The School of the Environment replaced the former Centre for Environment (CfE) in 2012, after an extensive consultation process within the Faculty of Arts & Science (FAS). The Centre itself was created in 2005 as a merger of three former environmental units: the undergraduate Division of the Environment, the undergraduate Innis College Environmental Studies Program, and the graduate Institute for Environmental Studies. Each of these three units had impressive legacies.
Originally formed as the Great Lakes Institute in 1971, the graduate Institute for Environmental Studies had developed strong, collaborative Masters and Doctoral programs with departments from the humanities, sciences and social sciences. Established in 1978, the Innis College Environmental Studies program offered its own interdisciplinary, undergraduate courses, often instructed by leading community activists, such as NDP Party Leader Jack Layton, Ontario’s First Environmental Commissioner Eva Ligeti, and others.
In 1991, the Division of the Environment was formed, in a model that aimed to strengthen undergraduate programs through disciplinary, departmental collaborations. Both the Innis College Environmental Studies Program and the Division of the Environment were units within the Faculty of Arts & Science. The Institute for Environmental Studies was located within the School of Graduate Studies. These three units were consolidated as the Centre for Environment in 2005, making it the home for undergraduate, graduate and professional development programs related to the environment.
Today the School of the Environment faculty and staff collectively support successful undergraduate, graduate and professional development programs, as well as research projects that reflect a rich diversity of interdisciplinary interests and strengths in the field of environment and sustainability at the University of Toronto.