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SFU plans new environment faculty for spring 2009

May 1, 2008

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By Stuart Colcleugh

A new Faculty of the Environment is a step closer to existence following support for its creation from the university’s senate on April 7. The senate voted to ask SFU’s board of governors to approve establishment of the faculty, effective April 2009.

The new faculty would include the School of Resource and Environmental Management (REM), the geography department, the environmental science program, the Centre for Sustainable Community Development and the graduate certificate program in development studies.

Environmental studies are "a high priority for the university and one of our key strengths," says SFU president Michael Stevenson. "The new faculty will enable the collaborative engagement of faculty members in research and programs, and will contribute to the community through active participation in policy debates, forums and other forms of community outreach."

In a report to the senate on the proposed faculty, VP-academic John Waterhouse observes that SFU "is uniquely positioned to provide a significant contribution to the global environmental challenge by creating the new faculty.

"The creation of this faculty will clearly establish SFU as a leader in this crucial area and better position the university as a centre of research and teaching excellence in environmental issues."

A separate report to the senate from a task force on academic structure notes that 23 departments at SFU offer at least one environmental course, more than 70 faculty members have identifiable environmental interests, and there are 11 SFU centres or institutes dedicated to an area of the environment.

A special academic committee will address full details of the new environment faculty’s programs.

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