Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 72.18
Liaison Ryan Todd
Submission Date May 9, 2016
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

California State University, Sacramento
AC-2: Learning Outcomes

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 8.00 / 8.00 Kristina Cullen
Sustainability Analyst
Facilities Management—Sustainability
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Number of students who graduated from a program that has adopted at least one sustainability learning outcome:

Total number of graduates from degree programs:

A copy of the list or inventory of degree, diploma or certificate programs that have sustainability learning outcomes:
A list of degree, diploma or certificate programs that have sustainability learning outcomes:


A list or sample of the sustainability learning outcomes associated with degree, diploma or certificate programs (if not included in an inventory above):

One of the principles on which a modern university rests is the assumption that there is an important difference between learning to make a living and building the foundation for a life. While the first goal is important, the second is fundamental.

In focusing on the students’ development as whole or “educated” people, a university distinguishes itself from a trade school. The goal of a university education is not simply the acquisition and application of knowledge, but the creation of people who firmly grasp the worth of clear thinking and know how to do it; who understand and appreciate the differences between peoples and cultures as well as their similarities; who have a sense of history and social forces; who can express thought clearly and have quantitative ability; who know something about the arts as well as how to enjoy them; who can talk and think intelligently about the physical and life sciences, the humanities, and literature; and, above all, who have the desire and capability for learning. This goal is why a university degree is so highly valued by individuals, employers, and the community at large.

The Sacramento State General Education Program is designed to educate in this holistic sense. Thus, it is not simply a series of courses to complete or hoops for students to jump through as they complete the courses in their major. Rather, general education lies at the heart of what a university education is all about.

Therefore students should carefully select courses and actively seek subject areas that are new and may challenge their world views or cherished assumptions and offer new experiences, such as inquiry-based or community-based learning. In short, students should not take the easy way out. This is their opportunity to lay the foundation for the rest of their lives, and to define themselves as educated members of the human community. Their time at the university is precious and the General Education Program has been designed to help them begin the process of becoming truly educated people. In deciding to pursue a university degree, they have chosen well and should make the best use of the opportunities open to them.


Upon completion of the General Education Program requirements, students will be expected to:

• read, write, and understand relatively complex and sophisticated English prose;
• construct a non-fallacious verbal argument, recognize fallacious arguments, and follow the verbal arguments of others;
• find and use common information resources, engage in specialized library research, use computers, and seek out appropriate expert opinion and advice; and
• use mathematical ideas to accomplish a variety of tasks.

In addition to these basic skills, courses in the sciences, arts, humanities, and social sciences have been selected to provide students with:

• an understanding of the workings of the physical universe, which will refine their science-based conceptual problem solving skills and develop a first-hand acquaintance with the methods of science, including a general understanding of hypothesis formation and theory-testing;
• knowledge of current theories about the origins and varieties of life on this planet, focusing on the basic principles of life processes, the interdependence of creatures in ecological systems, and the effects of changes in the environment;
• an exposure to the historical and cultural influences that have played significant roles in the evolution of the values, beliefs, and ideas of Western and non-Western societies, through the study of significant literary, philosophical, and artistic works;
• a familiarity with the theories and methods of the social sciences in order to enhance their understandings of the major institutions in our society, and the roles that both individuals and groups play in shaping experience;
• perspectives on people from various cultures and backgrounds, including awareness of the contributions of non-Western cultures, women, and ethnic groups to the rich diversity of human activity; and
• an understanding of the current theories and methods used to expand our knowledge of the processes of mental and physical development throughout the human life cycle.

The website URL where information about the institution’s sustainability learning outcomes is available:

Our rationale for choosing degree programs with sustainable learning outcomes was strongly influenced by the technical manual's definition of sustainable learning outcomes as follows "Sustainability learning outcomes are statements that outline the specific sustainability knowledge and skills that a student is expected to have gained and demonstrated by the successful completion of a unit, course, or program. Learning outcomes do not necessarily have to use the term “sustainability” to count as long as they collectively address sustainability as an integrated concept having social, economic, and environmental dimensions. For example, an institution may have adopted a set of sustainability learning outcomes for its general education program that cover systems thinking, interdisciplinary capacities, social responsibility, and an understanding of the carrying capacity of ecosystems. Each outcome does not have to include the term “sustainability” for the set to be considered sustainability learning outcomes. Likewise, however, none of those outcomes would be considered a sustainability learning outcome on their own."

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.