Overall Rating Platinum
Overall Score 88.14
Liaison Tonie Miyamoto
Submission Date Dec. 6, 2019
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Colorado State University
AC-10: Support for Research

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Tonie Miyamoto
Director of Communications and Sustainability
Housing and Dining Services
"---" 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 research in sustainability? :
Yes

A brief description of the student research program, including the incentives provided and any positive outcomes during the previous three years:

InTERFEWS is an interdisciplinary Training, Education, and Research program in Food-Energy-Water Systems that brings together PhD students from traditionally disparate disciplines to conduct research on key programs within the Food-Energy-Water nexus with a focus on water-scarce, arid regions. Graduate student participants receive a paid stipend of $34,000 per year as well as formal mentoring in the program. Current projects include Assessing Links Between Social Environmental Justice Issues and Food-Energy-Waster in Semi-Arid Regions and Sustainable Household Energy Adoption in Rwanda: Promoting Rural Heath with Solar and Natural Gas. https://erams.com/interfews/

Founded and supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program at Colorado State is designed to provide valuable educational experiences for undergraduate students through research participation in an 8-10 week summer program. Working closely with faculty and researchers, REU projects involve undergraduates in meaningful ways in ongoing research including laboratory visits, seminars, and other research activities. Students receive stipends to participate, and, in many cases, also receive assistance with room and board as well as travel. For the summer of 2018, REU opportunities at Colorado State included but are not limited to Climate Science, Integrative Agroecology and Sustainability, Biorefining and Biofuels, and Urban Water. http://graduateschool.colostate.edu/diversity/reu/

The Multicultural Undergraduate Research Art and Leadership Symposium (MURALS) intentionally reaches out to students of color in various disciplines and exposes them to a variety of undergraduate research opportunities. Students receive a small stipend to participate ($25 RamCash) and are eligible for several cash prizes including $1,000 for Overall winner as well as $700 for 1st place, $500 for 2nd place, $250 for Rising Star, and $250 for Social Justice Enhancer in each category. As part of MURALS students participate in academic workshops, mentoring, an opportunity to present their scholarly work, networking, and learning about multicultural leadership. Categories include creative writing, arts, STEM, social sciences, humanities, etc. Multiple proposals related to sustainability are submitted and accepted each year and showcase sustainability broadly across multiple disciplines. http://www.murals.colostate.edu

In 2018, research from students, including students in student government and Eco Leaders, related to food insecurity on campus helped create the Ram Food Recovery Program, which makes food leftover from catered events within Housing & Dining Services available to members of the campus community who are experiencing food insecurity.

In 2019, a student research project/living lab related to growing greens at the Horticulture Center for campus dining centers was awarded a Housing & Dining Services Sustainability Fund award to purchase electronic monitoring equipment to ensure the greens are given the right amount of water and nutrients and to maximize growth. The equipment is cutting-edge in the industry and gives students hands-on experience.

The Vice President for Research office reports more than 5,000 undergraduate students at CSU directly involved in the research.


Does the institution have a program to encourage faculty from multiple disciplines or academic programs to conduct research in sustainability topics?:
Yes

A brief description of the faculty research program, including the incentives provided and any positive outcomes during the previous three years:

Global Challenges Research Teams are collaborative teams of faculty that build cross-campus partnerships to address the world’s most pressing regional and global sustainability issues. Each year School of Global Environmental Sustainability (SoGES) provides seed funding (generally $10,000 - $20,000 per team) and seeks proposals to foster creative and innovative approaches to sustainability grand challenges and establish relationships to conduct research in new areas and with expanded applicability. The interdisciplinary research teams address real-world, global challenges through environmental, societal, and economic knowledge in a teams-based approach. The 2019-20 Global Challenges Research Teams are Sustainable Performance of Healthy and Efficient Residual Environments (SPHERE) with researchers from Mechanical Engineering, Chemistry, Environmental and Radiological Health, and Political Science and Aerobiome Discovery Network with researchers from Bioagricultural Sciences and Pest Management, Biomedical Sciences, Next Generation Sequencing Facility, Environmental and Radiological Health Sciences, and Atmospheric Science. Examples of positive outcomes and achievements include panel discussions, development of community workshops, creation of inventory databases, and a performance piece. https://sustainability.colostate.edu/research/global-challenges-research-teams/

The School of Global Environmental Sustainability (SoGES) also funds Resident Fellows each year (generally $10,000 per fellow). These faculty members engage in scholarly, creative research and problem solving that address sustainability grand challenges. These positions provide unique opportunities for faculty and researchers from a broad range of disciplines to contribute to sustainability scholarship. For the 2017-2018 year, six faculty fellows were funded representing the Departments of Management; Agricultural and Resource Economics; Philosophy; Ecosystem Science and Sustainability; Apparel, Merchandising and Design; and Languages, Literatures, and Cultures.

