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    Planning school to join with Geography department

    By Communications Staff

    Principal Daniel Woolf and Provost Alan Harrison announced today that the School of Urban and Regional Planning (SURP) will join with the Department of Geography in the Faculty of Arts and Science, allowing both academic units to benefit from synergies within their programs. The move, effective July 1, follows a recommendation from Senate in 2009 that SURP should be located within an academic faculty rather than the School of Graduate Studies, which is an administrative unit.

    “For more than four decades SURP has prepared students for success in the diverse and interdisciplinary field of urban and regional planning,” says Daniel Woolf, Principal and Vice-Chancellor. “The greater resources and enhanced linkages within the larger combined academic unit will create new opportunities to expand programs and encourage further collaboration.”

    During a one-year transitional period, until June 2015, it will be business as usual and the school will maintain its hold harmless budgetary position within the faculty, ensuring it receives the same budget allocation as in previous years. David Gordon, Director of SURP, will report to Susan Mumm, Dean, Faculty of Arts and Science.

    The greater resources and enhanced linkages within the larger combined academic unit will create new opportunities to expand programs and encourage further collaboration.

    - Principal Daniel Woolf

    A task force, to be chaired by Bob Lemieux, Associate Dean in the Faculty of Arts and Science, will recommend a structure for the new academic unit.

    “The task force will have representation from both units and will recommend an academic and governance structure to ensure the vibrant academic culture of these two units continues following the merger,” says Alan Harrison, Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic). “The new unit will also receive a new name that reflects the identities of the two former units.”

    A search committee for the head of the new unit will be struck in the fall, with a goal of having the head in place by July 1, 2015 when Paul Treitz’s term as head of the Department of Geography ends. Dr. Gordon’s term as director of SURP ends on Dec. 31, 2014, and an interim director will be named for the period from Jan. 1 to June 30, 2015.

    “SURP already has many associations with the Department of Geography, including a number of cross-appointed faculty and an accelerated degree program,” says Dr. Gordon. “In many ways combining these two units is a natural fit, and will lead to further collaboration in academic programs as well as research.”

    The School of Urban and Regional Planning’s rigorous, two-year Master of Urban and Regional Planning program helps students develop the knowledge and skills they require to become leaders in the planning profession and meet the challenges of a rapidly evolving urban environment. The program has been accredited by the Canadian Institute of Planners since it was founded in 1970. The Department of Geography offers outstanding undergraduate and graduate programs and in 2013 was ranked 41st globally in the QS World University Rankings by Subject.