Simon Fraser University
In the place where innovative education, cutting-edge research and community outreach intersect, you'll find Simon Fraser University. Born in 1965, SFU has become one of Canada's leading comprehensive universities with vibrant campuses in British Columbia's largest municipalities — Vancouver, Burnaby and Surrey — and deep roots in partner communities throughout the province and around the world.
Participants and sponsors
President and Vice-Chancellor
Andrew Petter, C.M., Q.C. is the President and Vice Chancellor of Simon Fraser University and Professor in its School of Public Policy. Prior to joining SFU in 2010, he was Professor in the Faculty of Law of the University of Victoria where he served as Dean from 2001 to 2008. He previously taught at Osgoode Hall Law School and practiced law with the Saskatchewan Ministry of Justice.
From 1991 to 2001, Professor Petter served as a Member of the Legislative Assembly of the Province of British Columbia and held numerous cabinet portfolios, including Aboriginal Affairs, Advanced Education and Attorney General.
He has written extensively in areas of Constitutional Law and Public Policy, including works on the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and Canadian federalism.
Professor Petter holds an LL.B. from University of Victoria and an LL.M. from Cambridge University. He is a member of the British Columbia and Saskatchewan law societies.
In 2018, he was appointed to the Order of Canada in recognition of his commitment and leadership in advancing university-community engagement and higher education throughout the country.
Since becoming President, Professor Petter has overseen the development and implementation of a Strategic Vision that seeks to distinguish SFU as a “leading engaged university defined by its dynamic integration of innovative education, cutting edge research, and far-reaching community engagement.”
Vice-President Academic and Provost
Dr. Jonathan Driver has been a faculty member in the Department of Archaeology at SFU since 1982. He served as chair of Archaeology (1993 to 1996); dean of graduate studies (2000 to 2008); vice-president academic and provost (2008 to 2016). He has also participated in numerous task forces and committees. He is currently serving as vice-president academic and provost on a pro tem basis for the 2019/20 academic year.
Dr. Driver is currently principal investigator of a $236,000 SSHRC grant, studying various aspects of the animal remains from the site of Tse'K'wa, near Fort St. John, BC. In addition to his research in western Canada he has worked extensively in the American Southwest. He also hold smaller grants to make research at Tse'K'wa more accessible to local communities in the Peace River region. Details of his publications can be found at
Since 2013 Dr. Driver has been president of the Western Canadian Universities Marine Sciences Society. This unique organization manages the Bamfield Marine Science Centre, the result of almost fifty years of collaboration between SFU, UVic, UBC, UCalgary and UAlberta. More details can be found at www.bamfieldmsc.com/
Vice-President Research and International
Joy Johnson leads Simon Fraser University’s strategic research initiatives and facilitates international opportunities that foster research collaborations and student exchange. Her work focuses on facilitating research excellence and helping the university respond to new opportunities. She works with members of SFU’s eight faculties to ensure they have the support and resources required to conduct excellent cutting-edge research in all its forms. Building on her long-standing leadership and research experience, she works with faculty, students and staff to secure research partnerships within the community and industry.
A key element of her role focuses on knowledge mobilization by facilitating opportunities to transfer the results of SFU research to society. This collaborative role allows for an interplay between research and innovation to enhance social, economic, and environmental well-being.
Vice President, External Relations
Joanne Curry has made a career of advancing the cause of higher education locally, provincially, and nationally and connecting the university with business and community. Her leadership in establishing SFU’s Surrey campus and helping to create SFU’s new vision of the engaged university has improved the university’s capacity to enhance the social, economic, and cultural well-being of communities.
In her role as Vice-President External Relations and member of the University's senior leadership team, Joanne plays a strategic role in engaging with stakeholders and raising the profile of the University. She is accountable for community relations, government relations, communications and marketing. She also has oversight for the management of the Vancouver and Surrey campuses, the SFU Art Galleries and SFU Woodward’s Cultural Unit.
Joanne is currently a member of several boards and committees including Innovation Boulevard (Board Chair), Burnaby Board of Trade, the Downtown Surrey Business Improvement Association, and the Regional Prosperity Initiative. She has previously served on the Board of Directors of Community Living BC (a BC crown corporation) and the Surrey Board of Trade.
Joanne holds a Doctorate of Business, Bath University, UK; a Masters of Business Administration from Simon Fraser University; and a Bachelor of Commerce (Honors) with Distinction from the University of Manitoba. She was also awarded an honorary degree from Kwantlen Polytechnic University.
