Andrew Petter began his teaching career in 1984 at York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School before joining the University of Victoria’s Faculty of Law in 1986. In the 1990s, he was twice elected to the British Columbia Legislature and was appointed to a series of key cabinet posts, including Minister of Aboriginal Affairs, Minister of Forests, Minister of Finance, Minister of Advanced Education, Intergovernmental Relations, and Attorney General. Petter chose not to run for re-election in 2001, returning instead to the University of Victoria to resume teaching and then serve as Dean of Law. He has taught and written extensively in the areas of Constitutional Law and Public Policy, and is currently a member of the B.C. and Saskatchewan law societies. He earned an LL.B. from the University of Victoria and an LL.M (Public Law) from Cambridge University.
Since assuming his current position in 2010, President Petter has forged a strategic vision for the university that has civic engagement as a centrepiece. That vision seeks to establish SFU as Canada’s “leading engaged university defined by its dynamic integration of innovation education, cutting-edge research, and far-reaching community engagement.” Pursuant to that vision, he has worked to make SFU a leader in community engagement, pioneering community-based programs such as SFU Public Square (to foster public dialogue on key public issues), promoting community-based research initiatives such as the Hakai Network (to undertake collaborative research with First Nations in support of environmental and social sustainability on B.C.’s Mid-Coast), and establishing community engagement centres (to serve as hubs for service learning, community-based research and community programming).