Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 65.92
Liaison Christie-Joy Hartman
Submission Date Dec. 21, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

James Madison University
AC-10: Support for Research

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Amanda Bodle
Sustainability Specialist
"---" 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 research in sustainability? :

A brief description of the student research program, including the incentives provided and any positive outcomes during the previous three years:

JMU’s Office of Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability provides travel funding for students to present at conferences and to participate in student competitions. The application process is competitive. Full time students are eligible to apply. Students must be presenting work related to environmental stewardship and sustainability.

An example of a positive outcome from student travel funding is...
Catherine J. Bruns, who was pursuing a M.A. Communication & Advocacy, took second place in the Competitive Communication Scholarship Paper competition, graduate category, at the Florida Communication Association Annual Convention, October 20-22, 2016. The paper was also published in the Carolinas Communication Annual (journal) in Fall 2016 as "Fracking for Fans: The Ethos of Promised Land". The research looked at how the film Promised Land can be used to spark conversation on sustainability and environmentalism.

For the 2017-2018 Academic Year, two undergraduate students received conference support funding:
Michelle Proulx, who was pursuing a B.S. in Geology, presented "Reclaiming history with geophysics: using ground-penetrating radar to confirm the locations of antebellum African-American cemeteries" at the Geological Society of America conference in Seattle, Washington. Her work used non-invasive methods to locate and identify antebellum slave cemeteries in an effort to preserve the burial sites and the environmental features of the surrounding grounds, which often include rivers already facing significant erosion or trees that are more than 100 years old.
Justyn Girdner, who was pursuing a B.S. in Engineering, presented research related to cognitive flexibility focused on learning how to better teach students to think critically about sustainability in engineering.

Competitive funding for summer undergraduate research was offered for Summer 2016. Five faculty members (from the Departments of Biology, Chemistry, Engineering, Geology & Environmental Science, and Graduate Psychology) hired undergraduate students to pursue research projects. Competitive funding to support undergraduate student research was offered again in Fall 2018.

Does the institution have a program to encourage faculty from multiple disciplines or academic programs to conduct research in sustainability topics?:

A brief description of the faculty research program, including the incentives provided and any positive outcomes during the previous three years:

In 2018, the OESS offered mini-grants to support sustainability-related instruction, scholarship, and faculty development. As just one example, an OESS mini-grant helped support a faculty member's research into the vital ecosystem role played by nocturnal pollinators such as bats, moths, and insects. In addition to supporting book development, results are being incorporated in ENG 496: Human Health and the Environment, and ENG 390: The Environmental Imagination.

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 brief description of the institution’s support for interdisciplinary, transdisciplinary, and multidisciplinary research, including any positive outcomes during the previous three years:

The following promotion and tenure guideline recognize cross-disciplinary scholarship:

(1) Department of Psychology: https://www.jmu.edu/academic-affairs/_documents/pnt-merit-pay-documents/2011-12-12-psyc-promotionandtenureguidelines.pdf
Under "Excellent Performance": "In addition, faculty must show evidence of
some of the following: ...5. Engage in high quality research projects (e.g., Involvement in research projects with potential for significant impact on theory, practice, and/or teaching; Development of comprehensive research strategies to address a particular important research question; Well-managed pursuit of multiple research questions; Particularly innovative research strategies; or Research that fosters multidisciplinary approaches)."

(2) School of Engineering: https://www.jmu.edu/academic-affairs/_documents/pnt-merit-pay-documents/2011-02-01-engr-pt.pdf
Under Scholarly Achievement and Professional Qualifications, Part B. Evidence:
..."We value cross-disciplinary scholarship and understand that such scholarly products vary in levels of investment. Thus, the AUH and AUPAC will be mindful that not all scholarly products can be equally weighted..."

(3) Department of Biology: https://www.jmu.edu/academic-affairs/_documents/pnt-merit-pay-documents/biology-pt-2016.pdf
Under II. Scholarly Activity: "Collaborative research with other scientists in biology or other disciplines is valued and encouraged, but such activities should complement, not replace leadership of their own independent program...."

(4) Interdisciplinary Liberal Studies: https://www.jmu.edu/academic-affairs/_documents/pnt-merit-pay-documents/pnt-idls-2011.doc
Under Part 1. General Considerations, G. Standards for Promotion and Tenure:
..."IdLS faculty members’ scholarship and professional development can be interdisciplinary, degree based, or a combination of the two. Evaluations of IdLS faculty members’ scholarship and professional development shall focus on the quality and quantity the faculty members’ work, not whether it is interdisciplinary or degree based. Further, scholarship that is co-authored, published in scholarly venues in languages other than English, and demonstrated in forms other than traditional publications, but which are appropriate to the disciplinary standards in the candidate’s expertise, is valued and encouraged."

Additionally, the Provost’s Award Winner for Excellence in Research and Scholarship includes, "Selection Criteria. Nomination packets should address candidate’s qualifications in any of the following areas:" and the list that follows includes "interdisciplinary approach to research/creative work."

In JMU's Strategic Plan, under Academic Quality: Outstanding Programs, one of the major initiatives is to further high-quality academic programs. One action listed is "Strengthen Leadership in Cross-Disciplinary Collaboration. JMU already is known as an institution where faculty teach and do research spanning disciplinary boundaries. To further these efforts, we will launch a new set of cross-disciplinary pedagogical initiatives seeking to integrate engaged learning, civic engagement and community engagement beginning in academic year 2014-15."

Does the institution have ongoing library support for sustainability research and learning?:

A brief description of the institution’s library support for sustainability research, including any positive outcomes during the previous three years:

Library materials relating to sustainability include the following call number ranges: GE 1-350 Environmental sciences; QC 851-999 Meteorology, Climatology; QH 1-199.5 Natural history, including nature conservation, geographical distribution; QH 540-549.5 Ecology; Environmental technology, Sanitary engineering. Database subscriptions include BioOne, the ProQuest Environmental Science Collection, and Environment Complete. Online subject guides are maintained for the following areas:
-Integrated Science and Technology, http://guides.lib.jmu.edu/isat
-Geographic Science, http://guides.lib.jmu.edu/geography
-Engineering, http://guides.lib.jmu.edu/engineering
-Green Building and Design, http://guides.lib.jmu.edu/greenbuilding

Science and Math Librarian Alyssa Valcourt also maintains an Energy and the Environment guide (http://guides.lib.jmu.edu/energy). Both Alyssa Valcourt and Kelly Giles are available by appointment to meet with faculty and students and provide assistance with sustainability-related research.

The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

Responsible party for information about student conference presentation support: Ms. Amanda Bodle, Sustainability Specialist, OESS

Responsible party for "Library Support" information: Ms. Kelly Giles, Associate Professor, Applied Sciences Librarian

Responsible Party for Faculty Sustainability Initiatives information: Mr. Ben Delp, Director, Research Development and Promotion

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.