Meet Joy

Dr. Joy Johnson, SFU’s 10th president and vice-chancellor, is passionate about SFU’s academic and research mission.

As president, Joy is committed to enhancing student learning experiences, working towards reconciliation, and advancing equity, diversity and inclusion across SFU. Prior to her appointment as president, Joy served as SFU’s vice-president, research and international from 2014 to 2020. She currently leads SFU’s equity, diversity and inclusion initiative.

Joy is widely respected in academic and research communities. Under her strong leadership, SFU’s research income grew from $103 million in 2014 to $161 million in 2020, making it the fastest growing research income of any university in Canada. Before joining SFU, Joy had a distinguished career in academics and research, completing her PhD in nursing at the University of Alberta before joining the University of British Columbia as a professor in the School of Nursing. Her commitment to research led her to take on the role of scientific director with the Canadian Institutes of Health Research's Institute of Gender and Health, setting the institute’s strategy and building opportunities for researchers. Joy’s many accomplishments reflect her dedication to operational excellence and her ability to align institutional policy and priorities to achieve success.

Commitment to education, learning and growth

Joy is a passionate advocate for higher education and its power to transform lives and impact communities. As president, she plans to build upon the outstanding teaching and learning initiatives at SFU and develop new experiential learning opportunities for students. She understands that some of the most important educational experiences happen outside of the classroom, where students engage with communities and confront real world issues. Joy is committed to academic excellence and creating learning environments where everyone thrives and fulfills their potential.

Highlights of accomplishments

Joy's dedication to academic and research excellence is marked throughout her career by many accomplishments and achievements. She is the co-author of more than 180 peer-reviewed articles and has led several initiatives that mobilized research insights to influence practice and policy. As vice-president, research and international at SFU, Joy enhanced supports and services for SFU’s research community, secured two Canada 150 Chairs, hosted Canada’s most powerful academic supercomputer, launched the cross-cutting big data initiative, and established a unifying innovation strategy. Joy is an elected Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.  


$161 million in research income

Joy grew SFU’s research income from $103 million in 2014 to $161 million in 2020 -- the fastest growth of any major Canadian research university.

Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada

In 2019, Joy was recognized for shaping Canada’s health research landscape to better represent women.

Accomplished and published researcher

Joy is the co-author of more than 180 peer-reviewed articles.