if you’ve achieved it?

“This process gives us a great opportunity to better articulate SFU’s goals and objectives and to assess our methods for measuring outcomes in all our core theme areas.”

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