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

STARS v2.1

Dickinson College
AC-10: Support for Research

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Lindsey Lyons
Assistant Director
Center for Sustainability Education
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have an ongoing program to encourage students in multiple disciplines or academic programs to conduct research in sustainability? :

A brief description of the student research program, including the incentives provided and any positive outcomes during the previous three years:

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 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, waste minimization, 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.

Does the institution have a program to encourage faculty from multiple disciplines or academic programs to conduct research in sustainability topics?:

A brief description of the faculty research program, including the incentives provided and any positive outcomes during the previous three years:

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.

As of November 2017, CSE has awarded more than $520,000 in 227 sub awards to 126 unique faculty members in all divisions of the college. The include:

47 Student-Faculty Research Grants (supporting 95 students)
8 Research Assistant Grants

The last three years have brought us increased diversity in participating departments with 39/42 departments offering sustainability courses or faculty conducting research in the 2016-17 academic year.

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.

Has the institution published written policies and procedures that give positive recognition to interdisciplinary, transdisciplinary, and multidisciplinary research during faculty promotion and/or tenure decisions?:

A brief description of the institution’s support for interdisciplinary, transdisciplinary, and multidisciplinary research, including any positive outcomes during the previous three years:

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 6 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, gender and sexuality studies.

One-hundred and thirty-one faculty provided instructional support to Dickinson's interdisciplinary programs on the Carlisle campus during the 2016-17 academic year. Nearly three-quarters of these faculty were permanent appointments or full-time administrators with key oversight in these interdisciplinary areas and 97 of them were tenured or tenure-track.

Additionally, our Community Studies Center works to create collaborative communities of inquiry. Faculty, students and community partners engage in interdisciplinary field research to create shared knowledge, working toward greater equality, peace and social justice. Faculty are incentivized to conduct this research with students in american and global mosaic programs, globally integrated courses, or summer research.

Does the institution have ongoing library support for sustainability research and learning?:

A brief description of the institution’s library support for sustainability research, including any positive outcomes during the previous three years:

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.

Additionally, there is library liaison assigned to sustainability.

The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

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

Funding support, in the form of small grants, is available from the Center for Sustainability Education's Sustainability Education Fund (SEF) 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 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.