New Faculty at York University to create climate crisis changemakers  


TORONTO, Sept. 1, 2020 – As of today, York University has a new and dynamic Faculty – the Faculty of Environmental and Urban Change (EUC) – ready to take up the challenges of the climate crisis, biodiversity loss and increased urbanization, and their impact on people and the planet.

The new Faculty builds on existing academic and research excellence to become a leader in tackling environmental and social issues, and the climate crisis by bringing together the Faculty of Environmental Studies and the Department of Geography.

EUC will prepare students to take on some of the most difficult challenges in the world today and empower them to be changemakers for a sustainable and just future.

“The new Faculty of Environment and Urban Change will position York University as a higher education leader in sustainability, environmental issues and the challenges that arise from intense urbanization,” says President and Vice-Chancellor Rhonda L. Lenton. “Through creative programming, critical research and collaborative community engagement, this new Faculty will create solutions for a more just and equitable world.”

The creation of EUC is a response to dramatic environmental changes brought about by human activities, rising temperatures, extreme weather events, air pollution, habitat depletion, and species extinction, and the need to prepare students for these challenges. EUC will bring together scholars, artists and scientists whose innovative, real-world research looks at how these issues impact the planet and its most vulnerable citizens, and what needs to be done.

“Our new Faculty has been created as a call to action to respond to the most pressing challenges facing people and the planet,” says Faculty of Environmental and Urban Change Dean Alice Hovorka. “As a community, we are steadfast in the belief that making positive change requires bold and diverse thinking, ambitious action, and community engagement.”

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Students will also be able to learn first-hand about environmental challenges and be part of creative problem-solving in Costa Rica at the University’s Las Nubes EcoCampus.

Through interdisciplinary thinking, experiential learning, global perspectives, and new undergraduate academic programming, available for fall 2021 admission, students will be ready to choose a wide-range of diverse career paths, including energy analysts, waste management specialists, environmental lawyers, outreach educators, policy and economic developers, wildlife biologists, natural-resource conservationists, urban planners and more.

New academic programs will include:

  • Environmental Arts & Justice – addresses global environmental challenges through political, philosophical, artistic, cultural and educational theory and practice.
  • Environmental Science (with the Faculty of Science) – examines how climate change, population growth, biophysical contaminants and extreme weather events are straining ecosystems and lives.
  • Global Geography – explores complex relationships between humans and the physical world, how populations move and change, and how the expansion of cities has shifted political power dynamics and changed landscapes.
  • Sustainable Environmental Management – looks at current global environmental challenges and how to build solutions for a better future using science, law, policy and economic approaches to managing and conserving natural resources.
  • Urban Studies – examines global urbanization, urban life and the relationship that cities have with other spaces and nature.


York University champions new ways of thinking that drive teaching and research excellence. Our students receive the education they need to create big ideas that make an impact on the world. Meaningful and sometimes unexpected careers result from cross-disciplinary programming, innovative course design and diverse experiential learning opportunities. York students and graduates push limits, achieve goals and find solutions to the world’s most pressing social challenges, empowered by a strong community that opens minds. York U is an internationally recognized research university – our 11 faculties and 25 research centres have partnerships with 200+ leading universities worldwide. Located in Toronto, York is the third largest university in Canada, with a strong community of 53,000 students, 7,000 faculty and administrative staff, and more than 300,000 alumni. York U's fully bilingual Glendon Campus is home to Southern Ontario's Centre of Excellence for French Language and Bilingual Postsecondary Education.

Media Contact:

Sandra McLean, York University Media Relations, 416-272-6317,