Planning the Future, Assessing the Present

November 04, 2010

Welcome to the first issue of ViewPointAcademic, a newsletter produced by the office of the Vice President Academic (VPA) to keep members of the Simon Fraser University community abreast of current and future VPA initiatives.

This issue focuses on two major VPA projects—the 2010-13 academic plan and the accreditation project. Both will have a signifi cant impact on the university and its stakeholders in the years ahead.

SFU is in the midst of applying for institutional accreditation with the U.S.-based Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU), a certification process for which there is no equivalent in Canada.

The process is focused on SFU’s mission fulfillment, with an emphasis on how all its organizational units contribute collectively to the core themes of the university’s mission, rather than looking at individual units separately. The first stage of the process will result in a five-chapter self-study being submitted to the NWCCU in April 2011.

An evaluation team will visit SFU in fall 2011 to assess how the university applies its resources and capacities toward mission fulfi llment, as indicated in the self-study document. While here, the team will meet with senior administrators and host open forums for faculty, staff, students and other community members at all three campuses in Burnaby, Vancouver and Surrey.

To help evaluate whether post-secondary institutions are achieving their mission, the NWCCU requires them to select several core themes representing different components of their mission. SFU has identifi ed four core themes that closely align with themes in the academic plan: Teaching and Learning, Research, Student Experience and Success, and Community and Citizenship.

To facilitate the university-wide accreditation process, and to help the 75-per-cent of university units that fall within his portfolio implement the academic plan, VPA Jon Driver struck five teams last summer –one for each self-study theme plus a fi fth, Financial Sustainability and Institutional Strength team. The fi fth team’s work will be interwoven into the other four teams’ work on both the accreditation project and the academic plan.

Among other things in this issue, ViewPointAcademic introduces you to the fi ve theme teams, comprising some of the university’s brightest and most experienced academics and administrators, as they begin their labours in earnest.

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