Overall Rating Silver - expired
Overall Score 58.76
Liaison Krista Bailey
Submission Date July 29, 2011
Executive Letter Download

STARS v1.0

Pennsylvania State University
ER-5: Sustainability Course Identification

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 3.00 Susannah Barsom
Associate Director
Center for Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Has the institution developed a definition of sustainability in the curriculum?:

A copy of the institution's definition of sustainability in the curriculum?:

Has the institution identified its sustainability-focused and sustainability-related course offerings?:

A brief description of the methodology the institution followed to complete the inventory:

Our first attempt to complete a sustainability course inventory used a survey of course instructors. We recognize that this method yielded incomplete results, and we are already making plans for a different kind of data collection for future inventories.

Methodology for Course Survey:
A request to complete an on-line questionnaire was sent from the university provost to all deans and chancellors, thence to all department heads and thence to course instructors – in theory this would reach all course instructors for the 2009-2010 academic year.
Although announcements and reminders about this course survey were also made via the university’s official news site, the Center for Sustainability web site, and other appropriate venues, we have learned that some instructors did not hear about the survey. Others heard about it only by word of mouth, and inquired about completing the survey—they were directed to the Course Survey web site. There were 273 responses from University Park instructors. Of these, 75 reported teaching at least one sustainability-related or –focused course, with a total of 96 courses reported.
In completing the survey, instructors were not required to work with a particular definition of sustainability; a number of definitions were provided, and they were asked to develop their own concept of sustainability that included social, environmental and economic factors.
The distinct criteria for sustainability-focused and –related courses were given, and the concept of an immersive experience in sustainability was explained.
Instructors were asked to list sustainability-focused and –related courses and to describe any immersive experiences in sustainability that were offered through their classes.

Does the institution make its sustainability course inventory publicly available online?:

The website URL where the sustainability course inventory is posted:

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.