Aug. 31, 2023

New Department of Earth, Energy, and Environment 1st of its kind in Canada

Department of Geoscience name change heralds shift to broader focus, new courses and degree programs, and updated earth sciences curricula
Weather station
A weather station at a UCalgary field school gathers environmental data. Masaki Hayashi

Founded in 1963, UCalgary’s Department of Geoscience has long been a North American leader in earth science education and research. Through oil booms and recessions to cycles of flooding (remember 2013?) and drought, it has evolved and transformed alongside Calgary itself.

Tomorrow, it’s evolving again.

On Sept. 1, Geoscience will officially become the Department of Earth, Energy, and Environment — broadening its focus to tackle important challenges such as mitigating climate and natural hazards, and securing access to sustainable energy, food, and water resources.

“This goes far beyond a name change,” says Dr. Edwin Cey, PhD, head of the new department. “We’re broadening our focus to address wide-reaching challenges. We’ve heard it loud and clear from students, faculty, and industry partners — earth science is changing and expanding, and we need to be at the leading edge of that change.”

On Sept. 27, a grand opening evening will mark the launch, complete with an industry panel, student career fair, and brand unveiling. All current and prospective students, faculty, and alumni with an interest in earth, energy, and environmental science are invited to attend by registering to attend.

A transformation years in the making

A change on this scale takes a lot of time and energy. The shift comes after a multi-year consultation process involving hundreds of students, faculty members, and community stakeholders. “We’re grateful to the many people who shared their voices, ideas, and perspectives to help define the future of our department,” says Cey.

To achieve its transformation, the Department of Earth, Energy, and Environment will add new courses and degree programs focused on energy and environmental science alongside updated curricula for earth sciences. The new Energy Science undergraduate program is projected to launch in 2024 and will train scientists on traditional and emerging forms of energy as well as its storage, transmission, and policy implications.

“We’re excited to grow our team of field-leading faculty members with new additions focused on these important research areas,” Cey adds.

The new department will be the first of its kind in Canada, bringing an integrated, transdisciplinary focus that cuts across Earth, energy, and environment. It will also increase focus on alumni engagement, industry partnerships, and student internships.

“Community relationships are critical to us, and will become even more so going forward,” Cey emphasises. “We’re building out our community, which we’re calling Earth @ UCalgary, inclusive of all parts of the department. This will include the EARTHx speakers’ series, student events, and more connection opportunities for alumni. We’re looking forward to sharing more details in the weeks and months ahead.”

Cey says students and faculty members are excited about the expanded focus area, community connections, and increased transdisciplinarity. “The bottom line is that we’ve always been a world-leading geoscience department,” says Cey. “Now we have the opportunity to become leaders in the bold, interdisciplinary space of earth, energy, and environment as well.”

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