There is more to SFU’s success than rankings

November 14, 2019

Rankings are often looked to as a measure of a university’s reputation and success.

With this in mind, we at SFU can take considerable satisfaction in having again been named Canada’s leading comprehensive university in the Maclean’s ranking – the 11th time we’ve held top spot in the past 12 years.

The Maclean’s ranking confirms what we already know – SFU is a great university. However, it does not begin to tell the full story of our success.

That story includes the vibrancy of our research enterprise, measured both in terms of research income (up 60 percent over the past seven years to $161 million) and research impact (best in Canada among comprehensive universities according Re$earch Infosource). This research record is a testament to the growing strength and productivity of our research faculty, as well as to our ability to attract new investments in research infrastructure.

SFU has also made major strides diversifying and expanding our educational programming. Some recent examples include: the development of Canada’s first Bachelor of Environment degree (with a newly added Planning Stream); the creation of interdisciplinary undergraduate and graduate entrepreneurship certificate programs; a major expansion of co-op placements (up 25 percent over the past five years); and the launch this year of a Sustainability Energy Engineering program, a first of its kind in Western Canada.

We are also making significant progress expanding and upgrading our three campuses. Construction projects announced or underway on Burnaby Mountain include: a new Student Union Building; a covered stadium; 850 units of undergraduate student housing plus dining commons; 90 units of housing for graduate students and students with families; an art museum; a biomass energy utility; and extensive renovation of campus infrastructure. Our Vancouver campus has grown to nine facilities, making it the largest post-secondary presence in the downtown. And the state-of-the art building we recently opened in Surrey has already won several awards for its visionary and sustainable architecture.

So, while good rankings are always welcome, we must not lose sight of the fact that it is the continuing commitment of our faculty, students and staff to improving the university in these and others ways that provide more meaningful evidence of our success.