Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 72.17
Liaison Toby Cain
Submission Date March 1, 2019
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Luther College
AC-6: Sustainability Literacy Assessment

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 4.00 Toby Cain
Sustainability Coordinator
Center for Sustainable Communities
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution conduct an assessment of the sustainability literacy of its students (i.e. an assessment focused on student knowledge of sustainability topics and challenges)?:

Which of the following best describes the literacy assessment? The assessment is administered to::
The entire (or predominate) student body, directly or by representative sample

Which of the following best describes the structure of the assessment? The assessment is administered as a::
Standalone evaluation without a follow-up assessment of the same cohort or representative samples

A copy of the questions included in the sustainability literacy assessment(s):
A sample of the questions included in the sustainability literacy assessment or the website URL where the assessment tool may be found:

The survey includes twenty questions that will collect information in three categories: sustainability knowledge, beliefs, and behaviors.

1.The United Nations definition of sustainable development calls for:
Maintaining current incomes and quality of life forever.
Increasing consumption at a constant rate.
Meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
Setting aside resources for preservation, never to be used.

2. An approach that seeks to understand sustainability problems by examining interactions and feedbacks within and between human and natural systems is called:
Deductive reasoning
Inductive reasoning
Strategic thinking
Systems thinking

3. Many economists argue that electricity prices in the U.S. are too low because:
The prices do not reflect costs caused by pollution from generating electricity.
Profits of electric utilities are too low.
Higher electricity prices would stimulate economic growth.
Low electricity prices make the U.S. less competitive in international markets.

4. What is the primary source of electricity in Decorah and at Luther College?
Natural gas

5. How has the gap in incomes between the richest and poorest households in the United States changed over the last 30 years?
Neither increased or decreased.
Changed volatilely from year to year.

6. The greenhouse effect warms the Earth's climate because:
The earth’s atmosphere becomes thicker, trapping in more solar radiation.
The earth’s atmosphere becomes thinner allowing more harmful radiation to hit the earth’s surface.
The amount of visible solar radiation that reaches the Earth's surface increases.
The amount of visible solar radiation that reaches the Earth's surface decreases.

7. According to the United Nations’ most recent estimates, what percentage of the global population lives in extreme poverty ($1.90 or less per day)?

8. What percentage of Iowa’s population receives its drinking water from groundwater sources?

9. As we look at global biodiversity, how are species doing now compared to the past? Rates of species going extinct are:
About the same as they have been over most of human history
Slower than in the past
A little faster than in the past
Much faster than at any time in the last thousand years

10. In the American Midwest, what are the primary impacts of global climate change:
Increased precipitation leading to flooding
Decreased precipitation leading droughts
Sea level rise flooding cities such as Chicago
Heat waves causing increased fires

11. What percent of corn grown in Iowa is sweet corn, grown to be eaten fresh, frozen, or canned by people?

12. Northeast Iowa is part of the Driftless Area which is characterized by:
Flat, open plains where animals do not tend to drift
Ancient deserts that have been buried in soil
Hills and valleys since the area was not flattened by glaciers
Restless people who have drifted here from other places

13. What state leads the nation in wind power production, with the renewable source supplying over 35% of its total electricity production?

Beliefs (3 Questions)

14. Which of the issues listed below do you associate with creating a sustainable society? Check all that apply.

Strengthening the economy
Reducing income inequality
Improving access to healthcare
Improving access to local, nutritious foods
Protecting the environment
Conserving resources for future generations
Decreasing crime
Ending discrimination Improving public education Keeping taxes low
Limiting government

15. How strongly do you agree or disagree with the following points of view? (This would be on a five, six, or seven-point scale)

We are exceeding environmental limits that will cause severe harm to future generations.
Technological innovations will strongly benefit future generations.
The U.S. should take aggressive action to limit climate change.
I have a responsibility to live sustainably.
Everyone's education should include sustainability concepts, practices and solutions.

16. How strongly do you agree or disagree with the following statements? Since coming to Luther I have . . . (This would be on a five, six, or seven-point scale)

Gained greater understanding of sustainability.
Become more sustainable in my personal lifestyle.
Developed greater motivation for promoting sustainability in the communities of which I am a member.
Gained confidence in my abilities to create positive change in the world.

