Accessibility statement

Bumble bee (bombus terrestris) on flower (Ian Kirk on flickr)

Building a long-term vision and strategy for the Department of Environment & Geography at the University of York


Since its formation in 1992, the Department of Environment and Geography at the University of York has had many successes, from training current and emerging environmental leaders to delivering world class and impactful research. The world is, however, rapidly changing. This includes enormous environmental challenges, such as climate change and plastics in the oceans; technological changes, including the growth of Artificial Intelligence and digital cultures; together with rapidly shifting demands from students for more solution-oriented training. This is against a backdrop of a changing society that is struggling to understand how to work with complex, interconnected challenges. These and many other issues raise important questions about what we should strive to be, what our purpose is, and, in line with the University’s strategy of being a ‘University for Public Good’, how we ensure that what we do and how we do it continues to have relevance in a rapidly changing world.


We are embarking on a journey to explore how we may need to evolve in ways aligned to both changing wider conditions and to ensure that we are fully aligned to, and can continue to help shape the renewed focus of our university. We are seeking to be highly ambitious: to be the most influential environmental department by 2032 – our 40th Anniversary. There will be challenges, such as learning how we can achieve ambitious carbon reduction targets and shifting our practices towards a solution-oriented focus. However, there are also exciting opportunities, not least the phenomenal expertise that exists within the department in delivering inspiring teaching and research, and in the wider University and Region that we can draw upon.  


Over the coming months, we will be creating a number of opportunities for those within and beyond our department to engage with the development of our longer term vision and strategy. Our aim is for the strategy to be developed through a entirely collaborative process. This work is being facilitated by Professor Ioan Fazey, Deputy Director for Strategy and Charlotte Hartley, Project Manager. Activities over the coming months will include:

  • A series of professionally facilitated strategy development workshops that will involve a core group that represents diverse staff, students and those outside of the department.
  • Focus groups and individual interviews in between the core workshops to capture diverse views and expertise.
  • Regular two-way communications about progress.
  • An ‘open’ forum for the collection of ideas and emerging thoughts.
  • We will ensure the activities above align to the work taking place to develop the University wide 10-year strategic plan, and the aims and objectives identified through the collaborative process are consistent with those of the 11 thematic working groups.

The aim is that by Summer 2021 we will have developed our 40th Anniversary Strategy and will then move into the ‘implementation phase’ where we will put into practice the projects and activities required to achieve our strategic outcomes. 

For further information or for details about how to get involved in the strategy development, please contact Ioan Fazey.  We welcome all views and ideas in this collaborative process and will be providing further updates and opportunities to get involved as the work progresses.