|Submission Date||May 7, 2020|
Humboldt State University
IN-38: Sustainability Course Designation
|0.50 / 0.50||
A brief description of the formal sustainability course designation program:
1. A committee of faculty and staff first convened to evaluate courses and give them sustainability designations during Fall 2012.
2. The committee decided to create an inventory of existing courses that are broadly associated with the three concepts of sustainability: society, economy, and environment. This would be a listing of courses already offered, with no curricular changes proposed.
3. The committee created a description of what connotes the two categories of sustainability courses: sustainability focused and sustainability related.
• Sustainability-focused: course includes social, economic, and environmental dimensions, or examines a topic using sustainability as a lens
• Sustainability-related: course includes two of the three dimensions (social and economic, or economic and environmental, or environmental and social)
4. One staff member was tasked with conducting a keyword search of all course descriptions in the HSU catalog. 40 terms were searched and were assigned a relationship with one of the three concepts of sustainability
• environment keywords: environ*, natur*, habitat*, natural resourc*, carrying capacity, ecolog*, species*, wildlife, forest, fish*, ecosystem*, fauna, flora, plant*, air*, water*, land*, energ*, climat*, pollut*
• economy keywords: econom*, business*, financ*, development, developing
• society keywords: social*, societ*, socio*, ethic*, justice, right*, policy*, regulat*, politic*, future generation
• economy/social keywords: poverty*, third world, civilization, communit*
• environment/social keywords: conserv*
5. If the staff member found one of the keywords in the course description, it was flagged for potentially including a concept of sustainability and needing a second review by the full committee to confirm its relationship to the concept.
6. All courses confirmed by the committee to have a relationship to either two (related) or three (focused) sustainability concepts were published to department chairs, who were asked to further confirm, add, or subtract from the list.
7. After reconciling revisions, the final list of sustainability designated courses was sent to HSU course catalog administrators. Courses deemed sustainability-focused or sustainability-related were given a graphical representation of “leaves” next to the entry in the catalog. (See attachment for example.)
8. Class schedules were published with a new column (Sust*) and the footnote “*Sustainability (Sust) classes are either SF for Sustainability Focused or SR for Sustainability Related.”
9. The process of convening a committee, conducting a keyword search of course descriptions, and vetting selections through faculty was repeated during the academic year 2016-2017 for all courses that were new to the catalog since Fall 2012.
10. In the 2019-2020 Academic Year, The Office of Sustainability took a new approach to true up the course inventory and associated designations, whereby they prepared a worksheet for each department and asked chairs to indicate which courses examined intersections between the three dimensions of sustainability (society / economy / environment) and whether they believed the course was sustianability related or focused. With a low response rate, sustainability campus staff then cross referenced all results with the course catalog and sent lists of any recommended changes to chairs. This process resulted in the course inventory submitted here in AC 1 and is intended to provide revisions to the catalog for the 2020-2021 year.
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:
Look for "leaf" symbol next to each course as described above.
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 and complete the Data Inquiry Form.