A Brief History of REM

The School of Resource and Environmental Management (REM) is one of the first interdisciplinary programs in resource management developed in Canada. In 1979, REM was created to offer an interdisciplinary professional Master’s degree (M.R.M.) focussing on natural resource management (primarily fisheries and forestry) with the goal of developing best environmental practices for these large economic drivers of BC-based industry. The program initially relied on faculty from other departments and individuals from outside the University to teach many of its early courses. In subsequent years, REM added full time faculty and in 1990 the M.R.M. program was renamed the School of Resource and Environmental Management in conjunction with a move from Interdisciplinary Studies to the Faculty of Applied Science.

Though the interdisciplinary program has retained its core mandate and overall curriculum philosophy, the range of academic programs, research activities, faculty and staff complement have expanded substantially as both the research disciplines and the university context in which the program exists have changed. Graduate applicants can now select from four interdisciplinary programs: a Master’s degree (M.R.M.) in Resource and Environmental Management project, an M.R.M thesis, a M.R.M (Planning) certified by the Canadian Institute of Planners, and a Ph.D. in Resource and Environmental Management. Currently, REM has over 100 graduate students across these four programs.

With the establishment of the Faculty of Environment (FENV) in 2009, REM made the move from Applied Science to become a core founding member of this new faculty. This put REM in the middle of the core environmental research and applied management happening at SFU. REM was fully recognized as a key piece in helping industry and society manage its essential adaptation to climate change impacts and providing the key research that will move us forward in these challenging environmental times.

In 2015, REM responded to demand for this skill set with an undergraduate major and minor programs under the BEnv degree option. Student enrollment has quickly passed the initial targets as the REM major became a popular choice for environmental studies at SFU as students recognize the value of the interdiciplinary approach that is in such high demand by employers in both the public and private sectors.