Chair's Report - June Board Meeting

July 20, 2023

This report contains general updates and a summary of the topics discussed at Board. Items discussed at this meeting represent matters of importance at the highest level of the institution, and these reports will help provide context and clarity around the progression of major projects and decisions.

You can read President Johnson’s report from the meeting here.

At the June 29 Board meeting, we discussed several matters of critical importance to the university, including progress on SFU’s sustainability and climate action work. Here is a summary of recent news from the Board.

Updates to Board membership

We are pleased to share that five of our Board Order-In-Council members have been reappointed to their positions by the Province.

  • Angela George is reappointed for a term ending July 31, 2025
  • Gregory Malpass is reappointed for a term ending July 31, 2025
  • Kamal Basra is reappointed for a term ending July 31, 2026
  • Paula Martin is reappointed for a term ending January 15, 2026
  • Michael McDonald is reappointed for a term ending July 31, 2026

Each of these members has made important contributions to the Board. We are pleased to have them back for another term and look forward to continued work together.

Thank you to Wade Parkhouse

This was the final Board meeting attended by Wade Parkhouse, SFU’s Provost and Vice-President pro tem. During his time in this role, the Board saw Wade demonstrate incredible leadership, dedication and commitment to SFU’s academic mission. On behalf of the Board, I want to thank Wade for his work and wish him all the best as he moves into the next stage of his life.

Graduate student support

Thank you to members of SFU’s Teaching Staff Support Union (TSSU) who addressed the Board and spoke passionately about the need for the university to support graduate students. At this meeting, the executive team also provided an update on bargaining progress.

We recognize that these are difficult economic times. At the closed session of this Board meeting, the executive team brought a proposal to Board in response to our feedback from the March meeting that will provide additional support for PhD students, and we are aware that a longer-term plan is under development. The Board is committed to working with the executive team to find additional ways to support graduate students.

Financial statements submitted

Since the last Board meeting, the university has submitted its 2022/23 Finance Annual Report with audited financial statements. These statements have been reviewed and approved by the Board.

We continue to operate in challenging economic times, with a revenue shortfall projected for the 2023/24 fiscal year. However, I have full confidence in the university’s ability to manage these challenges and ensure long-term financial stability.

I encourage community members to review the report and gain a better understanding of the university’s financial situation, as well as learning more about what an accounting surplus means in the context of the university budget.

Research Ethics Board update

During closed session, the Special Joint Committee of the Board, Senate, and Research Ethics Board shared an update on their review of Policy R20.01 and Procedures - Ethics Review of Research Involving Human Participants. The Special Joint Committee have recommended changes, which the Board approved subject to Senate approval and consultation. Senate has since approved the changes.

Hydrogen Hub

Thank you to Lauren Sloboda and Dugan O’Neil for an engaging discussion around the proposed SFU Hydrogen Hub. The Board is in full support of this project, and I appreciated our discussion around how Board members can contribute by connecting the project team with leaders in industry and community.

To me, SFU’s approach to this work demonstrates what is different about this university—a true commitment to using our time, resources and expertise to make a meaningful impact in the communities we serve.

I hope that everyone finds time to rest and relax this summer. Community members are invited to attend our next Board meeting, on September 28 at the Surrey campus. More details and a full schedule of upcoming meetings and locations can be found on our website.

Angie Lamarsh
Chair, Board of Governors
Simon Fraser University