Type of entity
Authorized form of name
Office of the Vice-President, Academic and Provost
Parallel form(s) of name
Standardized form(s) of name according to other rules
Other form(s) of name
- Office of the Vice-President, Academic (1969 - 1993)
Identifiers for corporate bodies
Dates of existence
The Vice-President, Academic and Provost (VPA) is the senior academic officer for Simon Fraser University, responsible for the overall leadership of academic activities at the university.
In SFU's first years, all faculty deans and senior administrators reported directly to the President. Planning for the establishment of a Vice-President's Office to oversee academic matters began in the late 1960s, and two faculty members served as temporary Acting Vice-Presidents during 1968-1970 (Rudi Haering and Lalit Srivastava successively). In 1970 the university appointed Brian Wilson as Vice-President, Academic, and the Office was formally established on September 1, 1970 when Wilson's appointment commenced.
The main responsibilities of the Vice-President, Academic are to oversee reporting units (both academic faculties and academic-support departments); coordinate the university's academic planning processes; lead academic budget allocation planning; manage employment relations with academic faculty; coordinate external reviews of academic departments; coordinate space allocation and planning of facilities, infrastructure and IT systems; and liaise with other senior administrators at the university, government bodies and agencies, and other universities and educational institutions.
While the main functions of the Office have remained generally stable, the processes involved, the administrative framework, and the distribution of roles and responsibilities have evolved considerably over time. Four major reorganizations of the portfolio can be identified. (1) In 1972, the position of Assistant Vice-President, Academic (AVPA) was created with the appointment of Ian Mugridge. Mugridge was delegated responsibilities for supervision of the support service units within the VPA's portfolio (Library, Registrar, Academic Advice Centre), space planning and allocation, and some involvement in academic planning. (2) In 1975 Mugridge left the university; Dan Birch was appointed his successor as Associate Vice-President, Academic, and the division of responsibilities between VPA and AVPA was revised. Birch's focus as AVPA was on academic personnel matters and liaison with the SFU Faculty Association (SFUFA), while academic planning and budgeting remained with the VP (still Brian Wilson). This pattern continued throughout the 1980s and 1990s under VPAs John Munro and George Ivany. During this period, two new units were created out of the VPA's Office: the Academic Relations Office (1988) to coordinate personnel-related services, and Academic Planning Services (1990) to support planning activities and provide administrative support for the external review process. Also during this period, the Office of the Vice-President, Research / Information Systems was established (1985) and took on (and expanded) functions relating to IT planning and research support services that had been previously handled by the VPA's Office. Responsibility for academic computing returned to the VPA's portfolio in 1990. (3) In 1996 under VPA David Gagan, many of the responsibilities of Academic Planning Services moved with its Director (Alison Watt) to her new position in Secretariat Services in the Registrar's Office. At the same time, the Associate VP Academic (Judith Osborne) assumed direct responsibility for Academic Relations, further defining the AVPA's position in terms of the university's academic employment relations with the faculty. Two faculty members were appointed Special Assistants to the Vice-President, Academic - Kathy Heinrich, with responsibilities for academic planning; and Bill Glackman, with responsibilities for information technology planning. (4) In 2001, the incumbent AVPA (Judith Osborne) left of the VPA's portfolio to become Associate Vice-President, Policy, Equity and Legal, reporting directly to the President and taking with her the role of chief university negotiator with SFUFA, as well as many policy-development responsibilities. The mandate of the new AVPA (Bill Krane) was redefined to focus on academic planning, budget, space allocation, and coordination of major and minor capital projects and IT projects.
Since its inception in 1970, the Office of the VP Academic has always reported directly to the President, and all faculty deans have always reported to the VP Academic. The relationship of the Office to academic-support bodies, however, has been more complex, with different units transferring into and out of the reporting portfolio at different times. Moreover, the reporting relationships have sometimes shifted between the VP and the AVP. See the table attached to this fonds description for a complete list of the units that have belonged to the VP Academic's portfolio, their distribution between the VP and the AVP, and the years of the reporting relationship.