Chair's report - September Board Meeting

October 26, 2023

This report contains general updates and a summary of the topics discussed at the September 28 Board meeting. 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.

Welcoming our new provost

Thanks to SFU’s new provost and vice-president academic, Dr. Dilson Rassier, for joining us at his first Board meeting. I am excited about the energy and ideas that Dr. Rassier is bringing to SFU and the Board looks forward to working with him as we continue to strengthen the academic mission and advance the university’s priorities.

Upholding Truth and Reconciliation

At this Board meeting, I acknowledged that Saturday, September 30, was the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

SFU has established Upholding Truth and Reconciliation as one of the four pillars in What’s Next, and the Board has wholeheartedly supported this work. During the meeting, President Johnson and Chris (Syeta’xtn) Lewis, director of Indigenous Initiatives and Reconciliation, provided an update on this portfolio. The Board is pleased to see many initiatives moving forward, including construction of the First Peoples’ Gathering House, and we look forward to seeing more advancements in this important portfolio.

Presidential reappointment review

Over the summer, the Board announced that we were embarking on the reappointment review process for incumbent president, Dr. Joy Johnson. As chair of the reappointment committee, I want to thank all members of the community who participated in this important process. Next, the committee will be reviewing all feedback received and making a recommendation to the Board of Governors regarding reappointment.

Chancellor and President’s Awards Dinner

In September, I had the opportunity to attend the Chancellor and President’s Awards dinner to celebrate this year’s winners of the President’s Distinguished Community Leadership Award and the Chancellor’s Distinguished Service Award.

It was a beautiful evening, during which I was once again inspired by the amazing people and groups who make the SFU community so special. Thank you to Ceremonies & Events for organizing a great event, and to the recipients—Amyn and Shein Rajan, Elizabeth Model, Kali Stierle and the SFU Black Caucus—for their contributions to SFU.

Looking ahead

I hope everyone has had a good start to the fall term. This academic year promises to be busy for both the Board and SFU, and I am looking forward to seeing the positive benefits from the continued implementation and advancement of What’s Next across the university. Attending the Chancellor & President’s Awards Dinner reminded me that, although this is a challenging time in the world, we are all here to support one another as a community—and it’s important for us to keep doing so, despite our diverse perspectives.

Over the past year, the Board has been undertaking a governance transformation in order to ensure we are best positioned to serve the SFU community, and this year we will continue to evolve. We have identified several areas of focus for this process, including our committee structures, approaches to community engagement and relationship with Senate. I look forward to sharing updates on our progress.

Community members are invited to attend our next Board meeting, on November 30 at the Burnaby 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