Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 68.20
Liaison Kimberly Williams
Submission Date March 5, 2020

STARS v2.2

George Washington University
AC-1: Academic Courses

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 10.96 / 14.00 Tara Scully
Director of the Sustainability Minor Program
Assistant Professor of Biology
"---" 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 1,947 2,704
Number of sustainability-focused courses offered 133 218
Number of sustainability-inclusive courses offered 228 204

Percentage of courses that are sustainability course offerings:
16.84

Total number of academic departments that offer courses:
52

Number of academic departments with sustainability course offerings:
33

Percentage of academic departments with sustainability course offerings:
63.46

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 complete the course inventory :

The inventory of sustainability related courses at GW was developed by a faculty committee in the creation of the undergraduate Minor in Sustainability. The minor requires students to take courses from three content tracks within sustainability, which are designated by the course attributes SMTA (Sustainability Minor Track A), SMTB (Sustainability Minor Track B), and SMTC (Sustainability Minor Track C). By popular demand, and due to a transition to an electronic course bulletin, we have begun to label any course with significant sustainability related material with the new course attribute “SUST”. For courses that fulfill the minor in sustainability, they are designated with both the SMTA/B/C attribute and the SUST attribute. Courses that do not fulfill the minor but which do have sustainability related content will be designated solely with the SUST attribute. This is most applicable for graduate level courses which are sustainability related but not open for undergraduate level students.
Our goal is to encourage students interested in sustainability to use the attribute as they search for courses, whether or not they are part of the undergraduate minor in sustainability. The ability to search for sustainability courses using the SUST attribute is fully described in the new GW Bulletin.
The original faculty committee developed the following definition to identify sustainability-related courses. Such courses include one or more of the following criterial:
• 1.Content related to sustainable development: creating healthy and thriving resource systems for all;
• 2.Content related to environmental issues;
• 3.Content related to social issues that can be applied to sustainable development such as human welfare, social equity issues or social / organizational / behavioral change;
• 4.Content related to economic issues that can be applied to sustainable development;
• 5.Discourse focused on the interconnection of world resources and the human condition from a long-term perspective;
• 6.Content related to policy and communications issues that can be applied to sustainable development.
With review and input by faculty members, the Sustainable GW team periodically develops the inventory of sustainability courses, the last such effort taking place in the summer of 2017 when we went through the most current University Bulletin.
Upon completion of the team’s list, we undertake an extensive review that involves university administrators, core sustainability teaching faculty, and all university department chairs and program directors. Each Department Chair and Program Director was sent a listing of those courses identified within their department or program as having significant sustainability content along with our definition of what constitutes a sustainability course. These university leaders were then asked to respond and affirm or amend the list. In this way we established quality control at a university as large and expansive as GW.
GW defines departments by those subdivisions with a department Chairperson. The definition of a department chair varies across our large university. In some cases, a department chair might oversee few to no courses and faculty but rather oversee an academic subject matter where courses and faculty are largely drawn from other department s (e.g., Africana Studies). In other cases, an entire school may not have departments (e.g. Law School). With this caveat, GW recognizes 52 departments, excluding the schools of medicine and nursing.
SUST Attribute
Our goal is to encourage students interested in sustainability to use the attribute as they search for courses, whether or not they are part of the undergraduate minor in sustainability. The ability to search for sustainability courses using the SUST attribute is fully described in the new GW Bulletin.
The entire GW course directory, with course descriptions, is found at: http://bulletin.gwu.edu/courses/.


How were courses with multiple offerings or sections counted for the figures reported above?:
Each course was counted as a single course regardless of the number of offerings or sections

A brief description of how courses with multiple offerings or sections were counted:

Each course was counted as a single course regardless of the number of offerings or sections


Website URL where information about the sustainability course offerings is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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There is a difference between the number of Departments listed under Institutional Boundary (73) and the number of Departments listed under AC1 (52). For this portion of our submission, we excluded the Medical School from our course analysis as well as throughout the Academic portions of STARs. We followed this same practice when we submitted the 1.2 and 2.0 versions of STARs.

GW has no clear definition of what constitutes a department. The count that was provided was of Department Chairs as declared by individual schools. In some cases, these Chairs have no faculty or classes under them, in others there are many courses and faculty. In four of our schools – i.e., Elliott School of International Affairs, School of Nursing, the College of Professional Studies, and the Law School – there are no Departments or Department Chairs. In considering other sorts of divisions, such as “programs” the definitional challenge only becomes greater.

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.