Overall Rating Silver - expired
Overall Score 58.19
Liaison Emma Blandford
Submission Date March 2, 2021

STARS v2.2

Georgia Institute of Technology
AC-10: Support for Sustainability Research

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Anne Rogers
Sustainability Program & Portfolio Manager
Office of Campus 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:
Serve Learn Sustain:

Serve-Learn-Sustain is a campus-wide academic initiative working with all six colleges to offer students opportunities inside and outside the classroom to collaborate with diverse partners across the community, non-profit, government, academic, and business sectors on key sustainability challenges. SLS educates students and builds the capacity of faculty by facilitating partnerships that bring together key partners for joint learning, research, and action. SLS has helped to develop a multitude of research and fellowships opportunities including the Spring 2018 - Spring 2019 Climate Change Fellows Program.


The Vertically Integrated Projects (VIP) Program:

The Vertically Integrated Projects (VIP) Program is an undergraduate education program that operates in a research and development context. Undergraduate students that join VIP teams earn academic credit for their participation in design efforts that assist faculty and graduate students with research and development issues. VIP teams rage in focus including sustainability. For example, the Vertically Integrated Project: Building for Equity and Sustainability explores equity and resilience in sustainability projects in partner communities in Atlanta and Georgia.



The Ray C. Anderson Center for Sustainable Business:

The Ray C. Anderson Center for Sustainable Business at Georgia Tech's Scheller College of Business empowers students to become leaders in building a sustainable and prosperous future. The MBA Fellows program is an opportunity for those seeking a deeper engagement related to sustainability, beyond the Strategic Sustainability Concentration, the Innovating for Sustainability Immersive Track, and the Net Impact MBA Chapter. Each year, the Center chooses a limited number of Scheller Sustainability Fellows. Each will work with a Center affiliated faculty member on a sustainability-focused project aligned with their interests and goals.


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:
Georgia Tech is home to more than 200 research centers and laboratories – an integral part of the Institute’s entrepreneurial culture.

Among these units are several large Interdisciplinary Research Institutes (IRIs), including the Georgia Tech Research Institute, reporting to the Executive Vice President for Research. Each IRI brings together a mix of researchers – spanning colleges, departments, and individual labs – around a single core research area. The IRIs exist to create transformative opportunities, strengthen collaborative partnerships, and maximize the societal impact of the exciting research being done at Georgia Tech.

Both government and industry work with Tech’s IRIs to connect with a large portfolio of basic and applied research programs, to create and use novel research laboratories, to interact with Georgia Tech students, and to collaborate with other research partners.

The Brook Byers Institute for Sustainable Systems (BBISS):

The vision for the Brook Byers Institute for Sustainable Systems (BBISS) is to create knowledge and technologies that will improve environmental, social, and economic outcomes. The BBISS specializes in a Team Science approach that enables large and diverse research teams to compete for grants and partner with other organizations to understand how these massive and complex systems function, and to develop means for managing them. BBISS is Georgia Tech’s Interdisciplinary Research Institute for all thing's sustainability and bring disparate groups together to focus on large problems that cannot be addressed in siloes. This GTRI houses the The Brook Byers Institute for Sustainable Systems Professors and Fellows program. The Brook Byers Professorships provide resources to enable and enhance cross-disciplinary, collaborative research and education in sustainability, energy, and water. The Brook Byers Professorship is the highest title bestowed at Georgia Tech for those specifically engaged in sustainability related research and education. The Fellows program serves as a board of advisors to the BBISS; to foster the culture and community of sustainability researchers, educators, and students at Georgia Tech; and to communicate broadly the vision, mission, values, and objectives of the BBISS. This diverse group of faculty and researchers come from all six of Georgia Tech’s Colleges as well as the Georgia Tech Research Institute.


The Global Change Program:

The Global Change Program is an initiative designed to coordinate and grow educational and research activities focused on providing solutions and creating economic opportunities at the intersection of global change, climate change, and energy. The program heavily focuses on sustainable/environmental education and the creation of critical connections among research and academic faculty.


The Strategic Energy Institute:

Georgia Tech is at the forefront of energy research with more than 1,000 researchers engaged in interdisciplinary efforts to analyze, model, and develop innovative technologies designed to provide a sustainable and environmentally friendly energy future. The Strategic Energy Institute facilitates multidisciplinary collaborations between these energy researchers to create robust energy solutions that address the social, economic, political, and technical advances of sustainable energy systems. SEI is home to the Carbon Neutral Energy Solutions Laboratory, where research spans all aspects of the sustainable energy cycle from production and generation to distribution and use. SEI also houses the Energy, Policy, and Innovation Center which fosters regional research into sustainable energy issues such as the electrification of vehicles in the Southeast and promotes energy awareness for high school students through the annual summer Energy Camp. SEI sponsors the GT student Energy Club and provides support for their participation in DOE student competitions such as the annual Solar District Cup and the Solar Decathalon. SEI has organized a faculty led working group focusing on the Circular Carbon Fuels Economy, whose monthly meetings attract faculty from across GT to engage in lively discussion regarding all aspects of the circular carbon economy.


GTRI Energy & Sustainability Department:

The Energy & Sustainability group conducts systems-based applied research that addresses critical local, national, and international energy, water, and health challenges. Multidisciplinary teams work together to provide water resource and environmental assessments as well as water and energy infrastructure assessments, building evaluations for energy efficiency, and energy and economic modeling.


