Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 72.17
Liaison Chris Frantsvog
Submission Date March 1, 2019
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Luther College
AC-1: Academic Courses

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 13.00 / 14.00 Jon Jensen
Professor of Philosophy and Environmental Studies
Philosophy, Environmental Studies
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Figures required to calculate the percentage of courses offered by the institution that are sustainability course offerings:
Undergraduate Graduate
Total number of courses offered by the institution 1,053 0
Number of sustainability courses offered 30 0
Number of courses offered that include sustainability 396 0

Percentage of courses that are sustainability course offerings:

Total number of academic departments (or the equivalent) that offer courses (at any level):

Number of academic departments (or the equivalent) that offer at least one sustainability course and/or course that includes sustainability (at any level):

Percentage of academic departments with sustainability course offerings:

A copy of the institution’s inventory of its sustainability course offerings and descriptions:
Do the figures reported above cover one, two, or three academic years?:

A brief description of the methodology used to determine the total number of courses offered and to identify sustainability course offerings, including the definitions used and the process for reviewing and/or validating the course inventory :

Methodology for Sustainability Course Inventory:

In our Institutional Characteristics we report having 25 academic departments but for this portion of STARS we limited our scope to 24 academic departments. The only department excluded from this survey is music because it fell outside of our scope.

The registrar’s office provided lists of all courses taught at Luther College for the two preceding years - 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 - by department. These lists were uploaded onto Google Sheets in a shared folder. Each spreadsheet contained information including instructor, enrollment, term offered, etc. Center for Sustainable Communities staff eliminated courses that were offered for fewer than 4 credits. Meetings were set up with the heads of all academic departments and the Sustainability Coordinator attempted to meet with all faculty at department meetings throughout October, November, and December 2018. Following each meeting, the Sustainability Coordinator put together a shared Google Folder that contained data collection tools such as the course spreadsheets, instructions for completing the spreadsheet, and a Google Form for reporting sustainability-focused research. These folders were shared with the head of each academic department and/or a faculty member who had indicated a willingness to help with the inventory. The instructions provided are included at the end of this description. Each department chair was asked to complete the inventory for their department in conversation with other faculty members, as needed. The Sustainability Coordinator regularly followed up with department contacts until all departments had completed their inventories or had been contacted at least twice with no response. The courses for non-reporting departments were reviewed by the Sustainability Coordinator and the Director of the Center for Sustainable Communities.

The Sustainability Coordinator and the Director of the Center for Sustainable Communities reviewed the reports to ensure an accurate inventory. The course lists from the registrar’s office were comprehensive and included many “courses” that the sustainability staff decided to leave out of the course inventory. For example, single student music lessons, internships, and independent studies that were done for one or two students are not included in this inventory. Only four-credit courses are included in the inventory. We did not count summer classes. Luther offers very few summer courses and many of the students that enroll are not pursuing degrees at Luther College.

We chose to count multiple sections separately, rather than as one course.The committee determined that this was the best way to accurately represent the impact of sustainability in our curriculum.

The full course inventory is uploaded as an Excel spreadsheet.

STARS Reporting: Instructions and Definitions for Faculty Fall 2018
What is STARS? The Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS) is a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance. The Center for Sustainable Communities (CSC) conducts a STARS report every 2-3 years.
How can you help? This fall, the CSC will be collecting data about Luther courses. I need your help to determine which courses are focused on sustainability in their entirety, include elements of sustainability, or use Luther College as a living laboratory. Additionally, we are also collecting data on faculty and student research that intersects with sustainability.
How do you know if your courses are related to sustainability? You may never use the word “sustainability” in your course or it may seem like sustainability is a bold faced word in all of your texts. If your course fosters the skills, knowledge, values, and habits of mind necessary to be responsible citizens of communities striving for a more equitable, prosperous, and environmentally responsible world, then it is connected to sustainability!
Coursework classification and examples:
1. Sustainability Courses. Sustainability courses are courses in which the primary and explicit goal of the course is to understand or address sustainability.
Examples: Climate Change Science; Equity, Race, and Gender in the Modern World; Art and Social Justice; Sustainable Food Systems; Resource and Conservation Biology.
2. Courses That Include Sustainability. A course that includes sustainability is primarily focused on a topic other than sustainability, but incorporates a unit or module that addresses sustainability.
Examples: Entomology - includes a unit on biodiversity and climate change. Social Psychology - includes a unit on how to create social change. Theology and Religious Diversity - includes a unit on globalism and the role of people, the environment, and religion. Paideia - includes units on social justice and environmental change.
3. Campus as a Living Laboratory Does your course merge academics with campus and community infrastructure, facilities, and/or operations in a multidisciplinary way? These courses involve active and experiential learning.
Examples: Ecology - laboratory includes field trips and directed research projects. Environmental Education (also qualifies as a sustainability course) - includes an emphasis on place-based education and exploring the local landscapes.
Research, Internships, and Special Projects:
Faculty Research The CSC would like to collect details about Luther College faculty research that leads towards solutions that simultaneously support social wellbeing, economic prosperity, and ecological health. It includes research and scholarship that:
● Explicitly addresses sustainability and/or furthers our understanding of the interconnectedness of social, economic, and environmental issues;
● Contributes directly toward solving one or more major sustainability challenges; and/or
● Engages community members with the aim of combining knowledge and action to achieve positive social, economic, and environmental outcomes.
Student Research, Internships and Special Projects: Please tell us about any substantive work being done by students that involves active and experiential learning focused on or related to sustainability. These projects include, but are not limited to, student research, internships, and non-credit work that includes formal learning components.
Thank you for participating in our sustainability tracking and reporting efforts! I’ll look forward to working with you all!

What to do next:
1. Take a look at your department’s STARS folder. There will be one spreadsheet and one Google Form.
2. In the spreadsheet, find your 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 courses. In the columns provided, indicate (with a check mark on the spreadsheet) which of your courses, if any, would qualify as sustainability courses, courses that include sustainability, and/or are courses that use the campus/community as a living laboratory. If one of your courses qualifies, in addition to indicating so in the spreadsheet, please provide a short course description. If a course does not qualify, please make a check mark in the “Does Not Qualify” column so that I know you’ve finished reviewing that course!
3. Fill out the Google Form, describing any research you have conducted or will conduct in the 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 academic years that is related to sustainability. Similarly, add to the Form any student research or student work that is related to sustainability. Provide a short description of the research and/or work.

That’s it! Thank you for your help!

Toby Cain
Sustainability Coordinator
Center for Sustainable Communities

How were courses with multiple offerings or sections counted for the figures reported above?:
Each course was counted as a single course regardless of the number of offerings or sections

A brief description of how courses with multiple offerings or sections were counted (if different from the options outlined above):

Are the following course types included in the inventory? :
Yes (included) or No (not included)
Internships No
Practicums No
Independent study No
Special topics Yes
Thesis / dissertation No
Clinical No
Physical education No
Performance arts Yes

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

Data source(s) and notes about 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.