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Simon Fraser University, commonly referred to as SFU, is a public research university in British Columbia, Canada with campuses in Burnaby, Surrey, and Vancouver.
The 1.7 km2 (0.66 sq mi) Burnaby campus on Burnaby Mountain, located 20 km (12 mi) from downtown Vancouver, was established in 1965 and comprises more than 30,000 students and approximately 950 faculty members. Undergraduate and graduate programs at SFU operate on a year-round tri-semester schedule and it is the only Canadian university competing in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). SFU is the first Canadian research university with U.S. accreditation and is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
SFU is consistently ranked as one of the top comprehensive universities in Canada, placing first in Maclean’s annual University Rankings in 1993, 1996–1998, 2000, 2008–2013, 2015 and 2016. To date, SFU faculty and alumni have won 43 fellowships to the Royal Society of Canada, three Rhodes Scholarships and one Pulitzer Prize.
Location and facilities
Simon Fraser University has three campuses, each located in different parts of Greater Vancouver. SFU’s original campus is located in Burnaby, atop Burnaby Mountain. The Vancouver campus consists of multiple buildings in downtown Vancouver and the Surrey campus is located inside Central City Shopping Centre.
The downtown campus has expanded to include several other buildings in recent years, including the Segal Graduate School of Business. In September 2010, SFU Contemporary Arts moved into the Woodward’s redevelopment, known as the Goldcorp Centre for the Arts.
SFU’s three campuses are all accessible by public transit. The Vancouver campus is a block away from the Waterfront SkyTrain station while the Surrey campus is adjacent to the Surrey Central SkyTrain station. The Burnaby campus is linked to the Production Way-University and Sperling-Burnaby Lake SkyTrain stations by frequent shuttle bus service.
The Academic Quadrangle at the Burnaby Mountain Campus
The Academic Quadrangle Gardens
A hallway in the lower floor of the Academic Quadrangle
Blusson Hall, containing the Faculty of Health Sciences
Technology and Science Complex 2 (TASC 2), housing major research laboratories and offices
The main campus is located atop Burnaby Mountain, at an elevation of 365 metres, overlooking the Burrard inlet to the north. All major departments in the university are housed at the Burnaby campus. The library on the main campus is called the W. A. C. Bennett Library, named after the Social Credit Premier of B.C. who established it. The campus also has two gym-complexes, named the Lorne-Davies Complex and Chancellor’s Gym. An international-sized swimming pool is located within the Lorne-Davies Complex. Since the relocation of the School of Contemporary Arts to the Woodward’s location, the Burnaby campus production theatre has been vacant. Located within the heart of the campus is the Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology and three art galleries. The campus has been awarded numerous architectural awards over the years, including the Gold Medal for Lieutenant-Governor 2009 Awards in Architecture and the 2007 Royal Architectural Institute of Canada’s Prix du XXe siècle.
The Burnaby campus is composed of a vast complex of interconnected buildings spanning across 1.7 km2 of land across Burnaby Mountain, from the eastern end of the campus to the western side, where the UniverCity urban village is located. The campus consists of the following buildings:
- West Mall Complex (WMC)
- Lorne Davies Gym Complex
- Chancellor’s Gym Complex
- Convocation Mall
- W. A. C. Bennett Library
- Halpern Centre
- Maggie Benston Centre (MBC)
- SFU Theatre
- Gym, Pool, Fitness Centre
- Robert C. Brown Hall (RCB)
- Academic Quadrangle (AQ)
- Shrum Science Centre (SSC)
- SSC Biology (B)
- SSC Biomedical Physiology and Kinesiology (K)
- SSC Chemistry (C)
- SSC Physics (P)
- South Science Building (SSB)
- Applied Sciences Building (ASB)
- Education Building (EB)
- Technology and Science Complex (TASC) I
- Technology and Science Complex (TASC) II
- 4D LABS
- Blusson Hall (BLU)
- Saywell Hall (ASSC)
- Strand Hall
- Trottier Observatory and Science Courtyard
Libraries, archives, museums and galleries
The largest of the three SFU Libraries, the W.A.C. Bennett Library, is based on the SFU Burnaby Campus, and holds over 2 million published books, 63,000 e-journal subscriptions, and 6,000 print subscriptions. Along with the UniverCity development agreement, residents of UniverCity are also allowed to borrow books from the library.
SFU also has a Museum of Archeology and Ethnology, which holds many exhibits on lease from the Royal British Columbia Museum in Victoria. The exhibits are created by students as part of the museum studies courses offered in the Department of Archaeology. Archaeological collections arising from excavations and other research by faculty, staff and students are also housed in the museum.
