Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 81.45
Liaison Lindsey Lyons
Submission Date March 1, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Dickinson College
AC-1: Academic Courses

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 11.82 / 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 offered by the institution that are sustainability course offerings:
Undergraduate Graduate
Total number of courses offered by the institution 982 0
Number of sustainability courses offered 53 0
Number of courses offered that include sustainability 90 0

Percentage of courses that are sustainability course offerings:
14.56

Total number of academic departments (or the equivalent) that offer courses (at any level):
43

Number of academic departments (or the equivalent) that offer at least one sustainability course and/or course that includes sustainability (at any level):
39

Percentage of academic departments with sustainability course offerings:
90.70

A copy of the institution’s inventory of its sustainability course offerings and descriptions:
Do the figures reported above cover one, two, or three academic years?:
One

A brief description of the methodology used to determine the total number of courses offered and to identify sustainability course offerings, including the definitions used and the process for reviewing and/or validating the course inventory :

Every semester Dickinson faculty members are asked to designate 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 course

The online nomination process asks faculty to review their courses and connect them to stated criteria for sustainability course designations, and college-wide sustainability learning outcomes. The course nomination process occurs each semester, and includes one time and special topics courses as well. 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.

Nominations are then compiled by the Center for Sustainability Education. Requests for these designations are then reviewed and approved by a subcommittee of the all-college Academic Programs and Standards Committee (APSC).

Sustainability Connections (SCON) courses build competencies in knowledge and methods of a field that is relevant to understanding sustainability and demonstrate connections between the subject matter of the course and sustainability. Students are introduced to sustainability, sustainable development or related concepts.

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 (see competencies and dispositions below).
-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.

Sustainability Investigations (SINV) courses engage students in deep and focused exploration of sustainability as a major theme of the course, through which students gain a rich understanding of multiple dimensions of sustainability.

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 (see competencies and dispositions below).
-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.

Sustainability Competencies and Dispositions:

1. Think critically about problems of improving the human condition equitably in this and future generations, while conserving environmental systems necessary to support healthy and vibrant societies;
2. Solve problems by applying sustainability concepts and principles;
3. Communicate effectively to raise awareness, increase understanding and motivate action for sustainability;
4. Collaborate with others, working with and leading groups to advance shared sustainability goals.


How were courses with multiple offerings or sections counted for the figures reported above?:
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 independently from other sections with the same course title.


Are the following course types included in the inventory? :
Yes (included) or No (not included)
Internships No
Practicums No
Independent study No
Special topics Yes
Thesis / dissertation No
Clinical No
Physical education No
Performance arts No

The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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Dickinson offers over 130 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. The courses vary in the degree to which sustainability is a focus of study and are classified into two categories. Sustainability Investigations courses (SINV) engage students in a deep and focused study of problems with sustainability as a major emphasis of the course. Sustainability Connections courses (SCON) engage students in making connections between the main topic of the course and sustainability. Sustainability is related to but is not a major focus of SCON courses.

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 90% of our Class of 2017 graduates took a sustainability course during their studies at Dickinson, without requirement. Beginning with the Class of 2019, all students must complete a sustainability course as a graduation 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 and complete the Data Inquiry Form.