Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 79.45
Liaison Lindsey Kalkbrenner
Submission Date Feb. 27, 2020

STARS v2.2

Santa Clara University
AC-10: Support for Sustainability Research

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Amy Shachter
Associate Provost for Research and Faculty Affairs
Office of Research Initiatives
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have an ongoing program to encourage students in multiple disciplines or academic programs to conduct sustainability research?:

A brief description of the student sustainability research program:

The Global Social Benefit Fellowship provides a comprehensive program of mentored, field-based study and action research within the GSBI® worldwide network of social entrepreneurs for Santa Clara University juniors. The GSBI is world-class accelerator that connects global social enterprise leaders with Silicon Valley business executives to develop more sustainable, scalable market-based solutions to the problems of those living in poverty around the world. The Fellowship combines a fully funded summer field experience in the developing world with two quarters of academically rigorous research. It is a program of practical social justice, in the Jesuit educational tradition. The program is a richly rewarding yet demanding experience, one that requires a time-intensive, 9-month commitment. It provides a comprehensive introduction to the social enterprise movement. Each Fellow receives a support package to cover all international travel, in-country expenses, and research costs, plus a modest summer stipend.
The Environmental Ethics Fellowship, a program of the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics, explores the ethical dimensions of sustainability. The Fellowship in Environmental Ethics has been awarded annually to an outstanding Santa Clara University undergraduate to support a project that examines the ethical implications of an environmental topic. Past projects include developing a Carbon Footprint Calculator for college students to measure their impact, specific to their campus. The students also wrote instructions for other campuses to develop their own calculators. The tool has been replicated at several other institutions of higher education.

Does the institution have a program to encourage academic staff from multiple disciplines or academic programs to conduct sustainability research?:

A brief description of the faculty sustainability research program:

The Sustainability Research Grant has helped to establish a vibrant, productive, and collaborative research community focused on projects related to environmental justice and sustainability. Faculty are encouraged to continually apply for this research grant of up to $10,000 to support their research and creative activity and foster new scholarly projects.

Has the institution published written policies and procedures that give positive recognition to interdisciplinary, transdisciplinary, and multidisciplinary research during faculty promotion and/or tenure decisions?:

A copy of the promotion or tenure guidelines or policies:

The promotion or tenure guidelines or policies:

According to the Santa Clara University Faculty Handbook, promotion decisions are based on three criteria: teaching, scholarly/artistic accomplishments, and service to the University, profession, and community. When evaluating the contributions from scholarly or artistic works, judgement from others in the field and those outside of the University is weighed heavily in promotion decisions.

While faculty are expected to contribute to their home disciplines, they are also encouraged to engage in interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary research. Such research is recognized in evaluation and promotion decisions.

The University’s internal grants programs also support interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary research. https://www.scu.edu/provost/research/faculty-funding-opportunities/

The University has also established three Centers of Distinction (Markkula Center for Applied Ethics; Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship; and Ignatian Center for Applied Ethics) which actively support interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary research through their own research programs.

Does the institution have ongoing library support for sustainability research and learning?:

A brief description of the institution’s library support for sustainability research:

The Library maintains a selection of sustainability research guides that have a variety of themes and subjects. These include resources on energy, water, ecology, agriculture, green business & economics, the built environment, and other general sustainability topics.

Some of the classes that rely on these research guides include:
ENVS 1A and 2A - Composing a Sustainable World (https://libguides.scu.edu/ctw1glaser and https://libguides.scu.edu/beamglaser)
ENVS 22, Introduction to Environmental Studies (https://libguides.scu.edu/environmentalstudies)
ENVS 122, Environmental Politics & Policy (https://libguides.scu.edu/environmentalpolicy)
ENVS 143, Literatures of Environmental Apocalypse (Advanced Writing) (https://libguides.scu.edu/ENVS143/home)
ENVS 161, Water Security (Advanced Writing) (https://libguides.scu.edu/watersecurity)

In addition, the Library subscribes to dozens of databases that include sustainability-related materials and hundreds of sustainability-related journals. In spite of a lean budgetary climate, the Library has managed to acquire two new sustainability-related resources in the last couple of years: the database Social Explorer, which is often used by the GIS classes and the 2017 volume of the new journal Case Studies in the Environment.

Regarding materials policies and practices, The Open Access statement in the Collection Development Philosophy and Practices document addresses issues of sustainability: “Philosophy: In keeping with the University’s mission of advocating for social justice, the Library is committed to providing financial support for Open Access initiatives that seek to change the current scholarly publishing business model, which is exclusive and unsustainable, to a publishing model that is inclusive and sustainable.
Practice: The Library is committed to providing at least 0.5% of its acquisitions budget each year to Open Access initiatives that best meet its criteria for investment. In considering options for investment, the highest priority is given to initiatives that focus on the publishing, development, or adoption of Open Access materials that are appropriate for undergraduate research and/or instruction. Examples would include Open Access monograph initiatives and programs or products that aid faculty in creating or adopting Open Education Resources.”

The selector for science materials, including sustainability-related resources, also seeks to buy multi-user eBooks rather than hard copy books, when available. This is not only to decrease the use of physical materials and the resources it takes to transport and preserve them, but also to increase access for students.

During the 2018-2019 academic year, collaboration with an Environmental Science and Studies faculty member led to the development of an Advanced Writing course on Water Security. During the Summer and Fall 2018 quarters, work was done on identifying and selecting readings, writing a series of scaffolded research assignment prompts, and designing a series of two research sessions in the library. The course ran for the first time in Winter 2019. An example of a thank-you message from a student in the course: “I found this workshop really helpful! Most of the techniques we used were new [to me], and I found them to effectively and easily find sources! I never thought about looking into how authors' articles relate to each other and how the dialogues are connected. Thank you!”

Website URL where information about the institution’s support for sustainability research is available:

Additional documentation to support the submission:

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.