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:
Tenure and Promotion Overview:

This section sets forth guidelines for promotion of Tenure-Track Faculty and criteria to be used in granting of tenure. It is to be emphasized that this document lists criteria intended only as guidelines and not as a prescription for tenure and promotion. The possible factors to be used for evaluation are listed to aid the Faculty in their career development and to be used with, but not substituted for, enlightened judgment on the part of responsible administrators and Faculty in providing for the long-term development of Georgia Tech. (See Sections 3.3.5, 3.3.6, & 3.3.7.)

Promotion and tenure decisions are made separately, and guidelines for evaluation relative to each of these decisions are required. The philosophy underlying the two decisions differs, although the criteria used as a basis for each decision are similar. The performance of a Faculty member may justify promotion but not the awarding of tenure. The converse can occur, although it is not likely.

Promotion is based on the intrinsic merit of the individual's work. It recognizes the Faculty member for meeting the criteria of the next higher level in the professional hierarchy. The decision is based on an evaluation of the individual's scholarly activity including instruction, creativity, and service. The decision to promote or not to promote should not be tied in any way to questions of tenure.

In contrast to promotion, which is based on the merit of the individual’s work, tenure represents the Institute's selection of a Faculty member for a long-term commitment. Individuals are selected whose performance is outstanding and whose capabilities and interests, as manifested in performance, most closely support the objectives of the Institute, the College, and the instructional Unit. The decision is based on an assessment of the compatibility of the individual's performance and interest with the needs and objectives of the Institute, the college, and the individual instructional Unit.

For a Faculty member to be considered for tenure, the individual's performance must be judged to be at or above the level appropriate to his or her professorial rank. That judgment should be based on the criteria set forth in the "Guidelines for Promotion at Georgia Tech." (See Section 3.3.6) All dimensions of the performance must be considered, that is teaching, creativity, and service. In appraising a candidate's qualifications for tenure, the weighting of the three (3) categories set forth above may vary for each case. It is recognized that the Institute has varied responsibilities and these responsibilities may best be met by a Faculty whose members have a mix of strengths. Given an appropriate level of performance, the primary criterion for tenure is the compatibility of the individual's performance and interests with the objectives of the unit, the College, and the Institute. Statements and supporting documentation from the candidate, the Unit Head, and the Dean should address this question. Assuming an appropriate performance level, the individual's professorial activity is evaluated relative to its compatibility with stated objectives.

Each instructional Unit should have a set of clearly defined and prioritized objectives defined in accordance with the mission of that Unit. The more clearly and specifically the objectives are articulated, the more precisely can an individual's capability and interest be compared to those objectives. The objectives are not static; however, they must be influenced or modified by factors such as changing enrollment patterns and changes in the unit's and Georgia Tech's mission within the University System of Georgia. Modifications in objectives typically occur gradually, not instantaneously, thus permitting faculty awareness of the changes.

Normally, only Assistant Professors, Associate Professors, and Professors who are employed full-time (as defined by Regents' policies) by an institution are eligible for tenure. The term "full-time" is used in these tenure regulations to denote service on a 100% work load basis for at least two (2) out of three (3) consecutive academic terms. Faculty members with adjunct appointments shall not acquire tenure. The award of tenure is limited to the specified academic ranks and shall not be construed to include honorific appointments.Individual Faculty members may initiate a request for consideration for promotion or tenure, and this request must be processed through the prescribed channels. Candidates may, by written request, withdraw their candidacy at any stage without prejudice.Promotion and tenure decisions may be appealed through the Faculty Status and Grievance Committee. Additional criteria or guidelines for promotion and conferral of tenure in professorial ranks may be established by the President in consultation with the Faculty Executive Board and shall be published and distributed to the Faculty.

Tenure resides at the Institutional level. Institutional responsibility for employment of a tenured individual is to the extent of continued employment on a 100% workload basis for two (2) out of every three (3) consecutive academic terms (normally for fall and spring terms) until retirement, dismissal for cause, release because of financial exigency, or program modification as determined by the Board of Regents.

These guidelines are in full accord with the policies and procedures of the Board of Regents; however, the Georgia Tech criteria are more demanding than those established by the Regents. These guidelines are intended to aid Tenure-Track Faculty in the conduct of their affairs in order to satisfy the requirements for promotion and/or tenure. They are not, however, a substitute for the advice and counsel of the Unit Head. All Faculty members should receive at a minimum an annual administrative review of their progress.


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 Georgia Tech Library actively supports the Institute's sustainability-related research, teaching and learning initiatives. The Library's collection includes e-journals, e-books, research reports, conference proceedings, technical papers, and print materials directly related to sustainability. The database collection includes access to the "GreenFILE" database which offers well-researched information covering all aspects of human impact to the environment. Its collection of scholarly, government and general-interest titles includes content on global warming, green building, pollution, sustainable agriculture, renewable energy, recycling, and more. In addition, librarians have developed an Earth Day research guide which curates scholarly and reliable data and information about sustainability for the campus community and beyond.

Georgia Tech Library Research Guides: https://libguides.gatech.edu/

Earth Day Library Research Guide: https://libguides.gatech.edu/earthday

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

Data source(s) and notes about the submission:

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