Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 73.13
Liaison Bridget Flynn
Submission Date March 9, 2017
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

Oberlin College
AC-10: Support for Research

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 3.00 / 4.00 Bridget Flynn
Sustainability Coordinator
Office of Environmental Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have a program to encourage student sustainability research that meets the criteria for this credit?:
No

A brief description of the institution’s program(s) to encourage student research in sustainability:

Oberlin College’s Environmental Studies Program offers several awards to encourage, support, and recognize student sustainability research: Ann Marie Schaening (’89) Memorial Fund (supports environmental-related winter term projects), Doris Baron Student Research Fund (supports research on international development and the connections between agricultural communities and the environment), and Joyce Gorn Memorial Prize (recognizes extracurricular or off-campus environmental projects). EnviroAlums provides grants for student sustainability projects, including awards that support research. The Green EDGE Fund, a student-administered student green fee has funded environmental research. The Office of Undergraduate Research supports general student research across disciplines.


The website URL where information about the student research program is available:
Does the institution have a program to encourage faculty sustainability research that meets the criteria for this credit?:
Yes

A brief description of the institution’s program(s) to encourage faculty research in sustainability:

In the Environmental Studies program, the Blank Research Fellowships provide support for sustainability related research. This fund (internal to Oberlin and to ES) provides faculty with money to hire student fellows to work on environmental sustainability topics with faculty.

Oberlin College's research fund programs, which are awarded competitively, can be used to fund sustainability research projects, even if not explicitly for sustainability. The most significant faculty research funding opportunity is Research Status. Research Status awards are made by the President acting on the advice of the divisional faculty councils. The faculty councils give their advice based on the evaluation of the merit of the proposals by the Research and Development Committee. Faculty members may be placed on Research Status for up to one year. They are relieved of all regular teaching duties and committee work for the term of the award. The primary criterion to be used in making Research Status appointments is the quality of the proposed scholarly work. Additional criteria include the proven ability to bring a substantial scholarly or artistic project to conclusion, the value of the proposed project to the applicant's professional development, and the feasibility of the project and the likelihood of achievement of the proposed outcome within the time available.

Faculty may also apply for student research assistants, either for summer research or for research assistance during the academic year. Awards are competitive. The projects are selected based on the quality of the faculty research proposal, but the projects should also meet the intellectual needs of the student assistants.

Faculty may also receive funds when the College receives grants for specific types of research. For example: in 2015, Rumi Shammin and John Petersen applied for funds to further develop Environmental Dashboard related curricular materials for classes with funds from a Howard Hughes Medical Institute grant.


The website URL where information about the faculty research program is available:
Has the institution formally adopted policies and procedures that give positive recognition to interdisciplinary, transdisciplinary, and multidisciplinary research during faculty promotion and/or tenure decisions?:
Yes

A brief description or the text of the institution’s policy regarding interdisciplinary research:

One of the seven Strategic Directions identified in Oberlin College's Strategic Plan is to strengthen the educational experience. One strategy is to "support curricular collaboration among the College, the Conservatory, and the Allen Memorial Art Museum to encourage innovative and exciting curricular offerings that only Oberlin can offer." Disciplinary and interdisciplinary research is valued equally in tenure and promotion, as well as in all applications for research support and curriculum development support. The college has a number of interdisciplinary programs that have equal standing as departments, and within traditional disciplines, much research is interdisciplinary, transdisciplinary, and multidisciplinary.


The website URL where information about the treatment of interdisciplinary research is available:
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Does the institution provide ongoing library support for sustainability research and learning that meets the criteria for this credit?:
Yes

A brief description of the institution's library support for sustainability research and learning:

Oberlin College's library catalog includes a variety of sustainability resources. This includes many films, books, journal articles, and anthologies on sustainability topics. Typing the word "sustainability" as a search term returns thousands of hits. These resources are used by both students and faculty.

The Science Library has a specific focus on scientific literacy coupled with environmental advocacy. They highlight sustainability resources on displays in the library, as well as for followers online on their tumblr, twitter, and more (https://oberlinsciencelibrary.tumblr.com/). The Environmental Studies Information Center (ESIC) is a one-room resource center featuring environmental materials. Source topics range from activism to indigenous studies, DIY to international policy. Their inventory can be viewed online: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1_nVLjaKuyMXEBsTAm_6VDo_DdFn_QkHFkKJdIqgEoIo/edit#gid=0 and they maintain a facebook page and host occasional events to welcome people to use their resources.


The website URL where information about the institution's library support for sustainability is available:

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.