The SFU Library’s Digital Collections provide internet access to digitized documents from a number of archival collections, such as Harrison Brown’s Xi’an Incident collection, and the history of British Columbia and Western Canada in general, including documents from the Doukhobor migration from the Russian Empire to Saskatchewan and then to British Columbia assembled for donation to the university by John Keenlyside. Other highlights of the collection include The Vancouver Punk Collection, which includes more than 1200 posters as well as photographs, zines, and ephemera, the British Columbia Postcards Collection, and more than 9800 editorial cartoons from Canadian newspapers.
Simon Fraser University’s art galleries include: SFU Gallery on the Burnaby campus (established 1970), Audain Gallery at the Goldcorp Centre for the Arts in Vancouver (established 2010), and Teck Gallery at Harbour Centre in Vancouver (established 1989). SFU Galleries stewards the Simon Fraser University Art Collection, that includes, in its holdings of over 5,500 works, significant regional and national art works spanning the last century.
The Bill Reid Centre for Northwest Coast Art Studies at SFU houses a collection of 50,000 objects, primarily digital images and digitized textual documents, which document the art, culture and history of different First Nations cultures of the Northwest Coast. The collection includes explorers’ drawings, sketches, paintings and original photography.
The SFU Burnaby Campus provides residence to 1766 SFU and FIC students in 6 different areas, all located on the western-side of the campus.
- The Towers (officially opened in fall of 2004) are three dormitory-style buildings. One of the Towers features a 14-room hotel called “The Simon Hotel”.
- McTaggart-Cowan Hall (built in 1985), traditional-style dormitory building.
- Shell House (built in 1967), traditional-style dormitory building.
- The Townhouse Complex (built in 1993) are 3-level townhouse units accommodating up to 4 students per unit. There are a total of 99 units.
- Hamilton Hall (built in 1993 and renovated in 2009) is a studio-style building for graduate students.
- Louis Riel House (built in 1969) is an apartment-style building (unfurnished) used for family and graduate housing. Though the residents tried to prevent the building’s closure, it officially closed in September 2015, due to mould problems.
UniverCity is an urban community located on top of Burnaby Mountain, adjacent to Simon Fraser University. It has won several awards for sustainable planning and development. Envisioned in 1963 by Arthur Erickson and Geoffrey Massey, the area adjacent to the University was not officially rezoned for development until 30 years later. Development of the community began in early 2000, when Simon Fraser University commenced construction on a new residential and commercial area occupying approximately 200 acres (0.81 km2) adjacent to the campus. As of September 2011, approximately 3000 people live in UniverCity. The main commercial district on University High Street now houses restaurants, stores, and a 20,000 square foot Nester’s Market. A new elementary school, University Highlands Elementary, opened on September 1, 2010. Several new residential developments are currently in progress, including the construction of a 12-storey highrise in the heart of UniverCity.
Central City, home to SFU Surrey
Central City, home to SFU Surrey
The Woodward’s Building, home to the School for the Contemporary Arts
The Woodward’s Building, home to the School for the Contemporary Arts
The Surrey campus is located in downtown Surrey, B.C.. The campus is part of Central City, an architectural complex adjacent to the Surrey Central SkyTrain station. It was established in 2002 to absorb the students and programs of the former Technical University of British Columbia which was closed by the provincial government. It has since expanded to house the Surrey operations of other SFU programs. The Central City complex that houses the campus was designed by architect Bing Thom and opened in 2006. The Fraser Library is the branch of the SFU Library based on this campus, and is the only branch with a games room, as well as loaning out equipment to support students in the School of Arts and Interactive Technology. There are plans for a new five-floor academic building, which would require replacement of the current Surrey Central bus exchange.
The Vancouver campus was launched in the 1980s with a store-front classroom. It was the first urban university classroom in British Columbia. A significant portion of funding for the building of the campus came from the private sector. The Vancouver campus has four buildings spread across the downtown core: SFU Harbour Centre, the Morris J Wosk Centre for Dialogue, the Segal Graduate School of Business and SFU Contemporary Arts at the restored Woodward’s Building. The original campus building at Harbour Centre, a rebuilt heritage department store, officially opened on May 5, 1989. Today, the entire campus serves more than 70,000 people annually. Approximately 10,000 are graduate and undergraduate students enrolled in courses and degree programs based downtown. The Belzberg Library is based at the Vancouver campus.
In September 2010, SFU Contemporary Arts relocated to the historic Woodward’s district in downtown Vancouver known as the Goldcorp Centre for the Arts. The 130,000-square-foot (12,077 m2) SFU facility is part of the Woodward’s revitalization project. The new facility accommodates the increasing enrollment of students in the programme and new cultural facilities, including the Fei and Milton Wong Experimental theatre, screening rooms, sound studios, and art galleries.
List of Departments (Faculties)
There are eight faculties at Simon Fraser University:
- Faculty of Applied Science
- Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
- The Beedie School of Business
- Faculty of Communication, Art and Technology
- Faculty of Education
- Faculty of Environment
- Faculty of Health Sciences
- Faculty of Science