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

STARS v2.2

George Washington University
IN-38: Sustainability Course Designation

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 0.50 / 0.50 Tara Scully
Director of the Sustainability Minor Program
Assistant Professor of Biology
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A brief description of the formal sustainability course designation program:
The inventory of sustainability related courses at GW was originally developed by a faculty committee in the creation of the undergraduate Minor in Sustainability. The minor initially required students to take courses from three content tracks within sustainability, which were designated by the course attributes SMTA (Sustainability Minor Track A), SMTB (Sustainability Minor Track B), and SMTC (Sustainability Minor Track C). They labeled any course with significant sustainability related material with the course attribute “SUST.” Courses that fulfilled the minor in sustainability were designated with both the SMTA/B/C attribute and the SUST attribute. Courses that did not fulfill the minor but which did have sustainability related content were designated solely with the SUST attribute. This was most applicable for graduate level courses which are sustainability related but not open for undergraduate level students.

In recent years, the Sustainability Minor has shifted from the three track areas to four pillars, designated by the course attributes SUST1: Pillar I Ecosystems - Courses that relate to environmental, scientific, engineering, or health related topics, SUST2: Pillar II Economies - Courses that relate to business, economics, technology, markets and trade, SUST3:Pillar III Communities - Courses that relate to culture, history, identities, politics, and society, and SUST4: Pillar IV Practices - Courses that relate to ethics, behavior, values, norms, and leadership. Based on these new attributes, we are undertaking a review of the courses previously designated with tracks and new courses that have been offered since this change occurred in order to give them the updated sustainability pillar designations and update the full list of courses with a ""SUST"" designation. The STARS review for this academic year gave us a great opportunity to dive deeper into this process. Any course with significant sustainability related material will still be given the course attribute “SUST”. For courses that fulfill the minor in sustainability, they will be designated with both the SUST1,2,3,4 attribute and the SUST attribute. As in past years, courses that do not fulfill the minor but which do have sustainability related content will be designated solely with the 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 original faculty committee developed the following definition to identify sustainability-related courses. Such courses include one or more of the following criteria:
• 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.

The review process for this STARS report includes input and review from faculty, staff, and students who collate the list of courses. Every course that was offered in the calendar year was vetted. The only courses which were included were those in which a course description was available. If the courses didn’t have a course description, we didn’t include those even if they were clearly sustainability focused or inclusive. We then reached out to faculty to receive their syllabi to confirm that the courses did fall into these categories.

A copy of the official course catalog where the sustainability course designations appear:

Website URL for the official course catalog where the sustainability course designations appear:
Does the institution designate sustainability courses on student transcripts?:

Additional documentation to support the submission:

Data source(s) and notes about 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 or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.