Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 77.02
Liaison Laura Bain
Submission Date June 22, 2021

STARS v2.2

Furman University
AC-10: Support for Sustainability Research

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Laura Bain
Associate Director of Sustainability Assessment
David E. Shi Center for Sustainability
"---" 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 sustainability research?:

A brief description of the student sustainability research program:

The university's Shi Institute for Sustainable Communities supports a robust student fellows program that funds students to conduct sustainability research and service, as well as other campus and community-based projects. The fellowships are open to all majors and all class years. The institute funds 25 - 30 student fellows a year. These opportunities encourage students to engage sustainability in diverse ways and develop their academic credentials along with their personal character, sense of place and responsibility.

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

A brief description of the faculty sustainability research program:

The Shi Institute supports interdisciplinary sustainability faculty research through an internally supported competitive grants program, extensive networking and workshop opportunities, and research support. The grant criteria require cross-disciplinary faculty involvement as well as student participation.

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 copy of the promotion or tenure guidelines or policies:

The promotion or tenure guidelines or policies:

As outlined in IM policy 109.3 (https://policies.furman.edu//view.php?policy=97), only interdisciplinary minors are allowed and Furman requires at least three departments to participate in the minor. Furman does not allow single discipline minors in recognition of our belief that students should engage in interdisciplinary thinking. All of these interdisciplinary minor programs incorporate courses whose content span traditional disciplinary boundaries. The university supports numerous faculty who hold joint appointments in two departments. Furman’s curricular features of faculty-led travel study courses, required freshman writing and critical thinking seminars, and experiential, two-credit May Experience courses particularly lend themselves to content beyond traditional disciplinary boundaries.

Memos to faculty candidates for tenure and promotion as well as to department chairs submitting faculty evaluations explain that “evaluations of faculty performance are based on teaching effectiveness, professional activity, and institutional service.” In the context of Furman’s academic culture of liberal arts learning and interdisciplinary thinking and collaboration demonstrated above, faculty reviews are undoubtedly enhanced by demonstration of cross-disciplinary work, and particularly cross-disciplinary course development and teaching.

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

A brief description of the institution’s library support for sustainability research:

The Library provides a sustainability research guide filled with useful databases for sustainability research. The research guides facilitate student research in the field of sustainability.

The Library also has a dedicated Science Librarian whose area of expertise and campus support includes sustainability.

Website URL where information about the institution’s support for sustainability research is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

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.