Overall Rating Silver - expired
Overall Score 49.89
Liaison Ann Drevno
Submission Date Jan. 25, 2016
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

Saint Mary's College of California
AC-8: Campus as a Living Laboratory

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 3.60 / 4.00 Roy Wensley
Dean of Science
School of Science
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Is the institution utilizing the campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in the following areas?:
Yes or No
Air & Climate Yes
Buildings No
Dining Services/Food Yes
Energy No
Grounds Yes
Purchasing Yes
Transportation No
Waste No
Water Yes
Coordination, Planning & Governance Yes
Diversity & Affordability Yes
Health, Wellbeing & Work Yes
Investment No
Public Engagement No
Other Yes

A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Air & Climate and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

Environmental Chemistry labs and Urban Environmental Issues labs place an ambient NO2 diffusion tube on campus for air quality monitoring, as a benchmark with which to compare alternative sites located near a highway. This helps student understand the impact of different environments and anthropogenic activities on air quality.


A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Buildings and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

N/A


A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Dining Services/Food and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

1. Sociology 101 (Sociological Imagination) is an upper division course required of all sociology majors. The major assignment for the course involves the book The Hungry Cowboy (based on ethnographic research of a restaurant in Minnesota). After reading the book students must conduct their own ethnography in the dining hall and/or on-campus coffee shop. Students develop detailed ethnographic field notes to answer the exploratory question: What are the social dynamics in the Saint Mary's dining hall and/or Cafe Louis? Inspired by the research done in The Hungry Cowboy, this class is challenged to ask, “How do members of the Saint Mary’s College community interact with each other in the Sodexo dining hall and/or Café Louis?”

This inductive research uses participant observation in at least 6 sessions to look for social patterns and generate hypotheses to be tested further.

They take note of how different social categories (age, gender, athletic status, race, etc.) help to explain different behaviors in the dining hall (where people sit, whether they clean up after themselves, how social they are, etc.)

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2. Intermediate Italian
At the end of this course, students will be able to: comprehend actions in the present, past, and future with verb structures other than the indicative; read and understand intermediate-level texts; converse at an intermediate level, and use strategies for negotiations in cultural situations. Students will learn to initiate and sustain a conversation about a variety of topics dealing with food and sustainability. They will also learn to express ideas coherently in a one-page composition. Students will discuss and understand the importance of sustainable agriculture and how this can influence the environment. Students will experience and analyze samples of farming practices that are not harmful to the environment. Students will learn that a place like Saint Mary’s can be sustainable by using its own garden and the products that grow in it. Growing, cooking and serving Italian food to the local community in need will be a focus of this course. The lab hour (fourth hour) will be in the field. In addition to lectures, there will be guest speakers and discussions of food, culture, and environment.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tshsjc-5BmU


A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Energy and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

N/A


A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Grounds and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

Saint Mary’s campus hosts a seasonal, freshwater wetland forest, which is a valuable research and educational resource. It is a unique environment in the East San Francisco Bay region with its extensive stand of red willow. Wetland class (EES 75) is a community engagement class that collects samples from the SMC swamp water and soil at the inflow and outflow areas, analyzes the samples and reports results to Environmental and occupational Health and Safety Manager on campus.

Through this process students learn how to measure wetland parameters; develop an awareness of the aspects and values of wetlands; observe and understand the function of wetland habitats in California and learn to analyze wetland conservation problems from multiple perspectives.


A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Purchasing and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

In Environmental & Earth Sciences 120, students commit a campus sustainability inquiry as a part of their coursework. This is a brief independent fieldwork project in which you will search out information about the operations of Saint Mary’s Moraga campus. Select one aspect of the college’s operations to learn about, and do enough research to write a two-page summary of what you learned. For instance maybe you would like to know where the dining service sources the meat that it serves. You may want to contact the appropriate staff member in dining services for a brief interview (asking for facts only, no opinions), or perhaps that person can provide relevant documentation. Is the meat grass fed or factory farmed? Do the dining services people know? Or perhaps you will track down the source of paper purchases at the college (or one department or CILSA) to find out what kind of paper is purchased. What is its post-consumer content? Is it bleached? What types of horticulture does the legacy garden use, and where does its water come from? How could the college improve? In some cases you will encounter resistance or ignorance; that may not be a failure, and you should then discuss the reasons in your write-up—it is interesting to know what information is not available.


