Office of the President

Andrew Petter, President and Vice-Chancellor

President's Goals and Objectives 2016-17

1. Context: SFU’s Strategic Vision

My goals and objectives for 2016-17 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:

  1. Engaging Students: To equip SFU students with the knowledge, skills, and experiences that prepare them for life in an ever-changing and challenging world;
  2. Engaging Research: To be a world leader in knowledge mobilization building on a strong foundation of fundamental research;
  3. Engaging Communities: To be Canada’s most community-engaged research university.

The vision notes that “[t]he success of [these] goals depends 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; internationalization; respect for Aboriginal Peoples and cultures; a supportive and healthy work environment; and sustainability.

2. Advancing the Strategic Vision

The essence of my work over the coming year will be to make further progress in realizing the objective, goals and principles set out in the strategic vision.  My continuing purpose will be to establish SFU as the best university of its kind, to instil 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, achieving this purpose will not come quickly or easily.  It requires persistent efforts over many years to build strength, demonstrate results, gain reputation and attract believers.  Given this, I am heartened by the headway we have made to date, and by the extent to which the vision is producing positive results and gaining recognition for the university locally, nationally and internationally.

Some specific goals I have set for the coming year are enumerated below.  However my predominant focus throughout 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.

With this in mind, I plan to consult the university community concerning our progress to date, and what further efforts should be made to advance the Strategic Vision.  I also plan to continue cultivating and communicating SFU’s strengths in the three thematic areas I identified last year as having potential to demonstrate both the value of the vision and our commitment to it. These are:

  1. Learning for Life: developing and profiling the full range of experiential and entrepreneurial learning options that SFU provides to its students;
  2. Innovation Strategy: supporting and advancing the strategy we have developed to establish SFU as a model university for nurturing economic and social innovation;
  3. A Centre for Dialogue: building and promoting our dialogue programs and capacities to establish SFU as a globally recognized centre for dialogue.

3. Specific Goals

The following represent some of my specific goals for the coming year.  It should be noted 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:

  • Facilitate a smooth and effective transition to our new Vice President Academic and Provost, supporting his efforts to continue implementation of the current five-year Academic Plan, and to set the stage for development of a new five-year Academic Plan. Priorities include: developing a strategy and associated strategic initiative to enhance the student experience; implementing the recommendations of the Task Force on Flexible Education; strengthening English language support; improving course access; continuing the process of developing educational goals for academic programs; and meeting all further accreditation requirements of the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
  • Enhance SFU’s research capacities, performance and mobilization.  Priorities include: finalizing and commencing implementation of a new five-year Research Plan; completing restructuring of the Vice President Research and International portfolio; launching our new Big Data strategic initiative; developing and promoting SFU Innovates; completing a strategy to recognize and support community-engaged research.
  • Produce a balanced budget that, in the face of funding pressures, continues to support the University’s vision and its priorities with respect to program quality, student services, research support, and community engagement.  To this end, ensure that SFU financial management systems operate efficiently and effectively to support these and other university objectives.
  • Advance SFU’s capital plan.  Priorities include: developing project/s approved under the federal/provincial Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund program; continuing to plan and advocate for priority project/s that are not approved; completing conversion of the Water Tower Building into a major data centre; securing funding for maintaining and upgrading university infrastructure; implementing plans to construct new student residences on the Burnaby campus; securing approval for the development of a bio-mass water heating utility to serve the Burnaby campus; completing land assembly for the Surrey campus expansion.
  • Enhance training and other measures to better protect workplace health and safety on SFU campuses.
  • Strengthen our Human Resources capacities to recruit and retain qualified staff, to provide employee training and career development, and to nurture a healthy work environment.
  • Continue to update SFU’s integrated planning framework, including developing a new Sustainability Strategic Plan and a new Community Engagement Plan.
  • Continue to support implementation of a responsible investment policy, including SFU’s commitment to the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment (UNPRI).
  • Continue to implement the Aboriginal Strategic Plan (including its goals of increasing Aboriginal faculty and student numbers, enhancing Aboriginal student services and programs; and expanding culturally appropriate campus facilities); and support the work of the SFU Task Force that has been charged with recommending a strategic initiative in response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s calls to action. 
  • Continue to ensure SFU meets its enrolment targets under the BC’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint.
  • Maintain a high level of presidential engagement with faculty, students and staff.
  • Continue to work with student groups to improve the quality of student life, including working with the Simon Fraser Student Society to ensure the successful completion of the Student Union Building project now underway on the Burnaby campus.
  • Develop a stand-alone Sexual Violence and Misconduct policy that ensures SFU is fulfilling its commitment to provide members of the university community with a safe, supportive and respectful environment in which to live, learn and work.  
  • Continue to work with SFUFA to develop an implementation plan that responds to the report of the Salary Equity Working Report.
  • Support ongoing efforts to modify the staff pension plan to ensure its financial sustainability and capacity to meet the needs of beneficiaries.
  • Facilitate a smooth and effective transition to a new Vice President Advancement and Alumni Engagement, and support that individual in developing a portfolio plan for the next five years.
  • Work with the Alumni Association to strengthen Alumni engagement and to support a broad range of Alumni initiatives and activities.