Fonds F-200 - Office of the Vice-President, Academic and Provost fonds

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Office of the Vice-President, Academic and Provost fonds

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  • Photographic materials
  • Graphic materials
  • Textual records
  • Cartographic materials

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  • Source of title proper: The title of the fonds is based on the name of the creating body.

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  • 1965 - 2000 (Creation)
    Office of the Vice-President, Academic and Provost

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Physical description

42.32 m of textual records and other material

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Archival description area

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(1970 - )

Administrative history

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.

Custodial history

Scope and content

The fonds consists of records made or received by the Office of the Vice-President, Academic in the course of its activities. Activities documented include development of university policies and procedures; supervision of units reporting to the VPA; budget planning and allocation; participation in university committees; liaison with internal and external bodies, including SFU faculties and departments, employee associations and unions, government bodies, other universities, and external associations; space management, allocation, and planning; and speeches and engagements undertaken as a representative of SFU. The records consists predominantly of correspondence, reports, and meeting agenda and minutes. For more detailed description of records types, see individual series and sub-series descriptions.

Notes area

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

Since 1995 the records of the VPA's Office have been scheduled under university Records Retention Schedule and Disposal Authority (RRSDA) 1995-005, resulting in annual transfers to the Archives. Material that had accumulated in the University Records Centre prior to this date was appraised and formally transferred to the Archives in 1994.


Since its inception, the Office of the VP Academic has organized its records according to a file classification system, and the archival arrangement is based on this system. The Office began with a multi-level alpha-numeric classification plan in 1970, then restructured and replaced it in 1992 by a block-numeric system. Files are coded and documents are typically annotated with the file classification code.

Neither the pre- nor post-1992 file plans have been stable systems. Over the years, primary classification categories have been added, deleted or merged; second-level and third-level categories have changed locations (moved to different primaries) or been promoted or demoted to different levels. Much of the correspondence with university departments is organized according to the university's organization chart, which changes frequently. Classification codes were reassigned with each change to the system and therefore do not always have the same reference over time. The same code may be used for different categories at different times, while the same category may have different codes at different times. For example, between 1970 and 1992 correspondence between the VPA and the Registrar had seven different codes (10.G, 2.D, 2.F, 2.C, 3.D, 3.G, 2803).

The archival arrangement reflects the categories of the classification systems in their original order (and re-orders). Primary categories / blocks in the file plan are represented by series, secondaries by sub-series, and tertiaries by sub-sub-series. Because of the ongoing alterations to the classification plan, overlap between series occurs, so that records relating to the same subject are often dispersed through time over several different series. Series descriptions supply cross-references, and researchers should also consult Appendix A, "Access Points Index" to track correspondence with a particular department or body.

Note also that the archival arrangement of the records of the VPA Office has itself a complex history. Around 1985, the Archives processed pre-1980 records as series 2 of Record Group RG-4 ("Vice-Presidents"), imposing an arrangement that only loosely followed the original order. In 1997 the Archives redescribed these records according to the Rules for Archival Description (RAD) as fonds F-29; but the redescription followed the earlier arrangement and no attempt was made to restore the original order. In 2005, faced with another 20 years' accumulation of records, the Archives devised the present arrangement which aims to adhere to the original order as closely as possible. Because the VPA's Office annotated virtually every document with its classification code, it was possible to reconstitute the original order of the pre-1980 material that had already been processed. These records have been converted and integrated into the current arrangement. Appendix B provides a concordance between the old F-29 file reference numbers and their present F-200 counterparts.

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Restrictions on access

Some files may contain personal or confidential information. Access to these files may be restricted as required by law. Files marked 'pending review' must be reviewed by an archivist prior to release, and as a result of the review access restrictions may apply. Please see the file lists and consult the archivist for more details.

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

Finding aids

Series and sub-series descriptions are available, but the Archives has not produced descriptions at the sub-sub-series level. File lists for all levels are included in this finding aid. The VPA's Office produced an annual "file index"; a run of these (with a few gaps) is available in series F-200-2-1-5 ("File indices"). Appendix A provides an alphabetical index of all access points (names) assigned to series; use it to track correspondence with a particular department or other body across different archival series. The Archives has created a detailed concordance between the archival arrangement and the VPA's file classification system, showing the original classification codes, category titles, and corresponding archival series, while registering all changes over time; to consult the concordance, inquire to the archivist.

Finding aid

Associated materials

The Archives has assigned separate fonds to a number of offices which are closely affiliated with the Office of the VP Academic but which maintain their own files in separate record-keeping systems. Please see:

F-201, Office of the Associate Vice-President, Academic fonds.
F-202, Academic Relations Office fonds.
F-203, Academic Planning Services fonds.

Within the present fonds, there can be considerable overlap between different series / sub- / sub-sub-series, as correspondence relating to a particular department or subject was moved around in the classification system (see note on "Arrangement" above). Cross-references between series have been included in the series descriptions. See also Appendix A, "Access Points Index," to cross-reference archival series by names of university departments and external organizations. Note that cross-references in series descriptions include only citations to other records in this same fonds.

Related materials


As of February 2006, 2.33 metres of new material has been accessioned but not yet processed. Further accruals are expected.

General note


Fonds includes 26 posters, 21 photographs, and 1 map.

General note

Financial assistance for the arrangement and description of the records and production of the finding aid was generously provided by Simon Fraser University's Office of the Vice-President, Academic and Provost (October 2005).

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Finding aid prepared by Richard Dancy (February 2006).

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