Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 74.24
Liaison Lindsey Lyons
Submission Date April 30, 2015
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

Dickinson College
AC-1: Academic Courses

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 9.66 / 14.00 Lindsey Lyons
Assistant Director
Center for Sustainability Education
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Figures required to calculate the percentage of courses with sustainability content::
Undergraduate Graduate
Total number of courses offered by the institution 952 0
Number of sustainability courses offered 59 0
Number of courses offered that include sustainability 69 0

Number of academic departments (or the equivalent) that offer at least one sustainability course and/or course that includes sustainability (at any level):

Total number of academic departments (or the equivalent) that offer courses (at any level):

Number of years covered by the data:

A copy of the institution’s inventory of its course offerings with sustainability content (and course descriptions):
An inventory of the institution's course offerings with sustainability content (and course descriptions):


The website URL where the inventory of course offerings with sustainability content is publicly available:
A brief description of the methodology the institution followed to complete the course inventory:

Each semester Dickinson faculty members are asked to nominate courses they are teaching in the coming semester for designation as either of two categories of sustainability courses:

1. "Sustainability Connections (SCON)" = course that includes sustainability
2. "Sustainability Investigations (SINV)" = sustainability courses

The nomination form asks faculty to provide information about their courses that relate to stated criteria for sustainability course designations. The form must be completed each semester, even if indicating same designation as before. Designations are completed by section of the course as each faculty member may choose to vary the approach and content for the section they are teaching.

Nomination forms are compiled each semester, approved by a steering committee, posted online, and sent to the registrar. The registrar then adds searchable "SCON" and "SINV" attributes to approved designated courses in our course search system. These attributes are actively used by students to complete course searches.

The criteria for designation of Sustainability Investigations (SINV) courses are:

- Course learning goals support attainment of at least one of the sustainability competencies and dispositions.
- Sustainability is a major theme, though not necessarily the sole theme, of the course.
- Students are engaged in deep and focused exploration of sustainability and its multiple dimensions (e.g. environmental, social, economic, and/or cultural).
- Engagement with exploration of sustainability is accomplished through assignments, lectures, discussions, and readings that collectively represent a significant portion of students’ work in the course.
- Grading of student performance gives significant weight to sustainability related assignments.
- Explicit reference to sustainability is included in the course syllabus.

The criteria for designation of Sustainability Connections (SCON) courses are:

- Course learning goals support attainment of at least one of the sustainability competencies and dispositions.
- Students are introduced to sustainability, sustainable development, or related concepts, but normally sustainability is not a major emphasis, theme, or topic of the course.
- The course builds student competencies in knowledge and methods of a field that is relevant to understanding environmental, social, economic, or other dimension of sustainability.
- Students learn how knowledge and methods that are the subject of the course can be applied or made relevant to inquiries about sustainability.
-Connections to sustainability could be done through one or more lectures, labs, classroom discussions, reading assignments, writing assignments, oral presentations, field experiences, research assignments, creative work, or other assignments.
- The connection to sustainability may emphasize just one dimension of sustainability (e.g. environmental, social, economic, or cultural), but students should be made aware of other dimensions as well.
- Explicit reference to sustainability is included in the course syllabus.

How did the institution count courses with multiple offerings or sections in the inventory?:
Each offering or section of a course was counted as an individual course

A brief description of how courses with multiple offerings or sections were counted (if different from the options outlined above):

All sustainability course data is managed and accessed through the registrar. Sustainability course nominations are tied to faculty members teaching the course and can vary across sections of the same course. Therefore, total sections (excluding internships, practicums, independent study, independent research, physical education, and performing arts) were obtained for each semester through the registrar. Individual sections of a course were then counted as SCON, SINV, or neither.

Which of the following course types were included in the inventory?:
Yes or No
Internships No
Practicums No
Independent study No
Special topics Yes
Thesis/dissertation No
Clinical No
Physical education No
Performance arts No

Does the institution designate sustainability courses in its catalog of course offerings?:

Does the institution designate sustainability courses on student transcripts?:

Dickinson offers over 100 courses each academic year that help students gain knowledge about sustainability concepts, problems, and solutions while building competencies and dispositions for creating a sustainable world. Over time, these courses have been integrated throughout the Dickinson curriculum in over 39 academic departments.

Dickinson offers numerous courses in arts and humanities, social sciences, and laboratory sciences that explore the different dimensions of sustainability from a variety of perspectives. Over 96% of our Class of 2015 graduates will have taken a sustainability course during their studies at Dickinson, without requirement.

Dickinson students can identify sustainability courses using the course designations Sustainability Investigations (SINV) or Sustainability Connections (SCON) when conducting an online course search. Faculty nominate these courses each semester using our Sustainability Course Designation process. These two categories of course designation differ in the degree to which sustainability is a focus.

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.