A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Transportation and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

N/A


A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Waste and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

N/A


A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Water and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

The campus has a native plant garden that is used as a resource for students in Biology 142 - California Flora and Communities. It demonstrates the drought-tolerant properties of native plants.

EES 75: Wetlands was designed to enable non-science major students to experience science as a way of knowing. Students study the environmental and organismal characteristics of various ecosystems which have soil covered with water at least part of the year. They study the biotic and abiotic factors that make wetlands unique. By examining the hydrology and biogeochemistry of fresh and salt water marshes, swamps, mangroves, bogs, vernal pools and peatlands, students come to understand the ecological and economic values of wetlands and about the threat to their continued existence. Students specifically gather data on Los Trampus Creek as it flows in and out of our seasonal swamp.


A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Coordination, Planning & Governance and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

180 Organizational Psychology
Examines the major theoretical findings in the field concerning the relationship between the individual and the organization, including the study of motivation, leadership, decision making, power and politics, corporate culture, and organizational development.

In this class, students will be completing a project with the recreation center on campus. They will conduct focus groups and surveys of faculty/staff and students about their current use of the recreation center and what would make them more likely to use it.

The results of such work will be shared with the recreation center to help with future plans and processes.


A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Diversity & Affordability and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

106 Intercultural Communication

Course Description: An exploration of intercultural communication within various national contexts, though primarily U.S.-based. The courses will include an examination of the roles
of identity, history, power, language, cultural values, nonverbal communication, migration, cultural space, popular cultural communication and relationships. Students will also become familiar with intercultural communication theories and with approaches to studying intercultural communication. Seeks to provide a basis for comprehending the relationship between culture and communication and for understanding cultural practices, differences and similarities.

Assessment of Campus Transgender Support: This assignment will consist of four groups (see below), each of which will be responsible for assessing an aspect of transgender support on Saint Mary’s Campus. It will require each group to locate and interview (informational interview) 2 or 3 people on campus who can answer the questions your group has. Please discuss with me who you intend to interview. These will likely be administrators or staff or perhaps professors within particular offices or spaces on campus. This project is part of a larger advocacy initiative on campus, and is of particular importance and relevance at this point in Saint Mary’s history, as well as reflective of its profession of and commitment to inclusive excellence. Your final report should 1) list the people you interviewed, 2) provide answers to the questions you are given, 3) articulate what St. Mary’s is a) doing well and b) not doing well, 3) offer your recommendations for actions to be taken, 4) list any helpful resources you came across or were referred to during the course of the assessment project, and 5) offer any other information you see as pertinent. I will post some resources that may be helpful for this project, but I urge you to seek out others and to ask those you interview for other sources they have found helpful.


A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Health, Wellbeing & Work and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

Within our Masters in Counseling program, students are engaged in their fieldwork in clinical, school or college settings appropriate to their department specialization(s) and career objectives. Weekly seminars are provided for the specific specializations of Career Counseling & College Student Services, School Counseling, and Marriage and Family Therapy/Professional Clinical Counselor (MFT/PCC). In addition, supervision is provided by both Counseling Department (CD) campus supervisors and department-approved field supervisors. Via the seminars and CD supervision, advanced training in applying the Counseling Immersion Model and other coursework to the students’ field placement(s) is provided. This advanced training includes interviewing, assessment, diagnosis, prognosis, advising, educating, and counseling, as appropriate to the students’ field placements. Also addressed are an integration of theories and techniques, as well as the cultural, legal, and ethical issues relevant to the fieldwork site and the students’ specialization(s). Personal and countertransference issues involved in the students’ field experience are addressed and discussed as needed.


A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Investment and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

N/A


A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory for Public Engagement and the positive outcomes associated with the work:
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A brief description of how the institution is using the campus as a living laboratory in Other areas and the positive outcomes associated with the work:

Molecular biology courses use the campus as a material source for several of their genotyping labs. Students collect plants from around the campus and dry the leaves in a special kits they have created. Then, the students extract DNA from the leaves. They use the technique of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to amplify the DNA. The PCR focuses on special regions of the DNA called "barcode loci" to identify the plant genus and species using the sequence of the DNA in the barcode loci. This has been a very successful lab for students.

Additionally, professors use the campus (and the many different species of animals on it) for animal behavior and botany coursework. Also, the general ecology course uses the natural resources of the campus for their independent study projects.


The website URL where information about the institution’s campus as a living laboratory program or projects is available:
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A majority of these topics have multiple courses that utilize the campus resources as a living lab.

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