Overall Rating Silver - expired
Overall Score 58.99
Liaison Barbara Kviz
Submission Date Feb. 27, 2015
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

Carnegie Mellon University
AC-6: Sustainability Literacy Assessment

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 0.00 / 4.00 David Dzombak
Hamerschlag University Professor and Department Head
CEE: Civil & Environmental Engineering
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

The percentage of students assessed for sustainability literacy (directly or by representative sample) and for whom a follow-up assessment is conducted:

The percentage of students assessed for sustainability literacy (directly or by representative sample) without a follow-up assessment:
+ Date Revised: June 11, 2015
+ Date Revised: June 11, 2015

A copy of the questions included in the sustainability literacy assessment(s):

The questions included in the sustainability literacy assessment(s) :


A brief description of how the assessment(s) were developed:

Funded by the Henry Luce Foundation from 2003-2006, “The Greening of Undergraduate Education” project was a university-wide effort in environmental education primarily for first-year and second-year undergraduates. Over the three years, the project resulted in innovative modules or full courses that introduced concepts central to environmental literacy and built a learning community of the project faculty. A total of 35 courses were affected, and the environmental material developed has been integrated permanently to the content of courses ranging from Writing and History to Art and Design to Architecture and Engineering. This innovation continues to touch over 300 students each semester. Three overarching features were embedded into the courses as foundations for ecological thinking: systems thinking, life cycles, and self as agent.

A brief description of how the assessment(s) were administered:

Environmental literacy is a way of thinking as much as it is knowledge of facts and methods. Seeking to capture how students think about and understand environmental issues, the project tried an interview protocol, in which students verbally discussed an environmental case study with a moderator. From these interviews, the researchers devised an essay question based on a case study to illuminate students’ additional thought processes.

A brief summary of results from the assessment(s):

The assessment strengthened the faculty’s understanding of the challenges of teaching for environmental literacy. The following outcomes were noted in the final report to the Luce Foundation:

• Creation of a Learning Community
• A Learning Experience for Faculty—Improved pedagogy through a sharing of ideas and methods
• Systematic Assessment of Learning Objectives
• Scholarship of Teaching and Pedagogy: Teaching for Environmental Literacy
• Definition of Environmental Literacy: We documented our process of defining, teaching, evaluating performance, and assessing the learning of environmental literacy and how to measure the impact of a specific course.

The website URL where information about the literacy assessment(s) is available:

Carnegie Mellon University first initiated the development of environmental education in our curriculum through “The Greening of Undergraduate Education” project in 2003. The project included literacy assessment of students, and a review of how environmental pedagogy could be integrated across the entire curriculum. The project successfully ended in 2006. At this time, Carnegie Mellon does not conduct regular assessment of sustainability literacy of all students.

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.