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-10: Support for Research

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Lindsey Lyons
Assistant Director
Center for Sustainability Education
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Does the institution have a program to encourage student sustainability research that meets the criteria for this credit?:

A brief description of the institution’s program(s) to encourage student research in sustainability:

Students from all academic programs are encouraged to engage in sustainability research through student-faculty research grants from the Sustainability Education Fund (SEF), sustainability designated and living laboratory courses, and paid internships. The SEF offers grants of up to $12,000 for student-faculty research projects and up to $3,000 for student research assistantships. These grant programs have enabled Dickinson students to participate in research with faculty on a variety of sustainability related topics, including global climate change, climate change mitigation, ocean acidification, green chemistry, renewable energy, integrated organic pest management, wildlife conservation, and vermiculture. Many of the research projects have used the Dickinson Organic Farm, the Reineman Wildlife Sanctuary, and the Dickinson campus as contexts for the research. Paid internships with Dickinson’s Alliance for Aquatic Resources Monitoring (ALLARM), Center for Sustainability Education (CSE), Dickinson Organic Farm, and Dining Services have engaged students in research on watershed protection, energy conservation, solid waste management, biodiesel production, natural gas fracking, sustainable agriculture, and local and seasonal foods. Living laboratory courses have engaged students in research on actions to reduce campus greenhouse gas emissions and have yielded recommendations that have been implemented by the college.

The website URL where information about the student research program is available:
Does the institution have a program to encourage faculty sustainability research that meets the criteria for this credit?:

A brief description of the institution’s program(s) to encourage faculty research in sustainability:

Dickinson’s Center for Sustainability Education (CSE) provides Sustainability Education Funding (SEF) for projects and research that advances sustainability or climate change-related learning, research, scholarship, and creativity.

Student-faculty research awards are given to faculty in any discipline that engage a student and faculty member as co-investigators or co-creators in a significant, collaborative research activity, scholarly project, or creative work to advance understanding of sustainability or climate change. Since 2008, 44 sustainability student-faculty research awards have been granted for over $249,800 in 15 academic departments.

These incentives facilitate a better understanding of how to meet the critical needs for present and future generations while improving and sustaining the environmental, social, and economic systems on which they depend.

Our Valley & Ridge Faculty Study Group provides information and updates on sustainability at Dickinson and global trends. Workshop facilitators provide some consulting, but more importantly, create a forum for faculty to work on their research in an interdisciplinary environment.

The website URL where information about the faculty research program is available:
Has the institution formally adopted policies and procedures that give positive recognition to interdisciplinary, transdisciplinary, and multidisciplinary research during faculty promotion and/or tenure decisions?:

A brief description or the text of the institution’s policy regarding interdisciplinary research:

Dickinson College values interdisciplinary scholarship and teaching and gives them weight in faculty tenure and promotion decisions equal to scholarship and teaching in traditional disciplines. The value accorded to interdisciplinary scholarship and teaching is evidenced by the large number of interdisciplinary majors and certificates that are offered, the number of faculty who participate in these programs, and the number of these faculty who have been granted tenure.

Dickinson offers 21 interdisciplinary majors and 3 interdisciplinary certificates. Examples include: environmental studies and sciences, Africana studies, biochemistry and molecular biology, health studies, social innovation and entrepreneurship, international studies, law and policy, Middle East studies, neuroscience, security studies, and women’s and gender studies.

One-hundred and thirty faculty members, representing 65% of all full-time faculty, are active participants in these interdisciplinary programs, and 84 of them have tenure.

The website URL where information about the treatment of interdisciplinary research is available:
Does the institution provide ongoing library support for sustainability research and learning that meets the criteria for this credit?:

A brief description of the institution's library support for sustainability research and learning:

The Waidner-Spahr Library at Dickinson hosts and manages on online research guide for sustainability. This guide contains information and links to help users get started with sustainability research. It is organized according to the format and type of information needed. Because research on sustainability can cross over many academic disciplines (such as Biology, Environmental Studies, History, Business, Sociology, Psychology, or Economics), students are strongly encouraged to consult with a librarian for help with specific topics.

Extensive collections of books, films, journals, databases, and internet resources are available in this guide.

The website URL where information about the institution's library support for sustainability is available:

Dickinson encourages interdisciplinary student and faculty research in sustainability by providing a supportive curricular structure, funding for students and faculty, workshops, and extensive library resources.

Funding support, in the form of small grants, is available from the Center for Sustainability Education (CSE) for a wide variety of activities that advance sustainability and climate change related learning, scholarship, and creativity. CSE welcomes faculty and teaching staff who are developing sustainability content and ideas for the first time, as well as those developing existing connections or research. Projects are encouraged from all four divisions of the college.

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.