Institutional announcements

SFU names Joy Johnson as its 10th president and vice-chancellor

January 08, 2020

Following an extensive community consultation and international search process, Simon Fraser University’s Board of Governors has named professor Joy Johnson as the university’s next president and vice-chancellor.

Johnson, SFU’s current vice-president, research and international, takes office on September 1, 2020. She succeeds professor Andrew Petter, who completes his term on August 31 after a decade of distinguished service.   

“Over the course of this competitive process, professor Johnson stood out from other candidates for her depth of academic and research expertise, commitment to students and enthusiasm for the future of SFU,” says Fiona Robin, chair of the presidential search committee and SFU’s board of governors. “We are thrilled to announce that professor Johnson is the successful candidate and look forward to welcoming her into this new role.”

Throughout the nine-month search process, the presidential search committee relied on input from the SFU community to create the position description, narrow the field of candidates and make its eventual recommendation.

“During the consultation, we heard that our community wanted SFU’s next president to be a strong supporter of academic and research excellence with leadership in nurturing and building vital community partnerships,” says Robin.

Robin says that the community also expressed its desire for a president who is committed to vibrant student learning experiences, Aboriginal reconciliation, and equity, diversity and inclusion across SFU.

“I’m pleased to say that professor Johnson embodies these qualities and leads with her values, which closely mirror SFU’s own: collaboration, community, respect and excellence.”

Johnson has held her current role at SFU since 2014 and is widely respected in academic and research communities. Under her leadership, SFU’s research income has grown from $103 million in 2014 to $161 million today, making it the fastest growing research income of any university in Canada.

Highlights of her many achievements at SFU include enhancing support and services for the university research community, securing two Canada 150 Chairs, hosting Canada’s most powerful academic supercomputer, launching the cross-cutting big data initiative and establishing a unifying innovation strategy. Johnson also currently leads SFU’s equity, diversity and inclusion initiative.

“SFU is a remarkable institution at a remarkable time in its history,” says Johnson. “We continue to attract world-class students, faculty, and staff, and we are stepping into a new era of potential.”

“I love being part of SFU – so much is possible here as we develop new learning opportunities, enhance student support and services, expand our facilities, strengthen our research infrastructure, and forge new partnerships. It’s my great privilege to have the opportunity to serve as president and vice-chancellor, and I look forward to getting started.”

Read more about Joy Johnson.

Watch Joy Johnson's video message to SFU students, staff and faculty and the community.