Transform the SFU Experience

Tracy Farrell MacRae: A graduate student voice at the SFU Board of Governors

March 08, 2024

Pursuing her Executive MBA, serving as the graduate student representative on SFU’s Board of Governors and working full time as the Director of Communications and Marketing for Beedie School of Business means that Tracy Farrell MacRae is always on the go.

“Balancing work, studying and family obligations can be daunting, but serving on the board has created this energy, enthusiasm and momentum. The busier I get, the busier I want to be—I just want to dive into everything.”

She first ran for the Board of Governors’ student representative position in June of 2023 with the support of her Executive MBA cohort. Being part of a governance board was a new experience that required getting up to speed quickly, but she brought more than two decades in the business world to the role—a useful lens for a body that is responsible for the “business” of the university, including operations, finances and revenue. 

SFU's Board of Governors totals fifteen members, including the President, Chancellor, two elected faculty members, two elected students, one elected staff member and eight individuals appointed by the provincial government. When describing her position, MacRae notes the importance of offering a graduate student perspective while having a holistic view of the university’s direction. 

“Whatever experience you have, whatever education you have, you’re bringing your whole self to the table. But you’re also asked to be very forward-thinking and consider how we can build a future that is vibrant and impactful for all students, faculty, staff and alumni.”

One opportunity to help shape that future came about through the university’s recent presidential reappointment review process, when MacRae served on the committee that oversaw the renewal of another five-year term for President Joy Johnson.

“It felt truly meaningful and was a real opportunity to gain insight on decision-making at the highest level, learn more about what SFU needs and how it positions itself both internally, and externally with government, stakeholders and partners.”  

With elections now open for the next student representative roles, she reflects on the mindset and qualities that would serve candidates well in the role.

“You’re going to be part of making decisions that not everyone is going to agree with. It’s important to be open to different ideas and perspectives, to be comfortable with sitting in uncertainty.”

While she acknowledges that may seem intimidating, MacRae emphasizes that other board members were incredibly welcoming, respectful and supportive when she first joined and that anyone considering running for student representative should feel confident that they deserve to be there.

“Just take it all in. This is a really rich, wonderful hands-on learning experience. I would encourage anyone who’s interested to really dig in and see if it’s for them.” 

Thinking about serving on the Board of Governors? 

Learn what being a graduate student representative on the Board of Governors entails by attending an information session with current graduate student representative, Tracy Farrell MacRae and Margarita Fullerton (University Secretary).

The information session is on Thursday, March 14 from 1:30 – 3:00 pm. Register by emailing