Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 66.74
Liaison Krista Bailey
Submission Date Oct. 20, 2014
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

Pennsylvania State University
EN-11: Continuing Education

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 3.00 / 5.00 Mary Easterling
Assoc Director, Analysis & Assessment
Sustainability Institute
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution offer continuing education courses that address sustainability?:

Number of continuing education courses offered that address sustainability:

Total number of continuing education courses offered:

A copy of the list and brief descriptions of the continuing education courses that address sustainability:
A list and brief descriptions of the continuing education courses that address sustainability:

See attached list.
Penn State's non-credit educational offerings, while numerous, are not housed primarily in Continuing Education, or even under a single alternative administrative structure. For this reason it is a formidable task to enumerate the full suite of such courses. The largest collection of non-credit courses is housed in Extension, with a much smaller number offered by Continuing Education. (Most course offerings through Continuing Education are for-credit.) We evaluated these two groups of non-credit courses to compute the values for this STARS credit.

All Extension courses, regardless of where they are delivered, are connected to research and programming developed centrally at University Park. These "courses" represent a mix of many types of educational events, ranging from those where the primary focus is on education (e.g., workshops, conferences and courses) to more informal events such as camps, fundraisers, 4-H "round-ups", and club meetings. Most of the sustainability-related offerings fall into the former (primarily educational) category. For the purpose of this credit, each individual section or repeat offering of a course was counted separately; this counting method was the same for both sustainability-related and non-sustainability courses.

An additional 50 non-credit courses are offered through Continuing Education; 10 of those address sustainability issues.

See Notes section for more details on the variety of non-traditional (vs non-credit) sustainability educational opportunities at Penn State.

Does the institution have at least one sustainability-themed certificate program through its continuing education or extension department?:

A brief description of the certificate program:

Penn State does not offer non-credit certificate programs in any area, including sustainability. All of its certificate programs consist of for-credit courses.

The following for-credit certificate programs related to sustainability are offered through Penn State's on-line World Campus:

Graduate Certificate in Bioenergy - for current or aspiring practitioners who want to obtain advanced skills to further their career in the growing bioenergy industry.

Graduate Certificate in Solar Energy - for current or aspiring professionals seeking the progressive skills needed to advance the solar energy sector.

Graduate Certificate in Sustainability Management and Policy - for students with a technical mindset who are interested in focusing on the implementation and interpretation of existing sustainability policies and regulations — and in exploring future sustainability strategies with regard to changing economic, environmental, political, and societal conditions.

Year the certificate program was created:

The website URL where information about sustainability in continuing education courses is available :

Below is a sampling of Penn State sustainability-related educational opportunities, both non-credit and for-credit, offered in a non-traditional format (i.e., online) or targeted to non-traditional students and the general public.

As noted previously, Continuing Education (Outreach) primarily offers for-credit courses and academic programs targeted to adults seeking a career change, professional development, and degree completion. None of these for-credit academic programs are in areas directly relevant to sustainability.

Penn State Extension in the College of Agricultural Sciences offers a variety of non-credit educational opportunities in the areas of agriculture, natural resources, food and health, and youth and family.

Penn State's World Campus offers a wide variety of for-credit online courses, degrees and certificate programs, including some in the sustainability realm. Some of these offerings are available exclusively online, while others provide an alternative format to residential courses and programs.

A small number of MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) have been developed by Penn State faculty thus far. One of these - entitled "Energy, the Environment, and our Future", taught by Geosciences professor Richard Alley - has a strong sustainability theme.

There are a number of other centers and programs at Penn State with an educational focus that offer sustainability-related education that is not for academic credit. For example:
The GridSTAR Center (Grid Smart Training and Application Resource Center) and the Northern Mid-Atlantic Solar Education and Resource Center deliver professional and skilled workforce educational programming in the areas of smart grid and solar technologies, respectively. The Centers are coordinated by faculty and staff on the Penn State UP campus, but delivered at locations in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.
The Small Business Development Center and the Pennsylvania Technical Assistance Program both offer training and advice in areas that include energy and the environment.

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.