Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 73.16
Liaison Ryan Ihrke
Submission Date July 29, 2011
Executive Letter Download

STARS v1.0

Green Mountain College
ER-5: Sustainability Course Identification

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 3.00 / 3.00 Bill Throop
Provost's Office
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Has the institution developed a definition of sustainability in the curriculum?:

A copy of the institution's definition of sustainability in the curriculum?:

At Green Mountain College, the entire general education curriculum is explicitly focused on cultivating the skills, knowledge and dispositions necessary for citizens to enhance the sustainability of their communities — the local, national, and global systems in which they participate. The faculty has identified 23 specific learning outcomes that are systematically addressed throughout the general education curriculum, The Environmental Liberal Arts (ELA) Program. The College measures its success, in part, through e-Portfolios that document student achievement on each of the 23 learning outcomes. Since all faculty teach in the ELA program, all share elements of a common understanding of sustainability, which in turn permeates much of their teaching in the majors.

Because sustainability is treated holistically in this curriculum, not on a course-by-course basis, it has been challenging to agree upon definitions for sustainability-focused and sustainability-related courses. The following definitions seem to best fit the College’s approach to teaching sustainability and the AASHE STARS categories.

A course is sustainability-focused if the majority of its learning outcomes consist of skills, knowledge, and dispositions that are explicitly aimed at enabling students to enhance the functioning of environmental, social, and economic dimensions of a system. The course need not emphasize all three of these dimensions of a system, but it must consider the interplay of these dimensions and the impact of actions on each.

A course is sustainability-related if some, but not a majority, of its learning outcomes consist of skills, knowledge, and dispositions that are explicitly aimed at enabling students to enhance the functioning of environmental, social, and economic dimensions of a system. Typically such courses either focus on one of the key dimensions of sustainability or treat sustainability in only one of the course modules.

Has the institution identified its sustainability-focused and sustainability-related course offerings?:

A brief description of the methodology the institution followed to complete the inventory:

A definition of sustainability related and sustainability focused courses was created by a committee of three faculty members appointed by the Green Mountain College Campus Sustainability Council. The definition was approved by the Campus Sustainability Council and the Faculty Council.

All GMC full time and adjunct faculty were notified of the course definitions and asked to respond to the Sustainability Office with self-designated courses. This provided a partial but incomplete list that needed to be vetted.

The Provost appointed a committee, consisting of one faculty member, the Registrar and the Sustainability Coordinator, which reviewed all course syllabi for the 2010 calendar year. The committee compared the learning outcomes to the approved definitions and designated courses as Sustainability-Related, Sustainability-Focused, or Not Applicable.

This list was then distributed to all faculty, with the opportunity to appeal to the committee. Comments were submitted and reviewed by the committee and the Provost, resulting in the list of sustainability-related and sustainability-focused courses posted on the GMC sustainability website.

Does the institution make its sustainability course inventory publicly available online?:

The website URL where the sustainability course inventory is posted:

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.