Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 72.90
Liaison Kathleen Crawford
Submission Date July 23, 2020

STARS v2.2

Florida Gulf Coast University
AC-6: Sustainability Literacy Assessment

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Brenda Thomas
University Colloquium Coorinator
University Colloquium
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution conduct an assessment of the sustainability literacy of its students?:
Yes

Which of the following best describes the literacy assessment? The assessment is administered to::
The entire (or predominate) student body, directly or by representative sample

Which of the following best describes the structure of the assessment? The assessment is administered as a::
Pre- and post-assessment to the same cohort or to representative samples in both a pre- and post-test

A copy of the questions included in the sustainability literacy assessment(s):
A list or sample of the questions included in the sustainability literacy assessment or the website URL where the assessment tool may be found:

Question 1 - From the following list of sustainability-related topics, indicate to what degree (no understanding, little understanding, a general understanding, a detailed understanding) you understand each topic.

Question 2 - Which aspect of sustainability will impact you the most?

Question 3 - Why will this aspect of sustainability have the greatest impact on you?

Question 5 - Are healthy ecosystems important to society and the economy in southwest Florida? Explain why or why not?

Question 6 - What is the most important thing you can do to reduce your ecological footprint (your impact on sustainability) in southwest Florida and around the globe?

Question 7 - Explain the importance of sustainable agriculture from an environmental, social, and economic perspective.

Question 8 – Which aspect of climate change will affect you the most and why?

Question 9 – Discuss one way cities can be designed to be more sustainable.


A brief description of how the literacy assessment was developed and/or when it was adopted:

The University Colloquium is an interdisciplinary course designed to explore the ecological, social, and economic aspects of sustainability. The course has been a graduation requirement since the University opened its doors in 1997. Course curriculum is maintained and revised by an advisory council made up of faculty, staff, and student representatives from a diversity of departments across campus.

The assessment tool was developed specifically for the University Colloquium course by the full time faculty in the summer of 2017. That group of 6 test piloted the instrument and did some adjusting over the next couple of semesters. It was officially launched in Spring of 2018.


A brief description of how a representative sample was reached (if applicable) and how the assessment(s) were administered :

Each semester a random selection of 6-8 sections of Colloquium a designated for participation. Because every student takes the course at some point, it is a representative sample of the undergraduate population. For the assessment, each semester six faculty members were randomly selected and asked to participate. Those who agreed added pre-test and post-test surveys to their Canvas courses and assigned them to students within the first two weeks of the semester and in the last two weeks of the semester, respectively.

Students from all majors must take the course to graduate and a representative cross-section of the undergraduate population is enrolled at any given time. The University Colloquium Coordinator also evaluates annual grade data from the Registrar's Office to sample the sustainability literacy of our campus population.


A brief summary of results from the literacy assessment(s):

Logistically, changes made to question format and content since the last assessment report have made the data more reliable (and likely, the completion easier for students). Overall, results are positive and indicate that students are making progress toward learning outcomes. Specifically:
• Responses to Question 1 indicate that students are leaving the course with at least some understanding of the complexities of sustainability, though responses to the short answer/essay questions suggest that their understanding may not be as complete as they think.
• The increase since the Spring 2018 Assessment Report in the number of students who could connect a healthy environment to our local economy and society was encouraging, though the increase came at the expense of our local waterways.
• The low number of cogent responses to Question 7 regarding sustainable agriculture were disappointing, though these numbers were low in the Spring 2018 Assessment as well. This may reflect a shift in focus over the last year to more pressing current events. It is important to remember too that sustainability is a very broad topic and University Colloquium is taught by faculty with a diversity of interests, experiences, and expertise. Though it is hoped that each of us at least touch on sustainable agriculture, the depth of focus on this one complex topic likely varies greatly from section to section. It may also be that the question itself is too broad and asks too much. A slight rewording to more effectively guide student thoughts will be considered for the next round of assessment.
• The tendency of students to answer questions that asked for discussion or explanation with one word or a simple list of items is reflected in the sometimes disappointing post-test numbers. It often seemed as though students had a reasonable understanding of the concepts they were asked to reflect on, but they did not take the time to explain what they knew.


Website URL where information about the sustainability literacy assessment is available:
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Additional documentation to support the submission:
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Each semester a random selection of 6-8 sections of the course The University Colloquium: A Sustainable Future are designated for participation in a pre- and post-test. Because every student takes this required course at some point, it is a representative sample of the undergraduate population. For the assessment, each semester Colloquium faculty members are randomly selected and asked to participate. Those who agreed added pre-test and post-test surveys to their Canvas Learning Management System courses and assigned them to students within the first two weeks of the semester and in the last two weeks of the semester, respectively.

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.