Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 66.97
Liaison Alex Davis
Submission Date July 29, 2011
Executive Letter Download

STARS v1.0

Arizona State University
ER-18: Sustainability Research Incentives

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 6.00 / 6.00 Betty Lombardo
University Sustainability Practices
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Does the institution have a program to encourage student sustainability research that meets the criteria for this credit?:

A brief description of the institution’s program(s) to encourage student research in sustainability:

Arizona State University has been awarded graduate research fellowships from Science Foundation Arizona. They are intended to advance use-inspired research benefiting Arizona. One of the strategic priority areas of the fellowship program is sustainable energy and the environment.

Graduates in Integrative Society and Environment Research (GISER) is a graduate student organization that was initiated with seed money from the Integrative Graduate Education and Research Training (IGERT) program in Urban Ecology. IGERT is coming to an end, but the new student organization is aimed at providing graduate students from schools and departments across the University with the opportunity to move from talking about interdisciplinarity to engaging in short-term, student-driven interdisciplinary research related to society and environment.

To serve this purpose, GISER includes three sets of activities:

1.Monthly plenary meeting: All graduate student and faculty involved with GISER meet monthly to talk about working groups and workshops and brainstorm future activities. These meetings have also included panel discussions on interdisciplinary topics such as objectivity in science.
2.Working groups: These graduate student led projects usually take the form of a reading or discussion group where students can engage with other disciplinary perspectives on a topic.
3.Workshops: These product-oriented projects often emerge from working groups. These projects typically receive funding, and participants gain academic credits for participation.

GISER has attracted over 100 members and has 5 active working groups which include over 30 students as well as collaborators from non profit and governmental organizations. Participants have come from a range of disciplines, including sustainability, geography, life sciences, humanities, political science, anthropology, archaeology, engineering, urban planning, and mathematics.

While GISER is still in its infancy, it is promising to be a productive forum for integrative research and collaboration for graduate students from a wide range of disciplinary backgrounds.


The website URL where information about the student research program is available:

Does the institution have a program to encourage faculty sustainability research that meets the criteria for this credit?:

A brief description of the institution’s program(s) to encourage faculty research in sustainability:

Sustainability Scientists and Scholars is a special designation for university researchers who conduct important work on sustainability topics. Sustainability science requires a comprehensive multidisciplinary approach, integrating practical experience with knowledge and action drawn from the spectrum of disciplines in the natural and social sciences, medicine, engineering, mathematics, humanities and the arts. The formalization of a community of sustainability scientists-scholars from throughout the university-and ultimately from other research institutions-is meant to accelerate the pace of discovery and formally recognize the many contributors to this field.

Two titles have been created for Arizona State University researchers who are substantively involved in sustainability research. These designations are “Senior Sustainability Scientist,” and “Distinguished Sustainability Scientist.” If more suitable, faculty may also use the designation of “Scholar” versus “Scientist.” All Arizona State University faculty (Research or Clinical, Professors of Practice, tenure-track or tenured) who have conducted important sustainability research are eligible for the title Senior Sustainability Scientist. Faculty who have garnered highly significant honors for their work in sustainability—such as a Nobel Prize, membership in a U.S. Academy, a Regents’ or President’s Professorship, a Julie A. Wrigley Chair, or other major recognition determined by the Institute’s Directorate—will be appointed a Distinguished Sustainability Scientist.

Benefits of the Designation
• Integration in all of the Global Institute of Sustainability’s programming, including seed grant programs.
• Opportunities to provide critical input into the Institute’s strategic planning processes through individual meetings and/or retreats.
• Membership in working groups organized around particular research themes.
• Access to the Institute’s Proposal Machine*; Communications Group; Events Group.
• Priority access to a suite of meeting rooms, ‘parachute office space,’ and administrative services at the Institute.
• Use/promotion of the new title at academic conferences/presentations, on business cards/websites.

Expectations for Faculty Designees
• Maintain a research record in sustainability.
• Maintain a current CV and biography (for display on the Global Institute of Sustainability’s website).
• Serve as an advisor to School of Sustainability master’s and doctoral students.
• Contribute to the Global Institute of Sustainability.

The website URL where information about the faculty research program is available:

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.