Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 67.41
Liaison Jeremy King
Submission Date March 23, 2016
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

Denison University
AC-6: Sustainability Literacy Assessment

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 3.33 / 4.00 Jeremy King
Campus Sustainability Coordinator
Office of the President
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The percentage of students assessed for sustainability literacy (directly or by representative sample) and for whom a follow-up assessment is conducted:
+ Date Revised: May 12, 2016

The percentage of students assessed for sustainability literacy (directly or by representative sample) without a follow-up assessment:
+ Date Revised: May 12, 2016

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

See notes below in the description of the assessments.

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

The sustainability pre/post test was developed at the institution-level through collaboration between Denison's Sustainability Office and Student Development. We examined instruments and question banks from various resources and selected items that we thought might provide us with an understanding of students' sustainability-related knowledge, behaviors and attitudes. In particular, the question asking them to define sustainability alone provided us with insight into how students were conceptualizing sustainability and whether they were understanding the term more broadly that just "green" initiatives. The survey was one of the tools developed to measure the effectiveness of Denison’s Sustainability Fellows program.

In addition, Denison has intentionally used other instruments like EBI and CIRP/YFCY because in many ways, they can provide us with less biased respondents. Sending an email entitled "sustainability survey" might only garner the attention of sustainability-minded individuals. By turning to instruments with a broader focus, we have the potential to obtain feedback from a more representative student sample. These two surveys, however, are not included in the data reported for this STARS credit.

+ Date Revised: May 12, 2016

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

The pre and post test survey was administered annually to First Year students for three years by the Director of Research for Student Development to a representative sample of ~625 first year students each year. Surveys were conducted in Fall and Spring Semesters of 2012-2015. Over the course of three years this accounted for ~75% of our student population. The survey has a 100% assessment rating via a representative sample based on a 95% confidence level.

With a total of 1874 students in those three class years, the number of student responses from the survey needed to be at least 87 in order to have a 95% confidence in the answers being representative for total population. We received 326 responses (students who took both the pre and post test survey), therefore, the survey results are representative of those three class years of students based on a 95% confidence level.

Because over that three year period (as defined by the credit criteria for STARS) one class of students was never given the opportunity to be surveyed, we don’t feel as though our assessment tool could be considered as a representative sample of 100% of our total student population even though we do believe that it accurately reflects all of our students’ collective understanding of sustainability.

The other tools (not included in for this credit) were:

EBI: In April 2014, Residential Education & Housing administered the EBI Resident Assessment to a stratified random sample of the student body—randomly selecting 65% of students in each residence hall. The survey had a response rate of 34.1% and 440 students responded.

CIRP 2014: Of the 629 students, 576 participated in the survey, yielding a 92% response rate
YFCY 2015: In April 2015, first-year students were asked to complete the Your First College Year Survey. Of the 581 students, 253 participated in the survey, yielding a 43.5% response rate.

+ Date Revised: May 12, 2016

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

Results of the survey were evaluated by the Director of Research for Student Development, the Sustainability Fellows Coordinator, The Campus Sustainability Coordinator, and the Campus Sustainability Committee on an annual basis and are used to assess the ongoing efforts of the college to produce students who understand sustainability and the Triple Bottom Line.

Some highlights from the survey:

84.5% of our students defined organic correctly (as it relates to food, not Chemistry) in the post-test vs. 78.6% who did so in the pre-test.

When asked to define sustainability students scored on average 20% higher on the post-test vs. pre-test. They included social responsibility (people) in their responses 11.2% of the time; environment (planet) 73.8% of the time; and economics (prosperity) 26.2% of the time. Inclusion of the three components of the triple bottom line were the primary metric for scoring definitions.

96.9% report being aware of how and where to recycle on Denison’s campus.

76.3% report knowing how and where to compost on Denison’s campus.

+ Date Revised: May 12, 2016

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

Denison maintains an internal password protected website where most of this information resides. Public access web pages have limited information on this topic.

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.