Behaviors (4 Questions)

17. Have you engaged in any of the following activities as part of your academic courses in the fall of 2018 or spring of 2019? Check all that apply.

Used the campus or college farm to learn about sustainability.
Interacted with Carlisle residents to learn about the local community.
Went on a field trip to learn about local resources.
Conducted experiments in a lab to examine sustainability­ related concepts.
Developed and tested a solution to a sustainability problem on campus or in a community.
Examined civic responsibilities, ethical questions or personal values in relation to sustainability.
Examined sustainability perspectives or approaches in a non­ U.S. context.
Created an artistic work to explore or communicate sustainability concepts.
Conducted a significant research project on a sustainability­ related topic.

18. Have you engaged in any of the following activities in the past year that were not part of a course? Check all that apply.

Made conscious efforts to create an inclusive and welcoming climate on campus.
Participated in a workshop that gave you hands-on experience with sustainability-related skills
Taken steps to reduce energy use, water use or consumption of new goods
Advocated for action by elected or other public officials

19. How often do you practice the following behaviors?

When possible, use means other than a car to get around town.
Buy bottled water.
Take care of belongings so they last a long time.
Turn off lights, computers and other electronics when not in use.
Eat meals with little or no meat.

20. How strongly do you agree or disagree with the following statements?

I take pride in Luther’s commitment to sustainability.
Luther’s sustainability efforts have enriched my education and college experience.
Too much emphasis is given to sustainability at Luther.
Sustainability was an important factor in my decision to come to Luther
Luther’s sustainability performance meets or exceeds my expectations.
I will incorporate sustainability values and practices in my future professional, civic and personal life.

A brief description of how the literacy assessment was developed and/or when it was adopted:

Luther College's Center for Sustainable Communities has developed a sustainability literacy assessment to be administered to students in spring 2019 by the Office of Assessment and Institutional Research. Input for the assessment was obtained by students, staff, faculty members in the Environmental Studies department, peer institutions, and members of the Sustainability Council. The purpose of the assessment is to allow the Center to measure current students' behaviors, beliefs, and knowledge of sustainable systems so that we may better understand the baseline of sustainability knowledge that students possess when we design curriculum, events, and learning goals. The survey will allow the Center to assess whether or not Luther students are meeting the all-college learning goals related to sustainability. The results will help us understand the parts of our work that are reaching students and the parts where we could be more strategic in our outreach. Although this is the first assessment we are administering to measure sustainability knowledge and beliefs, we intend for this survey to be given every three years to representative samples of the student body. A longitudinal study will allow us to measure the change in behaviors and beliefs over time.

A brief description of how a representative sample was reached (if applicable) and how the assessment(s) were administered :

Office of Assessment and Institutional Research will determine our representative samples and will administer the assessment.

Here is a description of Luther College's Office of Assessment & Institutional Research:
The demands for accurate and timely institutional information, both internally and externally, are great; the Office of Assessment & Institutional Research (AIR), established in 2003, serves the college by addressing this need through the gathering, interpreting, and sharing of data.

Internally, we provide information to many constituents—admissions, student life, development, the Center for Intercultural Engagement and Student Success, faculty groups—indeed, any place at Luther where self-knowledge is essential. Our information-gathering extends from demographic data about the campus community to participation in co-curricular activities, persistence and graduation rates to faculty and student satisfaction. We conduct research on a variety of aspects of college life, giving special focus to the assessment of student learning.

Externally, we are tasked with providing data to a variety of agencies concerned with accountability in higher education. This charge includes annual compilation and filing of the Common Data Set and IPEDS (Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System) which comprise the official statistical data for the college. AIR is responsive to the ever-growing demands for information as well as heading Luther’s reaccreditation efforts.

The collection, analysis, and ultimately communication of data is vital for informed decision-making campus-wide. AIR enthusiastically provides this support to the college community.

A brief summary of results from the literacy assessment(s), including a description of any measurable changes over time:

This survey will be administered in April 2019. The Center for Sustainable Communities plans to work with the Office of Assessment & Institutional Research to conduct additional assessments in the future to measure change over time.

The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:

Additional documentation to support the submission:

Please note that this assessment has been developed but has not yet been administered. It will be administered in the Spring semester of 2019.

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.