Office of the President

Andrew Petter, President and Vice-Chancellor

President's Goals and Objectives 2017-18

1. Context: SFU’s Strategic Vision

My goals and objectives for 2017-18 continue to be guided by SFU’s Strategic Vision.  That vision seeks to establish SFU as “the leading engaged university defined by its dynamic integration of innovative education, cutting-edge research, and far-reaching community engagement.” In pursuit of this objective, the vision identifies three main goals:

         i.            Engaging Students: To equip SFU students with the knowledge, skills, and experiences that prepare them for life in an ever-changing and challenging world;

        ii.            Engaging Research: To be a world leader in knowledge mobilization building on a strong foundation of fundamental research;

      iii.            Engaging Communities: To be Canada’s most community-engaged university.

The vision notes that “[t]he success of [these] goals depend not just on their individual attainment but on their integration – on the degree to which each contributes to the others.”

The vision also commits SFU to the following underlying principles: academic and intellectual freedom; diversity; respect for Aboriginal Peoples and cultures; internationalization; a supportive and healthy work environment; and sustainability.

2. Advancing the Strategic Vision

The essence of my work over the coming year will be to make further progress in realizing the objective, goals and principles set out in the strategic vision.  My continuing purpose will be to establish SFU as the best university of its kind, to instil a sense of pride and purpose within the university community, and to provide an example for others. As I have emphasized since launching the vision, achieving this purpose will not come quickly or easily. It requires persistent efforts over many years to build strength, demonstrate results, gain reputation and attract believers. 

Given this, I am heartened by the progress we have continued to make, as demonstrated by the evidence shared in the “Engaging the Vision: What’s Next?” consultation process and documented in the various performance reports we issued last year, by the credit the university has gained for its vision and associated outcomes in recent accreditation processes, and by the extent to which the vision and its impacts have continued to gain positive recognition for the university locally, nationally and internationally.

Some specific goals I have set for the coming year are detailed below.  However my predominant focus throughout will remain realizing the vision’s overall objective and goals; building the university’s strengths and achievements in relation to these; gaining recognition for our efforts; and seeking support from governments and others to enable us to make further headway. With this in mind, I intend to draw upon the outcomes of the “Engaging the Vision” process to further evaluate our progress in advancing the vision with a mind both to strengthening current efforts and to contemplating further initiatives that might be undertaken.     

3. Specific Goals

The following represent my key specific goals for the coming year.  It should be noted that my role in relation to these will often be to provide leadership and support with respect to plans and activities that are directed and implemented by others:

  • Continuing implementation of the current five-year Academic Plan, and preparing for the development of a new plan for 2018-2023. Priorities include: completing a broad strategy and related strategic initiative to enhance the student experience (including student orientation, course access, engagement and language support); continuing implementation of the recommendations of the Task Force on Flexible Education; further expanding experiential and international learning opportunities; fulfilling the ongoing accreditation requirements of the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities; and developing our new Sustainable Energy Engineering Program at SFU Surrey.
  • Operationalizing SFU’s new Strategic Research Plan to further strengthen our research capacities and performance. Priorities include: developing operational mechanisms such as workshops and seed funds; deploying the SFU Community Trust Endowment to better support research goals; continuing implementation of SFU Innovates (our complementary innovation strategy) and the Big Data strategic initiative; and completing a strategy to better recognize and support community-engaged research.
  • Producing a balanced budget that continues to support the strategic vision and its priorities with respect to program quality, student services, research support, and community engagement. To this end, continuing to ensure that SFU financial management systems operate efficiently and effectively to support these and other university objectives.  
  • Making further headway implementing SFU’s capital plan. Priorities for Surrey include: completing the first phase of the Sustainable Energy and Environmental Engineering Building; continuing land assembly; and seeking government support for further campus expansion. Priorities for Burnaby include: continuing to address deferred maintenance priorities; seeking government support for a new Life Sciences Building; planning for expansion of the Indigenous Student Centre and a new Indigenous gathering space; commencing the first phase of the student residence expansion plan; securing approval for a biomass energy utility; and planning a new stadium and associated improvements to recreation facilities. 
  • Continuing to update SFU’s integrated planning framework, including developing revised strategic plans pertaining to Community Engagement, Sustainability, International Engagement, Marketing and Communications, and Advancement and Alumni Engagement.
  • Continuing to work with student groups to improve the quality of student life, including working with the Simon Fraser Student Society to ensure the successful completion of the Student Union Building project now underway on the Burnaby campus.
  • Responding to the Aboriginal Reconciliation Council’s calls to action while continuing to implement the Aboriginal Strategic Plan (including its goals of increasing Aboriginal student and faculty representation, enhancing Aboriginal student services, Indigenizing campus facilities and strengthening relationships with our Aboriginal community leaders and partners).
  • Developing a strategic initiative that supports SFU’s goals with respect to community engagement in relation to education, research and other programming, with particular emphasis on building SFU’s dialogue programs, facilities and capacities so as to establish SFU as a globally recognized centre for dialogue.
  • Completing implementation of the new Sexual Violence and Misconduct policy to ensure SFU fulfils its obligation to provide members of the university community with a safe, supportive and respectful environment in which to live, learn and work.  
  • Continuing to enhance training and other measures to better protect workplace health and safety on SFU campuses.
  • Continuing to upgrade technical infrastructure to improve capacities and better protect data.
  • Further building our Human Resources capacities to recruit and retain qualified staff, to provide employee training and career development, and to nurture a healthy work environment.
  • Revising and strengthening administrative structures to support the university’s goals of promoting equity and diversity in our employment practices and of supporting a culture of diversity, equity and inclusion on all our campuses.  
  • Continuing to support efforts to modify the staff pension plan to ensure its financial sustainability and capacity to meet the needs of beneficiaries.
  • Maintaining a high level of presidential engagement with students, faculty and staff throughout the university.
  • Continuing to implement SFU’s responsible investment policy, including commitments to reduce the carbon footprint of the university’s investment portfolio and to adhere to the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment. 
  • Developing a revised strategic plan for the Advancement and Alumni Engagement portfolio based on the outcomes of the review currently underway.
  • Continuing to work with the Alumni Association to strengthen Alumni engagement and to support a broad range of Alumni initiatives and activities.
  • Strengthening relationships with all levels of government.
  • Showcasing SFU’s approach to being an engaged university with our counterparts in Canada and overseas.