Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 79.77
Liaison Josh Lasky
Submission Date April 4, 2023

STARS v2.2

George Washington University
AC-1: Academic Courses

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 11.88 / 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 2,314 3,243
Number of sustainability-focused courses offered 210 331
Number of sustainability-inclusive courses offered 161 202

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 :

The inventory of sustainability related courses at GW was developed by conducting a thorough review of the full list of courses offered during Summer 2021, Fall 2021, and Spring 2022. Since the submission of our previous STARS report in 2020, the Sustainability Minor at GW has changed from having three content tracks related to sustainability to requiring students to take at least one course in each of four Sustainability Pillars: Sustainable Ecosystems, Sustainable Economies, Sustainable Communities, and Sustainable Practices. In light of this change, we used this STARS report data collection process for FY 22 to establish a new baseline for courses to count towards the minor based on the new pillars, connect with faculty whose courses are a natural fit for the minor that we may not have included in the past, and identify curriculum gaps to expand offerings and bolster student interest from each school.

In order to conduct this review, we downloaded the full course offerings list for Summer 2021, Fall 2021, and Spring 2022 from Thoughtspot, GW's self-service data analytics platform. Once downloaded, Sustainable GW staff manually reviewed the list to remove courses not applicable to our full course count. Courses removed include the following:
- Courses that appear in GW's course list that are taught at other institutions as a part of the Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area.
- Course duplicates, as each course was only counted once even if offered in multiple semesters. This also includes removing course sections labeled as ""discussion,"" ""recitation,"" ""lab,"" or other similar description, as these sections do not bear any credit. Courses that were identified as labs in the course title and did not share the same course numbers as the associated lectures were considered standalone classes and kept in our list, as these courses carry credit. Because GW offers a wide breadth of special topics courses, we decided to include special topics courses in our full course list. While several of these courses share a subject code and number and name (""special topics""), they were reviewed based on their section titles, which specified their content. By reviewing the special topics' section titles, we were able to remove duplicates as well if a certain topic was offered in multiple sections.
- Thesis / thesis seminar courses
- Readings and research / direct reading courses
- Independent study
- Internships
- Clinical-based courses, such as the MPH Applied Practice Experience
- Anything labeled independent reading or independent research
- Entries that were used to identify student status (such as ""Leave of Absence"" or ""continuous enrollment"") or used to charge a fee (such as housing and course fees)
- Courses labeled as ""journal contributions"" (specific to the law school)
- Practicums
- Summer Scholars College Prep Courses, which are courses meant for High School Students
- Any instrument specific courses, such as orchestra, ensemble, band, jazz performance techniques
- Classical acting courses
- Dance courses

Cross-listed courses were counted as separate courses.

After conducting a manual review of the course titles and bulletin descriptions of all of the remaining courses, a team of Sustainability Academic Program employees made initial determinations on what courses could be counted as sustainability focused, sustainability inclusive, courses where we needed more information to make a determination, and courses that would not count towards sustainability. In our course review and outreach to faculty, we identified courses as sustainability related based on their relation to the three Es of sustainability (environment, equity, economy) and the UN Sustainable Development Goals. We then sent emails to all faculty listed as assigned to the courses that were not straightforward, asking for them to send us syllabi and describe how their courses relate to sustainability based on AASHE's definition, the UN SDGS, the Earth Charter, and the three E's of Sustainability. Based on the information collected, we made final determinations on the sustainability content of the 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. The only exception to this is special topics courses (which share subject codes and course numbers but are distinguished by section titles). Based on the section titles for special topics courses, unique offerings were each counted as a single course. However, if we found duplicates among the special topics courses (shared section titles, as well as subject codes and courses numbers), the duplicate was removed.

Website URL where information about the sustainability course offerings is available:

Additional documentation to support the submission:

The number of departments we are reporting coincides with the number reported under Institutional Boundary (72) by the Office of Institutional Research.

We are confident that the number of sustainability courses that we reported is an undercount. Our decision to include special topic sections as different courses posed challenges, as the descriptions for these courses cannot be found in the central University Bulletin. In order to obtain course descriptions for the special topics sections, we had to search department webpages and reach out to the faculty members assigned to the courses. In several cases, we were not able to obtain course descriptions, and even though the titles of the courses would suggest a strong tie to sustainability, we were unable to include them in our sustainability course inventory. However, these courses were still counted as a part of our full course inventory.

Some of the departments in our list did not have a unique subject code under which they taught courses (primarily the departments within the umbrella of "Public Health"). In these circumstances, the department was counted as offering sustainability courses if a degree program specific to the department required a sustainability focused or inclusive class with the subject code "PUBH." These courses align directly with the departmental focuses.

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.