Over the course of the year, here are a few of the outcomes and achievements of the follows: one fellow was published in Science, one presented at a national conference, one presented at an international conference, one applied for a National Geographic STEM education grant, one developed an online course on biodiversity, and one served as a keynote speaker at an annual ethics workshop. https://sustainability.colostate.edu/research/resident-fellows/


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?:
Yes

A brief description of the institution’s support for interdisciplinary, transdisciplinary, and multidisciplinary research, including any positive outcomes during the previous three years:

In the Colorado State University Promotion and Tenure document, authored by the Provost, (https://static.colostate.edu/client-files/provost/PTatCSU.pdf), interdisciplinary, transdisciplinary, and/or multidisciplinary work is clearly addressed as a value added: “Here at CSU we have a well-deserved reputation for interdisciplinary activity. We value that, and at promotion and tenure time we are in a position to reward it. Such work can cause a CV to look a bit different and we know that. We would never devalue a strong grounding in one’s discipline and the building of a disciplinary reputation with quality and impact. However, we do try to take interdisciplinary work into account in a positive way.”

Interdisciplinary research is specifically called out with examples of what the Tenure and Promotion Committee is looking for: “In research, one might expect: undertaking longer-range projects; the establishment of a substantial body of work that cements an expert’s reputation; having multiple streams of inquiry in play; invitations to give keynote or other special presentations at conferences or universities, with national and international scope; leading interdisciplinary teams on more complex projects; collaborations with an expanding circle of colleagues, both in and out of CSU.”

Interdisciplinary activity is also highlighted under the Annual and Midpoint Evaluation section, which states that Chairs should conduct evaluations with input from the Promotion and Tenure Committee and should also include voices that represent interdisciplinary activity: “For professors with significant interdisciplinary activity or joint appointments, input from others in a supervisory role for that part of the workload on campus should be sought as well.”

The Promotion and Tenure dossier template has a section on interdisciplinary work, inviting faculty to indicate how they’ve had some productivity there.

Positive outcomes from the 2017-2018 academic year include 4 Global Challenges Research Teams, which are collaborative, interdisciplinary teams of CSU faculty, students, and community members who build cross-campus partnerships to address the world's most pressing regional and global sustainability issues. Teams included Clothing and Sustainability, Northern Colorado Sustainable Analysis Network, Enhancing Community Well-Being through Horticulture and Design, and Crisis and Creativity.


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

A brief description of the institution’s library support for sustainability research, including any positive outcomes during the previous three years:

CSU libraries hosts a number of research guides to provide resources, tools, and support to hone sustainability research and learning skills. A couple examples are the research guide for Environmental Sciences and Sustainability at https://libguides.colostate.edu/sb.php?subject_id=116330 and Human Dimensions of Natural Resources at https://libguides.colostate.edu/human-dimensions.

These guides provide research resources per topic, including opportunities for e-learning, tips on Web searches, relevant articles, and assistance with citation. Some CSU courses also have specific research guides. For example, NR567 - Analysis of Environmental Impact – has a dedicated research guide at https://libguides.colostate.edu/NR567 that outlines how students can access environmental impact statements from the EPA as well as related journal and news articles. The guide also provides references, research tips, and database tutorials. Another example is SOC323- Sociology of Environmental Government, which has a dedicated research guide at https://libguides.colostate.edu/soc323.

Positive outcomes in the past three years include the creation of several new sustainability courses and the expansion of sustainability courses online.


The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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In addition to the below opportunities, many departments and/or programs offer a range of student opportunities. Students are encouraged to contact faculty in subjects they are interested in and can get additional support and guidance for connecting with faculty/opportunities from the School of Global Environmental Sustainability. For example, the Institute for the Built Environment, which specializes in structural and behavioral research and modification of building space, has a dedicated student opportunities program: https://ibe.colostate.edu/students/. In the spring semester, the Eco Leaders program has a dedicated independent course that empowers Eco Leaders to choose a research or engagement initiative to pursue class credit. At the end of the semester, projects are presented as research posters or presentations and can be submitted to national conferences or the Housing & Dining Services Sustainability Fund for funding.

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.