We’re delighted to announce that the University of Toronto Governing Council has approved a proposal for a major change in the status of the School of the Environment from July 1, 2021, to allow us to hire our own faculty members. Additionally, it will give the School more autonomy as it grows. In the past, the School was only able to hire tenure-stream faculty by partnering with other departments, with the School holding a maximum of 49% of each professor’s position.
This status change will enable the School to develop as an international leader in interdisciplinary environmental research and teaching, and to address to the growing urgency of global environmental crises and the demand from our students that Universities play a leadership role in responding to these crises. In the coming year, the School will advertise for the first two of these new faculty positions, in the areas of Communicating Climate Change and the Sustainability Transition.
The School now has a new mandate to develop and lead new trans-disciplinary research initiatives with a new research strategy built around three research clusters: (1) Interpreting Global Environmental Change, which will bring together scientific, social, and cultural understandings of the climate change crisis and our responses to it; (2) Planetary Health, which will develop an interdisciplinary and holistic understanding of the relationships between a healthy environment, healthy ecosystems, and a healthy human population; and (3) The Technology-Society Nexus, which will study how our changing relationship with technology and infrastructure can be both the source of environmental problems and a source of innovation for sustainability solutions.
The change also coincides with the launch of the School's new Masters of Environment and Sustainability, which will be accepting its first cohort of students in 2022, and the School's new Certificate in Sustainability, which is open to all undergraduate students in the Faculty of Arts and Science.