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
EN-6: Assessing Sustainability Culture

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.00 / 1.00 Christie-Joy Hartman
Executive Director
ISNW
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution conduct an assessment of sustainability culture (i.e. the assessment focuses on sustainability values, behaviors and beliefs, and may also address awareness of campus sustainability initiatives)?:
Yes

Which of the following best describes the cultural assessment? The assessment is administered to::
The entire campus community (students, staff and faculty), directly or by representative sample

Which of the following best describes the structure of the cultural assessment? The assessment is administered::
Longitudinally to measure change over time

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

Three different assessments have been conducted.

The first assessment is part of the Continuing Students Survey. A survey of continuing students is conducted regularly by the Office of Institutional Research. The instrument requests responses from JMU students to questions about their perceptions and degree of satisfaction with JMU, their self-perceptions, and their attitudes, values, and beliefs. For each survey administration, the Office of Institutional Research documents the areas (e.g., gender) in which participants in the survey are representative of the JMU undergraduate population. http://www.jmu.edu/oir/oir-research/rsch_surveys.shtml

The survey covers a multitude of topics/areas. Environmental stewardship questions were first added in 2011. The first engagement results, such as Sample Question 2 below, were added in 2015.

The second assessment, a sustainability culture assessment, is under development. It is intended to be administered longitudinally to measure change over time using a representative sample of the same population. The pilot instrument for sustainability culture was developed by faculty members who served on an ISNW Education and Scholarship Subcommittee, and it was first administered to students and employees in 2016. Revisions are underway, and the survey will next be administered in 2019.

The third assessment is the Perception Study conducted by the Office of Residence Life (ORL). Two environmental sustainability questions were included on it starting in 2013 after a pilot in 2012. Starting in 2017, the questions were given every other year instead of annually.


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

Below is a sample of the questions on the 2017-18 Continuing Students Survey:

Sample Question 1: Which of the following statements best represents your thoughts about environmental issues?
1. I think about environmental issues, and as a result, I have made large lifestyle changes.
2. I think about environmental issues, and as a result, I have made small changes in my habits.
3. I think about environmental issues, and they are unrelated to my actions.
4. I rarely if ever think about environmental issues.
5. I purposely avoid thinking about environmental issues.

Sample Question 2: Which of the following statements best represents your thoughts about community and civic engagement?
1. I think there is value in citizens being engaged in their communities and the democratic process, and as a result I have made a strong commitment to being engaged.
2. I think there is value in citizens being engaged in their communities and the democratic process, and as a result I have made some effort to be more engaged.
3. I think there is value in citizens being engaged in their communities and the democratic process, but this has not changed my own behavior.
4. I rarely if ever think about the value of being engaged in my community and the democratic process.
5. I purposely avoid thinking about being engaged in my community and the democratic process.

Sample Question 3: Based on the scale below, indicate the personal importance to you concerning each of the following:
1. Essential 3. Somewhat important
2. Very important 4. Not important

24. Influencing social values.
25. Influencing the political structure.
26. Helping others who are in difficulty.
27. Becoming involved in programs to clean the environment.*
28. Participating in a community action program.*
29. Keeping up to date with political affairs.
30. Promoting racial understanding.*
31. Becoming accomplished in one of the performing arts (acting, dancing, etc.).
32. Becoming an authority in my field.
33. Obtaining recognition from my colleagues for contribution to my special field.
34. Raising a family.
35. Having administrative responsibility for the work of others.
36. Being very well off financially.
37. Making a theoretical contribution to science.
38. Writing original works (poems, novels, short stories, etc.).
39. Creating artistic works (painting, sculpture, decorating, etc.).
40. Being successful in a business of my own.
41. Developing a meaningful philosophy of life.
42. Being admitted to a prestigious graduate school.
43. Receiving a liberal arts education of high quality.
44. Becoming accomplished in a varsity sport.

