Academic Plan 2019-2024

Where we’re going with the 2019-2024 Academic Plan—an update

Our 2019-2024 Academic Plan was created with the SFU community and built on the academic plans developed by faculties, their academic units and support services. It outlined the strategies SFU will need to focus on to continue to be a leading engaged university and an active participant in the innovation and dialogue that shapes our future.

A lot has happened in the year that’s passed. We’re proud of what we’ve accomplished with everyone’s help. And while we’re looking back with pride, we’re also looking ahead because with your awareness of the work in front of us, we can continue to move this plan forward.

Updates to the five challenges

The following is an update on how far we’ve come. You can click on each of the five challenges below to get an update on that area, or read through the entire update report here.

Challenge 1: Student Life, Learning, and Success

To foster a supportive curricular, co-curricular, and physical learning environment that empowers students for life while ensuring timely degree completion.

Review of Student Programs and Services commissioned Keeling & Associates external review

Student Experience Initiative

Seven working groups have been established.


An agreement has been reached between SFU and Langara College, paving way for Indigenous students to transfer easily.

The Indigenous Pathways program and Aboriginal University Transition program review are almost complete. SFU extended its 14-year partnership with Navitas, which operates FIC.

Lifelong Learning is exploring pathways into the Beedie School of Business.

The Strategic Enrollment Management Council–Non-Credit is exploring transitions between credit and non-credit programming.

Improving Course Access

Implementing the Classroom and Course Scheduling policy to use exam scheduling software to minimize conflicts within exam period.

Challenge 2: Academic Quality and Curriculum

To embrace a coherent curriculum review with focus on innovative curriculum design and delivery.

Curriculum Reform

A General Education Review and Curricula Review have been started. 55% of departments have identified changes aimed at making a positive impact on graduation requirements.

Educational Goals

Process for defining and assessing educational goals has been set.

New Programs

Two subcommittees were established to review/develop policy and regulations regarding degree completion rates, course access, and new degree/program approval requirements.

Assessment of Teaching

Two working groups released reports on assessment of teaching:

  • Student Evaluation of Teaching and Course Working Group
  • Teaching Assessment Working Group


Launched a number of Aboriginal Strategic Initiatives (ASI) as part of SFU’s response to recommendations of the National Truth and Reconciliation Commission and of SFU’s Aboriginal Reconciliation Committee's Walk this Path with Us Report.

Challenge 3: Engagement

Strengthen the connection and collaborations between SFU and the world.

Knowledge Mobilization

Knowledge Mobilization Hub established to focus on growing SFU’s culture of sharing knowledge and/or transferring it to end users in its communities.

Carnegie Engagement Classification

SFU is leading the Canadian pilot cohort (16 institutions) of the Carnegie Engagement Classification, which intends to support a process for institutional learning and transformation regarding engagement.

Work Integrated Learning (WIL)

More than 9,000 students participated in SFU co-op programs in 2019, resulting in 4,100 work terms.

Challenge 4: Bridging Divides/Interdisciplinarity

Seek opportunities for research and teaching collaboration to advance defining themes of our times and to offer innovative academic credentials.

Accelerated Master's

Allows eligible undergraduate students to take graduate courses and to count them toward their bachelor's and a master's degree. Available in various disciplines.

BC Graduate Scholarship (BCGS) Program

The Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training provided $2.25 million for BC Graduate Scholarship (BCGS) program. SFU provided BCGS recipients an $5,000 entrance award with 11% of awards going to Indigenous students.

Independant Studies Program

Gives graduate students with uniquely interdisciplinary research projects a platform that allows them to study across disciplines and faculties and gives faculty members a nexus where research interests can intersect and transform.

Challenge 5: Faculty Renewal

Ensure that academic hiring and career incentives advance excellence in scholarship and creativity, including the discovery of new knowledge and its application, the development of high-quality academic programming and teaching, support services, and engagement with the broader community.

Faculty Renewal

Designed to allow faculties to plan searches up to three years ahead. Special funding provided to encourage hiring Indigenous faculty members.

Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI)

Set priorities including:

  • Engaging in a self-assessment/data-gathering on diversity and inclusion 
  • Developing robust, equitable recruitment, retention, and career progression 
  • Increasing capacity and awareness of EDI opportunities 
  • Enhancing inclusion for everyone 
  • Developing an EDI resource guide to assist in understanding how to create an equitable, diverse, and inclusive SFU community

Supervision for the 21st Century: Student Experience Initiative

To transform the supervisory relationship of SFU graduate students and faculty members by re-imagining the supervisory relationship within the frameworks of our 21st century educational context. Will culminate in training and critical discussions for faculty members and a comprehensive handbook for students.

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

SFU's commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion is one of the key components of this academic plan. Simon Fraser University is committed to a culture of inclusion and mutual respect.

Aboriginal Reconciliation

SFU’s commitment to decolonization, Aboriginal reconciliation and Indigeneity is embedded in this academic plan as well as the academic plans of the faculties, their academic units and support services. Simon Fraser University is committed to walking the path with our Aboriginal communities and advancing the SFU Aboriginal Reconciliation Council’s calls to action.

The path ahead

This academic plan is a living document and, together with SFU’s strategic research plan, the innovation strategy, and the community engagement strategy, supports academic endeavour and charts the institutional priorities and goals over the next five years.

For SFU to remain radical, we must embrace disruption as the new normal. When we transform our learning environments; when we connect to communities and incorporate perspectives; when we break through silos and re-conceive the curriculum – then we can teach, learn, research, and engage without boundaries, across distances great and small, in worlds real and virtual.

We need your help. We want to challenge you to think, to feel empowered, to help us set priorities – how we teach, who we hire. Let’s ensure SFU will be the university we want it to be in 2024 and beyond.

How to submit feedback and comments

We welcome your thoughts, feedback and comments on the academic plan. Please submit your comments to