Office of the President

Andrew Petter, President and Vice-Chancellor

President's Goals and Objectives 2019-20

1. Context: SFU’s Strategic Vision

My goals and objectives for 2019-20 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

My main focus over the coming year will be to advance and solidify the progress that has been made in realizing the objective, goals, and principles set out in the strategic vision. In doing so, my continuing mission will be to establish SFU as the best university of its kind, to instill 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, this mission is one that cannot be achieved 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 significant progress we have made to date as evidenced by the recognition we have gained locally, provincially, nationally, and internationally for our commitments and achievements as an “engaged university.” Recent examples include: our being the first Canadian university to be admitted to the international University Social Responsibility Network; our being named lead host of the 2020 Asia Pacific Association for International Education Conference and Exhibition (APAIE 2020), to be held for the first time in the Americas; our leadership of the Canadian Pilot Cohort for the Carnegie Community Engagement Classification process; and our participation in the B.C. Collaborative for Social Infrastructure. This progress 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 $142 million. At the same time, we have had continued 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 purpose, 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.

Given SFU will be welcoming a new president in September of 2020, I will also be working with members of the Board of Governors and university administration to ensure a smooth transition of leadership for the benefit of the new president, the institution, and our  communities.   

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:

  • Implementing the 2018-2023 Academic Plan. Priorities include: strengthening SFU’s learning and teaching environment, including better aligning online and classroom learning and teaching resources; continuing implementation of a strategic initiative to enhance the student experience; fulfilling the ongoing accreditation requirements of the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities; and beginning delivery of our new Sustainable Energy Engineering Program at SFU Surrey.
  • Continuing to implement the 2016-2020 Strategic Research Plan. Priorities include: further growing our research income and performance; enhancing facilities and support mechanisms for the SFU research community; facilitating internal and external research partnerships and opportunities; promoting and celebrating our research success; and advancing strategic initiatives to support our 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.
  • Completing the development of a long-range master plan for the Burnaby campus, and making further progress implementing SFU’s capital plans. Immediate capital priorities for SFU Burnaby include: continuing our ambitious campus renewal program; completing construction of the new Student Union Building on Convocation Mall and the new stadium on Terry Fox Field; expanding the Indigenous Student Centre and finalizing plans for a First Peoples’ Gathering House; continuing construction of the first phase, while gaining provincial support for the second phase, of our planned student residence expansion, including new dining hall facilities; and securing funding for a new Life Sciences Building. Capital plan priorities for SFU Surrey include: seeking government support for the next two phases of campus expansion. Capital priorities for SFU Vancouver include: fitting out lease space for community-engaged research and programming in the new Centre for Social and Economic Innovation at 312 Main Street; and seeking opportunities to gain additional facilities to accommodate program expansion.
  • Continuing to support the development of publicly and privately funded projects beneficial to the SFU community, including projects being pursued in partnership with the SFU Community Corporation. Priorities include: a high-capacity urban gondola line linking the Burnaby campus to the SkyTrain system at the bottom of the mountain; an ecologically beneficial biomass energy utility for Burnaby Mountain; a rental housing project for graduate students and students with families on UniverCity’s Lot 21; and an art museum and other university facilities to be included in the development of UniverCity’s Lot 24.
  • Continuing to update SFU’s integrated planning framework, including finalizing renewed strategic plans for Community Engagement, Sustainability, and International Engagement.
  • Continuing implementation of the “Connecting the Academy with the Community” strategic initiative to advance SFU’s goals with respect to community-based education, community-engaged research and other community programs, with particular emphasis on the goal of establishing SFU as a globally recognized centre for dialogue.
  • Continuing to work with the Simon Fraser Student Society (SFSS), the Graduate Student Society (GSS), and other student groups on initiatives to improve the quality of student life on all three campuses. Examples include: further development and implementation of the strategic initiative to enhance the student experience; joint efforts to improve mental health services for students; and improvements to the university’s budget consultation process for students.
  • Responding to the Aboriginal Reconciliation Council’s calls to action and advancing other Indigenous initiatives, such as increasing Indigenous student and faculty representation; enhancing Indigenous student services; Indigenizing the curriculum and university programs; creating welcoming and Indigenized spaces across all three campuses; and strengthening relationships with Aboriginal community leaders and partners.
  • Supporting efforts to nurture a university-wide culture of equity, diversity, and inclusion, including development of a strategy based on the principles of the federal Dimensions program, which commit us to developing specific, measurable, and sustainable actions to counter systemic barriers, biases, and inequities faced by, but not limited to, women, Indigenous Peoples, persons with disabilities, members of visible minority or racialized groups, and members of LGBTQ2+ communities.
  • Continuing to monitor and support SFU’s 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 Wi-Fi and other capacities, better protect data and strengthen cyber-security.
  • Further building our Human Resources capacities to recruit and retain qualified staff, to provide employee and leadership training and career development, to nurture a healthy and engaged workforce, and to continue building strong, collaborative relationships with employee unions and associations.
  • Continuing efforts to recruit outstanding candidates to fill senior administrative positions as they become available.
  • Undertaking good faith negotiations with SFU employees with the aim of achieving fair and affordable contract settlements.
  • Continuing to support efforts to strengthen staff and faculty pension plans to ensure financial sustainability and to better 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 in 2017.
  • 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 building social infrastructure and advancing the value of university-community engagement locally, provincially, nationally, and internationally.
  • Working with members of the Board of Governors and university administration to develop onboarding and transition processes that will ensure smooth and effective transitions to a new president and a new chancellor.