Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 69.73
Liaison Megan Litke
Submission Date Jan. 31, 2011
Executive Letter Download

STARS v1.0

American University
ER-5: Sustainability Course Identification

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 3.00 / 3.00 Emily Curley
Sustainability Coordinator
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Has the institution developed a definition of sustainability in the curriculum?:

A copy of the institution's definition of sustainability in the curriculum?:

An informal committee convened in November 2009 to create working definitions for “sustainability-focused curriculum,” sustainability-related curriculum," and “sustainability in research.”

A. Committee Members
- Kathleen Getz, Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Kogod School of Business
- Dr. Sikina Jinnah, Assistant Professor, School of International Service
- Stephen MacAvoy, Assistant Professor, Department of Environmental Science
- Facilitator: Chris O’Brien, Director, Office of Sustainability

B. Definitions
1. Sustainability‐focused courses concentrate on the concept of sustainability, including its social, economic, and environmental dimensions, or examine an issue or topic using sustainability as a lens.

2. Sustainability‐related courses incorporate sustainability as a distinct course component or module, or concentrate on a single sustainability principle or issue.

The goal of sustainability education is to provide students, regardless of their courses of study, the knowledge and skills to help create a healthy economy, society, and environment. To determine whether or not a course has this goal in mind, consider whether or not a given course will help students achieve one or more of the following:
• Understand and be able to effectively communicate the concept of sustainability.
• Develop and use an ethical perspective in which they view themselves as embedded in the fabric of an interconnected world.
• Become aware of and explore the connections between their chosen course of study and sustainability.
• Develop technical skills or expertise necessary to implement sustainable solutions.
• Understand the way in which sustainable thinking and decision‐making contributes to the process of creating solutions for current and emerging social, environmental, and economic crises.
• Contribute practical solutions to real‐world sustainability challenges.
• Synthesize understanding of social, economic, and environmental systems and reason holistically.

A course need not accomplish all of these to be designated as sustainability-related or sustainability-focused.

Has the institution identified its sustainability-focused and sustainability-related course offerings?:

A brief description of the methodology the institution followed to complete the inventory:

The Office of Sustainability asked faculty to use the above guidance to self-identify whether any of their classes were sustainability-focused or sustainability-related. 19.2 percent of faculty completed the survey and the results were used to produce a catalog of sustainability curricula.

Does the institution make its sustainability course inventory publicly available online?:

The website URL where the sustainability course inventory is posted:

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.