issues and experts

Back to School Experts: what’s new at SFU

September 03, 2019


Shradhha Sharma, University Communications and Marketing, 778.782.3210,


New Sustainable Energy Engineering (SEE) program draws high number of female students

SFU’s new Sustainable Energy Engineering program launches today in Surrey. More than 40 per cent of SEE's first undergraduate cohort is female, compared to 15-20 per cent represented in B.C.’s existing technology workforce. SFU’s School of Sustainable Energy Engineering, housed in a new building that is part of SFU’s Surrey campus expansion in the city's downtown core, focuses on the needs of the rapidly growing clean-tech and clean energy sectors, amid rising concerns about climate change. The program, a first-of-its-kind in Western Canada, will eventually have capacity for up to 320 undergraduate students and 120 graduate students.

Mehran Ahmadi, lecturer, School of Sustainable Energy Engineering, 778.782.7995;

With more than 10 years of industrial experience, Ahmadi's career includes working as a building performance and sustainability engineer, ensuring that new buildings in Vancouver are constructed in line with the city’s target to become the greenest in the world by 2020.

Vivian Neal, lecturer, School of Sustainable Energy Engineering, 778.782.7995;

Neal will be teaching communication and professional practice.


Meet SFU’s new Faculty of Education dean

Susan O’Neill, professor and dean of education, (is available from Sept. 4). Professor O'Neill can speak to the following topics: 

Learning across the lifespan

It’s back to school time and we typically think of K-12 or postsecondary education. But learning in contemporary society has become lifelong, as more opportunities are available in communities and through digital technologies for people of all ages to engage in meaningful learning opportunities. Lifelong learning is especially important for older adults with benefits to health and wellbeing. When learning takes place in intergenerational programs that bring generations together, it can be especially beneficial.

Learning spaces are everywhere

Young people's learning in today’s world has become ‘unbundled’ and ‘ubiquitous.’ Learning takes place across multiple formal and informal spaces, at school, home and in physical and online communities. What does this mean for parents and teachers? How can we help students make sense of these fragmented learning opportunities? There is growing evidence that by taking a ‘learning lives’ approach, we can begin to see different contexts as more than just environments — they are learning spaces full of potential for deepening our understanding. And when the arts are involved, through programs such as an integrated arts curriculum, learning becomes turbo-charged.

Creative thinking classrooms

What is creative thinking and why is it a core competency in B.C. classrooms? In a simple sense, creative thinking is the thinking we do when we generate ideas that add value to something that matters to us or to others. It involves imagination and innovation, possibilities and connectivity, inspiration and intuition that help take an idea from a thought to something ‘real.’


Rising environmental interest prompts new school in the field

Jeremy Venditti, School of Environmental Science, 604.767.2247;

With growing interest in the environment, SFU’s environmental science program is experiencing its largest intake of students. SFU has created a new School of Environmental Science, providing core resources and faculty to train the next generation of scientists who will tackle current and future environmental problems. The school has more than 300 undergraduate students, with more than 70 students starting this fall, reflecting a 25 per cent increase over last fall. School director Jeremy Venditti can talk about the need for graduates with skills that also include policy, law, ethics and economics. Venditti studies the physics of rivers and can elaborate on his own research on bedrock rivers, including a 375-kilometer stretch of the Fraser River in the Fraser Canyon, and how rivers worldwide are facing the pressure of increasing energy demands.


Study on the Gold Coast’s world-famous beaches during new digital journalism program

Stuart Poyntz, associate dean, Faculty of Communication, Art and Technology, 778.782.7293;

SFU’s new certificate program aims to prepare students for dynamic creative industries, including journalism. The program combines courses in contemporary arts, interactive arts and technology, and publishing and communication with a semester abroad on Australia’s Gold Coast—minutes away from world-famous beaches.


About Simon Fraser University:

As Canada’s engaged university, SFU works with communities, organizations and partners to create, share and embrace knowledge that improves life and generates real change. We deliver a world-class education with lifelong value that shapes change-makers, visionaries and problem-solvers. We connect research and innovation to entrepreneurship and industry to deliver sustainable, relevant solutions to today’s problems. With campuses in British Columbia’s three largest cities – Vancouver, Burnaby and Surrey – SFU has eight faculties, delivers almost 150 programs to over 35,000 students, and boasts more than 155,000 alumni in 143 countries. 


Simon Fraser University: Engaging Students. Engaging Research. Engaging Communities.