Vice-Provost and Associate Vice-President, Learning and Teaching
Dr. Elizabeth Elle is the inaugural Vice Provost and Associate Vice President – Learning & Teaching at Simon Fraser University. She leads university initiatives around learning and teaching, including curriculum reform, encouraging innovation in teaching such as the development of flexible and blended learning approaches, refining practices for the evaluation of teaching and assessment of student learning, and furthering our community-engaged and work-integrated experiential opportunities for students.
More information about Elizabeth’s role as Vice Provost, including links to the five units reporting to her: www.sfu.ca/vpacademic/avplt.html
Sobhana Jaya Madhavan
Associate Vice-President, External Relations
Born in Malaysia and raised in India, Sobhana has an undergraduate degree in Philosophy from Calicut University (Kerala, India) and a postgraduate degree in Social Work from Tata Institute of Social Sciences (Mumbai, India). Sobhana completed her Ph.D. candidacy in Child and Youth Care from the University of Victoria (BC, Canada). Since 1991, Sobhana has worked in the non-profit, public and private sectors in India, Malaysia, and Canada.
After immigrating to Canada in 1995, Sobhana worked in a minimum wage job in a sports arena before joining the British Columbia (BC) Government and serving in various front line and senior management positions (including Executive Director and Acting Assistant Deputy Minister) over two decades. In 2015, Sobhana was nominated for the BC Medal of Good Citizenship award which recognizes individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the well-being of their communities.
From 2015-17, Sobhana worked at NewGen KnowledgeWorks (Chennai, India) as Head HR and Associate Vice President. At NewGen Sobhana championed organizational excellence. In 2017, Sobhana returned to Canada and joined Simon Fraser University (SFU) as Associate Vice President, External Relations. In this senior leadership role, Sobhana engages with all levels of government, international/national/provincial/local organizations, internal/external partners and diverse communities to strengthen strategic relationships, provide strategic advice and work on shared goals. At SFU, Sobhana is also the co-facilitator for the Indigenous reconciliation initiative and the institutional lead for Women Deliver 2019.
Executive Director, SFU Public Square
Janet has years of experience fostering effective ideas exchange, and has convened innovative and impactful dialogues and events locally and internationally. Previously, Janet worked with Action Canada, a national fellowship program for emerging Canadian leaders. Janet holds a BA in Psychology and an Executive MBA.
Director, Community Engagement
Matthew Grant is Director of Community Engagement and Outreach at Simon Fraser University. His focus, together with others in SFU's Office of Community Engagement, is to support people, to support partnerships, and to strengthen SFU’s institutional capacity to address pressing societal issues through co-created knowledge, shared purpose and responsive practice that results in meaningful impact.
Director, Academic Planning and Quality Assurance
Director, Strategic Projects and Analysis
As Director, Strategic Projects and Analysis, Mary Holmes gives leadership to a variety of university-wide initiatives for the Office of the Vice-President, Academic at Simon Fraser University. She is co-director of a working group supporting SFU’s role as a participant in and presenting partner of the Elective Carnegie Classification Canadian Pilot. Mary is also a doctorate student through the University of Bath with research interests in accessible higher education.
Director, Institutional Research and Planning
Dr. Zareen Naqvi is the Director of Institutional Research and Planning at Simon Fraser University since September 2013 and was employed in similar positions at other B.C. institutions during 2007-2013. Zareen completed her PhD in Economics from Boston University and worked as an academic and international development professional at The World Bank. Her current research interests in higher education are in student engagement and employment outcomes of university graduates. Currently she is involved in data warehouse and governance projects at SFU.
Associate Director, Digital Community Engagement
Chris Yakimov has worked as a digital strategist in the private, non-profit and public sectors, and has a BA and MA from UBC in Psychology and Education. Because of his academic and professional interest in the intersection of language, identity and power, Chris has been privileged to work with several organizations to help define and implement organizational values and principles for cohesive action and business impact. Thanks to an engrossing interest in systems theory and complex change, he currently co-teaches in SFU’s Semester in Dialogue on Complexity in Health in Wellness.
Associate Director, Partnerships and Programs
Rachel is the Associate Director for Partnerships and Programs at Simon Fraser University in the Office of Community Engagement and has been participating in community capacity building, and engaging students in community-based experiences with the SFU Surrey - TD Community Engagement Centre for the past five years. Rachel holds a BBA from SFU and is nearing the completion of a Masters of Arts in Community Development from UVIC. Her thesis is focused on developing evaluable principles for community-university partnerships.