Office of the President

Andrew Petter, President and Vice-Chancellor

President's Goals and Objectives 2018-19

1. Context: SFU’s Strategic Vision

My goals and objectives for 2018-19 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 gratified by the headway we have made to date as evidenced by the growing recognition we have gained locally, provincially, nationally and internationally for our commitments and achievements as an “engaged university.” These include our success last year at being designated an Ashoka U Changemaker Campus; our leadership of a national initiative on the capacities of post-secondary institutions to build social infrastructure; and the acknowledgement by Alex Usher, President of Higher Education Strategy Associates, that SFU is one of a handful of North American universities that has gained prestige “by striking out in a new direction and doing something novel.” This recognition has been accompanied by sustained strength in our academic and research performance, as demonstrated by our standing in national and international university rankings and by our rising research income, which last year reached $139 million. At the same time, we have had significant success in securing funding for new programs and facilities, and in advancing initiatives to support strategic priorities in areas such as Aboriginal reconciliation, student engagement and research mobilization.  

Specific goals I have set for the coming year are detailed below. My predominant focus, however, 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.


3. Specific Goals

The following represent my key specific goals for the coming year. It should be noted, however, 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 to implement the current five-year Academic Plan while finalizing a new plan for 2018-2023. Priorities include: strengthening SFU’s learning and teaching environment, including beginning a process to better align online and classroom learning and teaching resources; continuing development and implementation of a strategic initiative to enhance the student experience; fulfilling the ongoing accreditation requirements of the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities; and preparing delivery of our new Sustainable Energy Engineering Program at SFU Surrey.
  • Continuing to operationalize SFU’s Strategic Research Plan 2016-2020 to further enhance our research capacities and performance. Priorities include: encouraging interdisciplinary research clusters; fostering new research partnerships and opportunities; enhancing services and support for the SFU research community; promoting and celebrating our research success; and advancing strategic initiatives to support our growing strengths in areas such as big data, economic and social innovation, and 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 and developing a long-range master plan for the Burnaby campus. Capital plan priorities for SFU Surrey include: completing construction of the Sustainable Energy and Environmental Engineering Building and seeking government support for further campus expansion. Priorities for SFU Burnaby include: continuing an ambitious deferred maintenance program; seeking government support for a new Life Sciences Building; expanding the Indigenous Student Centre and planning an Indigenous gathering space; commencing construction of the first phase of our student residence expansion plan while seeking government support for a second phase; finalizing donor funding and planning for an art museum; and commencing construction of a new stadium while planning other improvements to recreation facilities.
  • Supporting the development of privately and publicly funded projects beneficial to the SFU community. Examples include: a new pub facility on the Burnaby campus; a biomass energy utility on Burnaby Mountain; a low-end-of-market rental housing development at UniverCity; and a high-capacity urban gondola system linking Burnaby Mountain to Production Way.
  • Continuing to renew SFU’s integrated planning framework, including finalizing updated strategic plans for Community Engagement, Sustainability and International Engagement.
  • Continuing to work with the Simon Fraser Student Society (SFSS), the Graduate Student Society (GSS) and other student groups to improve the quality of student life on all three campuses. Examples include: working with the SFSS and GSS on development and implementation of the aforementioned strategic initiative to enhance the student experience; working with the SFSS on a project to enhance mental health services for students; and working with the SFSS to ensure the successful completion of the Student Union Building project.
  • 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).
  • Implementing a strategic initiative to support of SFU’s community engagement goals in relation to education, research and other university programming, with particular emphasis on strengthening our dialogue programs and capacities so as to establish SFU as a globally recognized centre for dialogue.
  • Continuing to support SFU’s new Sexual Violence and Misconduct policy and infrastructure to ensure that the University 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 enhancement of 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, to nurture a healthy and engaged workforce, and to continue building strong, collaborative relationships with employee unions and associations.
  • Supporting efforts to promote equity and diversity in our employment practices, and to nurture a university-wide culture of diversity, equity and inclusion, drawing upon the new administrative structure and resources that has been created to advance these objectives.
  • Supporting proposed plans to strengthen 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.
  • Implementing plans to strengthen the capacities of the Advancement and Alumni Engagement portfolio based on recommendations from the comprehensive review completed last year.
  • Working with the SFU Alumni Association to strengthen alumni engagement, and to support alumni initiatives and activities, consistent with the results of the Association’s recent mandate review.  
  • Strengthening relationships with all levels of government.
  • Continuing to showcase SFU’s strengths as an engaged university, and to show leadership in advancing the value of university-community engagement locally, provincially, nationally and internationally.