Overall Rating Silver - expired
Overall Score 45.39
Liaison Holli Fajack
Submission Date July 6, 2017
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

California State University, Long Beach
AC-1: Academic Courses

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 3.82 / 14.00 Holli Fajack
Sustainability Manager
Office of Sustainability, Beach Building Services
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Figures required to calculate the percentage of courses offered by the institution that are sustainability course offerings:
Undergraduate Graduate
Total number of courses offered by the institution 1,954 654
Number of sustainability courses offered 9 3
Number of courses offered that include sustainability 39 11

Percentage of courses that are sustainability course offerings:

Total number of academic departments (or the equivalent) that offer courses (at any level):

Number of academic departments (or the equivalent) that offer at least one sustainability course and/or course that includes sustainability (at any level):

Percentage of academic departments with sustainability course offerings:

A copy of the institution’s inventory of its sustainability course offerings and descriptions:
Do the figures reported above cover one, two, or three academic years?:

A brief description of the methodology used to determine the total number of courses offered and to identify sustainability course offerings, including the definitions used and the process for reviewing and/or validating the course inventory :

We employed a rigorous, multi-step process in developing this course inventory. First, our Sustainability Task Force's Curriculum Working Group created a survey which was emailed to all faculty on campus to gather information about courses currently being offered that focus on or incorporate sustainability (the same survey was used to gather information for AC - 8: Campus as a Living Lab and AC-9: Research and Scholarship). The results of the survey were then reviewed by the Working Group and individual faculty members were contacted to obtain further information and/or clarification about their survey responses. Unfortunately, the survey response rate was quite low and did not provide enough information to enable us to build a comprehensive list. Also, many of the courses faculty self-identified as "sustainability courses" or "courses that include sustainability" led the Working Group to determine that the definitions we had provided in the survey were too broad to provide faculty with sufficient parameters. As a result, the Working Group went back to the drawing board and decided to set an extremely high bar with regards to which courses to include and exclude from the list of courses. The Working Group determined that in order to be included on this list, the word "sustainability" would need to appear in the official Standard Course Outline (SCO) or, in some rare cases when the SCO was unavailable, in the course syllabus. In order to determine which SCOs/syllabi would need to be reviewed, Student Assistants in the Office of Planning and Sustainability read through the entire course catalog and created a list of all courses that had even the most remote possibility of including sustainability concepts or content. These courses were added to the list of courses previously identified via the survey and the SCOs/syllabi for those courses were requested from each College and Department. Next, the Student Assistants read through each of the SCOs/syllabi and highlighted the term "sustainability" if and when it appeared. In a few limited cases, key terms such as "environmental," "ecological" or "environmental justice" were highlighted and included in the list of courses to be considered. Finally, the Curriculum Working Group and Sustainability Coordinator reviewed the highlighted SCOs/syllabi and made final determinations about which courses to include in the inventory and whether they should be designated as "Sustainability Courses" or "Courses that Include Sustainability."

The entire process took over a year to complete and was extremely labor intensive, particularly reviewing the course catalog and obtaining the SCOs, which, unfortunately, are not centrally archived by the University. However, we were very motivated to create a list that accurately represents the courses our university currently offers in which students would be guaranteed to not just learn about discrete topics which are tangentially related to sustainability (such as "economy" or "nature"), but to actually gain an understanding of the interconnected concept of sustainability itself. We also have the goal of developing a Sustainability Minor program in the near future and we hoped that this list could serve as a resource for building that program.

How were courses with multiple offerings or sections counted for the figures reported above?:
Not applicable; no courses with multiple offerings or sections were included

A brief description of how courses with multiple offerings or sections were counted (if different from the options outlined above):

Are the following course types included in the inventory? :
Yes (included) or No (not included)
Internships No
Practicums No
Independent study No
Special topics No
Thesis / dissertation No
Clinical No
Physical education No
Performance arts No

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

Additional documentation to support the submission:

Data source(s) and notes about the submission:

Reporting year: 2015-16

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.