Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 79.98
Liaison Lindsey Lyons
Submission Date March 5, 2021

STARS v2.2

Dickinson College
AC-1: Academic Courses

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 11.46 / 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 937 0
Number of sustainability-focused courses offered 38 0
Number of sustainability-inclusive courses offered 90 0

Percentage of courses that are sustainability course offerings:

Total number of academic departments that offer courses:

Number of academic departments with sustainability course offerings:

Percentage of academic departments with sustainability course offerings:

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?:

A brief description of the methodology used to complete 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)" = AASHE sustainability inclusive course
2. "Sustainability Investigations (SINV)" = AASHE sustainability focused 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) and Sustainability Investigations (SINV) courses engage students in exploring questions about sustainability challenges and opportunities, drawing on the knowledge and approaches of the arts and humanities, social sciences and/or natural sciences. These courses must:

1. Introduce students to one or more definitions of sustainability that are appropriate to the discipline or area of study of the course.
2. Make students aware that sustainability has multiple dimensions, including, as a minimum, environmental, social and economic dimensions.
3. Include student learning outcomes in the course syllabus stating that students will demonstrate abilities to:
4. Think critically about a sustainability question, problem and/or potential solution, and
5. Articulate connections between the field of study of the course and sustainability.
6. Include at least one graded assignment that provides students an opportunity to demonstrate attainment of the sustainability learning outcomes. The assignment can serve multiple purposes and does not need to focus solely on sustainability. Assignments that use active learning pedagogies to engage students in problem solving, communicating and collaborating are strongly encouraged but not required

SCON courses build competencies and knowledge in a field that is relevant to understanding sustainability and apply them to a sustainability issue. SCON courses must include all the elements listed under Common Criteria. Sustainability is a visible and explicit part of SCON courses, but sustainability typically is not a major focus. While students will be made aware of multiple dimensions of sustainability, it is not necessary or expected that SCON courses will address more than one dimension in depth.

SINV courses engage students in deep and focused exploration of sustainability and its multiple dimensions as a major theme of the course. SINV courses must include all the elements listed under Common Criteria as well as include as a third student learning outcome in the course syllabus that students will demonstrate abilities to:
1. Apply disciplinary or interdisciplinary knowledge and methods to analyze a problem of sustainability.
2. Devote a substantial portion of course instruction and work to sustainability-related content.
Give significant weight to sustainability-related content in grading student performance.

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:

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.

Website URL where information about the sustainability course offerings is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

Dickinson offers over 125 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 40 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. Taking a sustainability course is a graduation requirement at Dickinson so 100% of our students take one, 88% take 2 or more and 54% take 4 or more sustainability courses during their time at Dickinson.

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.

We have been doing this as a rigorous leader since 2012 and all data is available online. at the links provided.


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.