Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 56.16
Liaison Matthew Liesch
Submission Date May 13, 2024

STARS v2.2

Central Michigan University
AC-10: Support for Sustainability Research

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Eric Urbaniak
Student Reviewer
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have an ongoing program to encourage students in multiple disciplines or academic programs to conduct sustainability research?:

A brief description of the student sustainability research program:
CMU offers several student-based research programs:

The Institute for Great Lakes Research, or IGLR, an institute of Central Michigan University, provides monetary and educational incentives to encourage students, faculty, and local scientists to conduct sustainability research. Utilizing a $10,000,000 grant from the EPA, IGLR launched the first-ever Great Lakes basin-wide coastal wetland monitoring program. Students are funded to conduct field research, data collection and analysis that has resulted in a sustainable ongoing and long-term monitoring system designed to act as a wetland health/condition assessment.

Through this program and collaboration with the Department of Biology, several students have engaged in research of the Great Lakes Wetlands with Institute Director Don Uzarski. IGLR faculty members are nationally and internationally recognized experts on coastal wetlands, conservation genetics, fisheries, invasive species, limnology, aquatic population modeling, microbial ecology, landscape ecology, and geographic information sciences.

In addition, this program emphasizes the importance of having its students adopt a multidisciplinary approach to understand the complex environmental issues affecting the Great Lakes basin. This area includes associated ecosystems such as tributaries, wetlands, and coastal regions, as well as the lakes themselves. Through opportunities such as this one, students have more capstone, presentation, study abroad, and conference opportunities related to sustainability.

For more information on IGLR, please visit https://www.cmich.edu/academics/colleges/college-science-engineering/centers/institute-for-great-lakes-research.

Protecting Michigan Waters is another on-going research initiative in which CMU students can get involved in. When historic floods washed out a pair of Michigan dams in 2020, the endangered snuffbox mussel was among the biggest casualties. Biology professor Daelyn Woolnough had spent years analyzing the role mussels play in keeping water clean. When the dams broke, the lakes drained, killing off thousands. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources wanted to know how much damage was done. And it knew Woolnough was the person to ask. She has enlisted a team of graduate students to study the Tittabawassee and Tobacco rivers. Working alongside state conservation experts, she has been working on ways to bring the population back.

Lastly, the Office of Research and Graduate Studies offers funding for undergraduate and graduate scholars to conduct innovative research in areas like sustainability and conservation as well as showcase their work at the Student Creative and Research Endeavors Exhibition (SCREE). SCREE is a celebration to honor students and provide them with the opportunity to share their research, scholarly, and creative endeavors with a professional audience and the university community as a whole.

Does the institution have a program to encourage academic staff from multiple disciplines or academic programs to conduct sustainability research?:

A brief description of the faculty sustainability research program:
The Faculty Research and Creative endeavors program is a campus-wide opportunity that enables CMU faculty to conduct research in sustainability. It is administered by a faculty committee appointed by the institution’s Academic Senate, with oversight and grant management provided by the Office of Sponsored Programs. Research grants offered through this program support research, scholarship, or creative endeavors. Additional funds cover presentation (travel) expenses to meetings, conferences, or exhibitions.

Additionally, student workers from Central Sustainability are researching sustainability initiatives to gain a better understanding of what effective sustainability planning looks like. Two student workers have partnered with a faculty member within CMU’s Geography and Environmental Studies department to investigate how diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts are portrayed on university sustainability offices’ websites. Meanwhile, another student worker is researching the value of Green Fees in maintaining ongoing sustainability initiatives.

In general, faculty are encouraged to conduct research and recruit student help in order to further the universities diversity, equity, and inclusion goals. This will ultimately lead to a larger campus population being knowledgeable about the various facets of sustainability. Additionally, students who engage in research with faculty have additional opportunities to engage in conferences, and mentor students. Through these incentives, more faculty are able to engage in research regarding environmental, cultural, social, and community sustainability.

Has the institution published written policies and procedures that give positive recognition to interdisciplinary, transdisciplinary, and multidisciplinary research during faculty promotion and/or tenure decisions?:

A copy of the promotion or tenure guidelines or policies:

The promotion or tenure guidelines or policies:
Taken from the CMU/CMUFA AGREEMENT 2019-2024:
“The pursuit of knowledge and learning manifests itself in different ways in various fields and disciplines such as sciences, arts, humanities and applied arts. Departmental colleagues are thus best informed and are in the best position to arrive at specific criteria and standards to evaluate a bargaining unit member's work. It is therefore the responsibility of departments to develop and systematize these criteria and standards so that they may serve as guidelines for departmental recommendations regarding reappointment, tenure, and promotion.”

Taken from the Academic Affairs page on the CMU Website under Interdisciplinary Programs:
“Interdisciplinary programs at Central Michigan University draw from two or more academic disciplines and emphasize integrative learning, critical thinking and creative problem solving. Because these programs are centered on the unique ways in which these disciplines interact, students develop into broad-minded professionals ready to address some of today’s most important issues, and make a valued contribution in our rapidly changing world.

Each of CMU’s interdisciplinary programs is carefully designed by an interdisciplinary council of faculty, including some of the university’s distinguished and award-winning professors. These faculty members formally embrace the creative and innovative interdisciplinary approach to answering questions, solving problems and addressing contemporary issues from multiple perspectives.

More than 20 undergraduate and graduate interdisciplinary programs available at CMU prepare students for careers in the natural sciences, social sciences, communications and multi-media, education, humanities and much more. We invite you to view the complete listing of interdisciplinary programs available at CMU in the undergraduate and graduate bulletins."

Does the institution have ongoing library support for sustainability research and learning?:

A brief description of the institution’s library support for sustainability research:
The CMU Library maintains a collection of materials that supports sustainability research. Its collections of journals, books, media items, and other materials are maintained for the purpose of providing research support to both faculty and student researchers. An increasing percentage of the library’s resources are available in electronic formats, meaning they are accessible around the clock and from wherever the researcher happens to be.

If a researcher needs a copy of an item not owned by the CMU Library, there is an interlibrary loan service available. Materials can be obtained from other libraries at no cost or found through other web sources via Documents on Demand, with the typical processing and delivery time being within 24-48 hours.

The library has subject librarians who have expertise in areas related to sustainability (e.g. the sciences, social sciences, health, and education). These librarians are available to provide research assistance to both faculty and students and to provide instruction in the use of library services and resources to graduate and undergraduate classes. They can also help faculty identify and access both library-owned resources and open-access materials that will support the course development process.

A subject librarian has created a research guide on the topic of sustainability, and it can be found at http://libguides.cmich.edu/sustainability

Positive outcomes include highly specialized research consultants who effectively aid in students' efforts to focus literature retrieved for both basic and applied research, leading to more specific, well-informed, and defendable research conducted by students and faculty.

Website URL where information about the institution’s support for sustainability research is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

Data source(s) and notes about the submission:
All information was taken from the official CMU website.

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.