Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 70.16
Liaison Kylee Singh
Submission Date Sept. 19, 2019
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

California Polytechnic State University
EN-6: Assessing Sustainability Culture

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 0.00 / 1.00 Kylee Singh
Sustainability Coordinator
Energy Utilities and Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution conduct an assessment of sustainability culture (i.e. the assessment focuses on sustainability values, behaviors and beliefs, and may also address awareness of campus sustainability initiatives)?:

Which of the following best describes the cultural assessment? The assessment is administered to::
A subset of the campus community or a sample that may not be representative of the entire community

Which of the following best describes the structure of the cultural assessment? The assessment is administered::
Longitudinally to measure change over time

A brief description of how and when the cultural assessment(s) were developed and/or adopted:

The Center for Teaching, Learning, and Technology at Cal Poly organized a Teaching Sustainability Across the Curriculum learning community. The learning community supports an interdisciplinary group of faculty who work to improve sustainability culture and attitude across campus. In 2017 the group collaborated to develop an assessment of current sustainability practices and a survey of stakeholder knowledge and attitudes on sustainability. In order to draft this survey, faculty used examples from other STARS participating institutions who scored high in this category.

A copy or sample of the questions related to sustainability culture:
A sample of the questions related to sustainability culture or the website URL where the assessment tool is available:

How do you gauge your own knowledge on sustainability?
How do you define sustainability?
How important do you think sustainability is? Why do you think that?
Do you think sustainability learning is important to include in the Cal Poly curriculum?
How does Cal Poly teach sustainability?
What courses have you taken that discuss sustainability or focus on sustainability? (Students).
What courses have you taught that present information on sustainability? (Faculty)
What prevents you from receiving more sustainability instruction at Cal Poly? (Students).
What prevents you from providing more sustainability instruction at Cal Poly? (Faculty).
What are some ways to make sustainability education more accessible at Cal Poly?

A brief description of how representative samples were reached (if applicable) and how the cultural assessment is administered:

Given the lack of existing data on sustainability attitudes among Cal Poly students and faculty, qualitative methods were deemed the most appropriate for data collection and analysis. Data were collected using semistructured interviews [23], in which a set of open-ended questions were prepared to guide the interview process but might be asked in a particular order or format. Interview questions were designed to gauge each participant’s general sustainability knowledge and attitudes, to assess how sustainability is approached as a learning objective across disciplines, and to identify potential barriers to teaching sustainability across the curriculum. A total of 17 faculty and 39 student interviewees from six colleges at Cal Poly (i.e., agriculture, architecture, business, engineering, liberal arts, and science and math) voluntarily participated in this survey. Students were recruited from large general education (GE) courses within a variety of disciplines and provided minimal assignment extra credit incentives for participation. The large GE courses chosen were defined as courses with over 125 students where all academic departments were represented in the possible student pool. Recruitment announcements were made in four such classes. Third-year and fourth year students were specifically targeted as they would have more class experience to draw upon.

A brief summary of results from the cultural assessment, including a description of any measurable changes over time:

Of the 39 student responses, 22 were noted as having a high level of
sustainability knowledge, and 17 were noted as having a low level of sustainability knowledge. Of
the 17 faculty responses, 10 were noted as having a high level of sustainability knowledge, and 7 were
noted as having a low level of sustainability knowledge.
Participants were grouped in this way in order to develop a deeper understanding of how their
prior interest and/or knowledge regarding sustainability might impact their attitude of sustainability.
An a priori assumption was that
sustainability ‘adherents’ (i.e., those students and faculty with prior or continued exposure to
sustainability education) would represent a qualitatively different subset of responses with a
generally more positive attitude toward sustainability education due to their understanding of the
importance of sustainability practices. Given this a priori assumption, the analysis sought to identify
whether the barriers and solutions identified by students and faculty were similar regardless of their
adherence to or knowledge about sustainability, or whether those with more knowledge about or
adherence to sustainability practices would identify different types of barriers for curriculum

The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:

Additional documentation to support the submission:

Based on feedback from Humboldt States third party review and STARS staff, the assessment as it stands does not fully qualify as a thorough sustainability culture assessment.

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 and complete the Data Inquiry Form.