Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 72.47
Liaison Jenny McNamara
Submission Date March 30, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Portland State University
AC-1: Academic Courses

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 6.46 / 14.00 Beth Lloyd-Pool
Program Administrator
Institute for Sustainable Solutions
"---" 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 7046 1871
Number of sustainability courses offered 130 42
Number of courses offered that include sustainability 244 101

Percentage of courses that are sustainability course offerings:
5.80

Total number of academic departments (or the equivalent) that offer courses (at any level):
66

Number of academic departments (or the equivalent) that offer at least one sustainability course and/or course that includes sustainability (at any level):
41

Percentage of academic departments with sustainability course offerings:
62.12

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?:
One

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 :

Students are not going to achieve all of the PSU campus wide sustainability learning outcomes or gain a complete understanding of sustainability through one course. Therefore, the question for sustainability course identification becomes what is the most basic concept of sustainability that must be present in a single course’s content regardless of the topic area.

To answer this one can think about the inherent nature of sustainability. At its core, sustainability is about interconnectedness or interrelationships between economic, equity, and environmental systems, i.e. the three E’s of sustainability. Building from this, one can then identify a sustainability course by looking at its content to see if it identifies and describes the relationship between the course topic and at least 2 of the 3 E’s of sustainability. A minimum of 2 is required because it’s the articulation of the intersections that define sustainability and not the areas themselves. Therefore if a course identifies and describes the relationships between the course topic and 2 dimensions of sustainability it includes sustainability. If the content identifies and describes the relationship with all 3 dimensions of sustainability it is a sustainability course.

A course that identifies and describes the relationship with all 3 dimensions of sustainability but does not focus on the concept of sustainability itself is categorized as a course that includes sustainability.

Sustainability course identification is considered to be a work in progress, and the course evaluation form is a reflection of current best thinking. All identified sustainability courses are subject to review and reclassification as more progress is made and new methodologies are developed. The posted sustainability course inventory is not a complete list of all sustainability courses offered at PSU.


How were courses with multiple offerings or sections counted for the figures reported above?:
Each offering or section of a course was counted as an individual course

A brief description of how courses with multiple offerings or sections were counted (if different from the options outlined above):
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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 No

The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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Sustainability course identification is considered to be a work in progress. The posted sustainability course inventory is not a complete list of all sustainability courses offered at PSU.

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.