Sample Question 4. Based on the scale below, please indicate how important each of the following is to you:
1. Very important 4. Somewhat unimportant
2. Somewhat important 5. Very unimportant
3. Neutral

45. Achieving my own identity
46. Friendship
47. Education
48. Privacy
49. Family
50. Athletics
51. Being close to nature*
52. Work
53. Love
54. Living a clean, moral life
55. Having children
56. Religion
57. Physical development
58. Doing things for others
59. Contributing to societal change*
60. Money
61. Patriotism
62. Politics
63. Ethical behavior*
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Examples of questions on the pilot sustainability culture survey are:

The following statements are about your actions within the last year. Indicate how often you have done following:
-How often do you walk, bicycle, or take the bus instead of driving to campus?
-How often do you recycle or compost?
-How often do you talk to others about their environmental behavior?
-How often do you consider the environmental impact of your purchases prior to making them?
-How often do you seek opportunities to educate yourself about environmental issues?
-How often do you engage in activities that will promote social and economic equality?
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The two questions on the Office of Resident's Life (ORL) Perception Study are
1) "The residence hall that I live in this year is environmentally friendly. In general, I can see real efforts being made by residents to recycle, conserve water, and save energy.”
2) “Which of the following statements best represents how you think about environmental issues and your personal actions?”


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

In Fall 2017, the staff in the Office of Institutional Research distributed the Continuing Student Survey 2017-18. With the support of the Provost and the academic deans, a representative sample of approximately 20 percent of the JMU undergraduate student body was selected. Five separate forms of the survey were developed with each student in the sample receiving one of the five forms. Through the cooperation of faculty, Survey 2017-18 was administered during class time and 3,724 usable surveys were returned.

For the pilot instrument for sustainability culture, employees and students were randomly sampled and received emails with a link to an electronic survey in 2016. For the JMU student and employee population of 27,214, confidence level 90%, margin of error 5%, 267 responses were needed. 352 people completed the survey.

Respondents were allowed to select all the roles with which they identify. 254 respondents selected the role of part-time/wage employee, full-time classified staff, adjunct faculty member, instructional faculty member, and/or administrative and professional faculty member. Forty respondents identified as both an employee and a student. For a population of 3860 employees, confidence level of 90%, and margin of error of 5%, a sample of 252 employees was needed. Data were not broken down by role for the analysis.

The ORL survey is given electronically. On average, more than one third of the residents respond.


A brief summary of results from the cultural assessment, including a description of any measurable changes over time:

Results of the Continuing Students Survey are available at http://www.jmu.edu/oir/oir-research/rsch_surveys.shtml#survey-css. Because of the CSS's length, not all items are contained in this STARS report.

Consistently each year (2012 to 2015) in response to SQ1, 10% of JMU students selected, "I think about environmental issues, and as a result, I have made large lifestyle changes." 14% selected this response in in 2017. Between 2012 to 2017, the number of students who selected, "I think about environmental issues, and as a result, I have made small changes in my habits." ranged between 64% to 69%.

In response to SQ2 in 2017, 18% selected "I think there is value in citizens being engaged in their communities and the democratic process, and as a result I have made a strong commitment to being engaged," which is consistent with 17% in 2015. In 2015 and 2017, 54% of respondents selected, "I think there is value in citizens being engaged in their communities and the democratic process, and as a result I have made some effort to be more engaged."

In 2017, in response to SQ3, 24% of respondents indicated that becoming involved in programs to clean up the environment was an essential accomplishment compared to 12% in 2012. Also, in 2017, 45% indicated that promoting racial understanding was an essential accomplishment compared to 28% in 2012.

As part of the pilot sustainability culture survey, respondents were asked about their perceptions of JMU’s culture of sustainability. More than half of the respondents indicated that JMU is making reasonable progress toward a campus of sustainability. Behaviors related to sustainability selected most often by respondents included turning off the lights when leaving a room and using a reusable beverage container when on campus. Behaviors related to sustainability selected least often by respondents included talking to others about their environmental behavior and walking, bicycling, or taking the bus instead of driving to campus. Change over time cannot be assessed yet, since the survey will not be given for the second time until Fall 2019.

The ORL survey has consistently had around 69% of the respondents agree or strongly agree that they see real efforts made by residents to save energy etc in the residence halls. Similarly around 75% of respondents report trying to change some habits or overall lifestyle to reduce environmental impact.


The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
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Additional documentation to support the submission:
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Responses to CSS reviewed and edited by Dr. Chris Orem, Director, Office of Institutional Research.

Responses regarding pilot survey results compiled by Dr. Jessica Jacovidis, OESS.

Responses from ORL provided by Dr. Kevin Meaney, Director of Residence Life.

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.