Michael Stevenson

Michael Stevenson

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Former President of Simon Fraser University, International Educator

Michael Stevenson, PhD, LLD (Hon.), is a distinguished Canadian educator and political scientist.

His extensive experience as a university administrator included a decade at York University, during which he was Dean of Arts and Vice President Academic and Provost, followed by two full terms as President of Simon Fraser University from 2000 through 2010.  In these capacities, Dr Stevenson was instrumental in introducing significant organizational change and managing rapid growth while advancing the research profile and academic standards of these institutions. Under his leadership, Simon Fraser University was regularly ranked the top Comprehensive University in Canada, and received the Gold Medal for innovation and leadership in the public sector from the Institute of Public Administration of Canada.

His scholarly interests have focussed on African and Canadian politics.  He has published widely on post-independence politics in Sub-Saharan Africa, as well as on political culture and public policy in Canada.  His book on shifts in public opinion and public policy in the 1970s and 1980s, co-authored with Michael Ornstein, won the 1999-2000 Harold Adams Innis Prize for the best book in the social sciences published in Canada.

He has also published on policy issues ranging from income redistribution to health policy and judicial reform.  His involvement in educational policy included service as Chair of the University Presidents Council of British Columbia; Chair of the Council of Western Canadian University Presidents, Chair of the Standing Committee on Educational Issues and Funding of the Association of Colleges and Universities of Canada, and Chair of the British Columbia Council for International Education.

Beyond his experience in educational institutions, Dr. Stevenson has had extensive experience in the governance of non-profit organizations.  He has served as a Director of MITACS (the centre of excellence for research in Mathematics, Information Technology and Complex Systems); GenomeBC (an agency for genomics research); Vancouver Opera; the PuSh International Festival of Performing Arts, and the British Columbia Achievement Foundation.

Dr. Stevenson has been recognized for his services to education with the Queen’s Jubilee Medal and honorary degrees in Law.

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Speaking topics

The Future of Public Education

What are the Challenges and Opportunities facing Canadian public schools and Institutions of Higher education?  And how can we guarantee we will continue the best preparation for lifelong learning and success?

Educational Experience and High Tech, High Productivity Economies

Dr. Stevenson argues why what is believed to be fossilized teaching, esoteric research and politically correct curriculum is not a barrier to progress.  Why students and society still benefit from undergraduate education in the liberal arts and sciences, and how to improve the supply of well rounded graduates in applied science and technology.

Innovation and Change Management in Higher Education

Dr. Stevenson shares how to manage change and innovation in higher education.  The growth of Simon Fraser University during his tenure as President is a successful example of what is possible.

Partners in Community Development: The Hidden Potential of Universities

Dr. Stevenson shares how partnerships between Government, Business and Educational Institutions are possible and beneficial to any community.   Innovative growth often cannot happen without looking to new partnerships.  Dr. Stevenson shares why this was key to his success in reaching new goals for SFU

Private Philanthropy in Support of Public Goods

Dr. Stevenson discusses the importance of private philanthropy for sustaining the educational and cultural underpinnings of our communities and national identity, emphasizing the pivotal importance of philanthropic support for the arts. He draws on personal experience for examples of challenges and successes in fundraising for the arts.

Video clips

Michael Stevenson: A Tribute

Michael Stevenson: SFU Convocation 2013

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