Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 70.82
Liaison Rochelle Owen
Submission Date Jan. 7, 2015
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

Dalhousie University
AC-6: Sustainability Literacy Assessment

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.22 / 4.00
"---" 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: Jan. 30, 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:

Annually the Office of Sustainability releases a survey to students, staff and faculty to collect data on topics such as: commuting and travel, the natural and built environment, waste management, as well as student and employee sustainability experiences. This is the third year the survey has been administered. As such the 2012 survey was edited and updated prior to release. Key updates from 2012 include the addition of the waste management questions and updates to the transportation questions based on the 2013 Travel Behaviour of Dalhousie University Commuters Report.

The survey is a representative sample of students and employees.

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

Dalhousie University has released an annual Sustainability and Commuter Survey every year for the past couple of years. Each year we have 1500 - 2000 individuals from the campus complete the survey including a representative % of students. Survey participant recruitment include a number of tactics including the use of various prizes as incentives. Recruitment includes direct email to: student societies, faculty members for students in classes, departmental administrators to send to students, and employees. Promotion of the survey happens through social media and university e-newsletters for students and employees. Direct survey sign up at the student union and residence is used. Promotion of the survey on university digital LCD screen is also employed. A Master student group works with the Office each year on promoting and analyzing the survey.

The purpose of the survey is to identify the success of sustainability programs, gather ideas for the future, and understand the general state of knowledge and interest of the campus community. This purpose aligns with the Sustainability Literacy Assessment Credit of STARS. All students on all campuses are targeted to capture a sample of students from different disciplines. Demographic information is collected by Department.

The STARS credits identifies that the sustainability literacy assessment “should focus on knowledge of sustainability topics and may also address values, behaviors and/or beliefs”. Each year, some of our survey questions stay the same for comparability year over year and some change to gather more information on interest, knowledge and programming. Not including demographic questions there were 37 questions on the 2014 survey. Of the 37 questions we identified 5 to have a knowledge component; 8 to have a values component, 3 to have a beliefs component and 23 to have a behavioural component.

Asking real-life questions about behavior, values, beliefs and knowledge of actions or concepts stimulates critical thinking. This would be in line with definitions such as education for sustainable development as outlined by UNESCO.

+ Date Revised: Jan. 30, 2015

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

A total of 1990 respondents accessed the survey, while 1504 completed it. Students, staff, and faculty largely support the notion that sustainability should be a campus wide
goal.Many respondents approve of the current work in sustainable transportation that the office is doing on campus but would like to see expansion and implementation of certain programs, particularly different accommodations for cyclists, bus passes for employees and summer students (since the survey, has both been implemented), and a university shuttle.

The website URL where information about the literacy assessment(s) is available:
Data source(s) and notes about the submission:

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.