Office of the President

Andrew Petter, President and Vice-Chancellor

Petter's Perspective: Notes from the President


SFU ‘on top of the world’ over THE Impact Rankings

April 28, 2020

At this time of crisis, with the lives of so many in our community disrupted, it is especially gratifying to receive good news.

So I was delighted last week to learn the results of the Times Higher Education (THE) Impact Rankings in which SFU placed 19th overall in the world out of 766 institutions, and first in the world for our impact on sustainable cities and communities.

This is a remarkable achievement, and testament to the combined efforts of our staff, faculty and students to advance SFU’s vision to be Canada’s Engaged University. Pursuant to that vision, SFU has sought to utilise its educational, research and other capacities to enhance the social, economic, environmental and cultural well-being of communities locally and globally.   

While SFU fares well in traditional university rankings – such as the Maclean’s University Rankings in which we have topped the Comprehensive University category in Canada for 10 of the past 11 years – traditional rankings do not come close to capturing the full value of what we, as an engaged university, contribute to the communities we serve.

The THE Impact Rankings are the first global measurement of universities’ impact on society, assessing performance against the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

SFU’s top standing globally for Sustainable Cities and Communities is evidence of our extraordinary commitment to provide a sustainable environment for those who work and live in the university community, and our increasing efforts to minimize our environmental footprint.

We ranked fourth in the world for Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions, reflecting our strengths in university-community engagement, our collaborations with national and local governments, and our international partnerships. We also ranked seventh for supporting local and aquatic ecosystems and ninth for Climate Action, an area in which we are determined to make further progress through our new five-year Strategic Sustainability Plan.

It is deeply rewarding to be recognized as a world leader in addressing the challenges reflected in the United Nations’ sustainability goals. At SFU, we will continue to work towards these goals in order to help build healthier communities and a more sustainable future for us all.

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