Concise Encyclopedia of Tufts History
Department of Urban and Environmental Policy, 1973
The Department of Urban and Environmental Policy, or UEP, was formed in 1973 as the Graduate Program in Urban, Social, and Environmental Policy.
In 1972, Frank Colcord of the Department of Political Science commissioned Hermann Field, of the Tufts-New England Medical Center Planning Office, to conceptualize an interdisciplinary graduate program emphasizing environmental sustainability and grassroots activism. The aim of the program was to combine work in environment with work in urban planning in order to broaden the skills and knowledge of graduate students working in the field.
The Program in Urban, Social, and Environmental Policy was granted trial status in 1973.The first class consisted of only nine students, and Field acted as the founding director. The faculty of the program included professors from the Departments of Political Science, Sociology, Economics, Biology, and Education. Three years later, in 1976, the Program in Urban, Social and Environmental Policy was formally accepted as a graduate program. Though it received little money from Tufts, the program had been awarded a total of $220,000 in federal grants by 1977. The program moved into the Brown House at 38 Professors Row in 1977.Construction on the new Campus Center, however, necessitated its relocation to 97 Talbot Avenue in 1983.The Program in Urban, Social and Environmental Policy established its first joint degree program with the Department of Civil Engineering in 1978.The following year, university trustees voted department status to the program, and its name was officially changed to the Department of Urban and Environmental Policy. Rob Hollister was named the first chair of UEP in January, 1980.
During the fall of that same year, UEP announced the formation of the Program in Public Policy and Citizen Participation, or PPCP, which would be administered in conjunction with the Department of Political Science. The Center for Public Services was established in 1986 as an umbrella organization to oversee both the UEP and the PPCP. It was dissolved in 1989, however, when the UEP and the PPCP merged.
UEP and the Fletcher School announced the formation of a three-year dual degree program in International Environmental Policy, the first of UEP's dual degree programs, in 1989.Three years later, UEP was ranked first in the country among urban masters programs, and was also leading the environmental and social track of the newly created undergraduate major in Environmental Studies. The same year, Hollister resigned as chair, and was replaced by Shelly Krimsky.
UEP received its largest grant to date in 1994, when the Alvin Levin Fellowship was formed in order to provide funding for a UEP female graduate student of color. UEP also launched in that same year a joint degree with the Department of Economics. Additionally, the department began to work collaboratively with the School of Nutrition, a relationship that ultimately resulted in the establishment of a dual degree program administered by both the UEP and the School of Nutrition in 2000.
As of 2001, UEP continues to operate out of 97 Talbot Avenue. It offers graduate degrees as well as certificates in Management of Community Organizations, Community Environmental Studies, and joint degrees with Economics, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Biology, and Child Development.