Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 72.32
Liaison Merry Rankin
Submission Date Aug. 29, 2022

STARS v2.2

Iowa State University
EN-6: Assessing Sustainability Culture

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 0.25 / 1.00 Merry Rankin
ISU Director of Sustainability
Facilities Planning & Management
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution conduct an assessment of sustainability culture?:

Which of the following best describes the cultural assessment? The assessment is administered to::
A subset of the campus community or a sample that may not be representative of the entire community

Which of the following best describes the structure of the cultural assessment? The assessment is administered::
Without a follow-up assessment of the same cohort or representative samples of the same population

A brief description of how and when the cultural assessment(s) were developed and/or adopted:

In spring 2021, the Consortium for Cultivating Human And Naturally reGenerative Enterprises, or C-CHANGE, a sustainability-oriented effort funded by an Iowa State University Presidential Interdisciplinary Research Initiative grant, initiated a project to examine whether Iowa State University is meeting students' expectations and needs around sustainability. The Sustainability in Curriculum-Change (SiC-CHANGE) project's goal is to better understand students' perspectives on how sustainability is currently being approached at Iowa State University (ISU) and how well the curriculum and extracurricular activities address the various social, economic, and ecological dimensions of sustainability.

The core SiC-CHANGE project team is composed of one ISU faculty member, a postdoctoral scholar, a graduate student, and three undergraduate students, supported by other faculty and students at various times during the course of the project. The interdisciplinary team designed and implemented a mixed-method research approach that used focus groups to inform the development of a student body survey, which was fielded in spring 2022.

A copy or sample of the questions related to sustainability culture:
A sample of the questions related to sustainability culture or the website URL where the assessment tool is available:

A brief description of how representative samples were reached (if applicable) and how the cultural assessment is administered:

The sample for the Sustainability in Curriculum Survey was all Iowa State University students with junior or senior standing. The ISU Center for Survey Statistics and Methodology-Survey Research Services (CSSM-SRS) conducted the survey using Qualtrics online survey tools. The sample consisted of 15,205 Iowa State University students with junior or senior standing.

A brief summary of results from the cultural assessment:

Response rates are calculated as a ratio of the completed surveys to the eligible sample. The response rate for this study was 7.9% (1,206/15,205).

In general, respondents were highly supportive of sustainability in the curriculum. For example, 82% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed with the statement, "regardless of their field of study, everyone should learn about sustainability," and 79% agreed that public universities should be leaders in sustainability. In terms of their experiences with sustainability during their time at ISU, 71% agreed that their coursework had empowered them to make the world a better place, and 63% agreed that their courses had taught them problem-solving skills that they can apply to sustainability issues. On the other hand, less than half of the respondents agreed with the statement, "I am well informed about my options to enroll or participate in sustainability courses, minors, majors, and other educational offerings at ISU." Similarly, only 35% agreed that ISU is committed to sustainability, 23% agreed that ISU is a leader in sustainability, and just 21% agreed that ISU "prioritizes sustainability education for its students." Overall, the findings document strong demand for sustainability in the curriculum, but point to a gap between that demand and students' awareness of curricular and extracurricular sustainability learning opportunities.

Website URL where information about the assessment of sustainability culture is available:

Additional documentation to support 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.