Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 78.69
Liaison Lindsey Kalkbrenner
Submission Date Feb. 14, 2023

STARS v2.2

Santa Clara University
AC-10: Support for Sustainability Research

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 3.00 / 4.00 Chad Raphael
Professor and Faculty Associate, Curriculum Development and Transformation
Communication and Center for Sustainability
"---" 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:

In the summer of 2022, Santa Clara University and Silicon Valley Power, the City of Santa Clara’s municipal electric utility, announced a new five-year Silicon Valley Power (SVP) Sustainable Futures Program to enhance college access through scholarships and support project-based learning for undergraduate students pursuing studies and careers in sustainability fields. As part of this program, SCU’s Center for Sustainability will award three annual SVP Sustainable Futures Fellowships of $5,000 each to support undergraduate students pursuing project-based learning and applied research experiences. Preference is given to students who are from underrepresented socioeconomic backgrounds, who intend to pursue careers in sustainability or clean energy, and who show strong leadership potential and commitment to climate goals such as UN Sustainable Development Goals. https://www.scu.edu/sustainability/about/staff/svpfellowship/

Miller Center Fellowship (fka Global Social Benefit Fellowship) provides a comprehensive program of mentored, field-based study and action research for juniors within the Miller Center Accelerator program alumni network of social entrepreneurs. The fellowship combines a fully funded 6-8 week 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. This is a richly rewarding yet demanding experience, one that requires a time-intensive, nine month commitment. Each fellow will receive a support package to cover all international travel, in-country expenses, and research costs, plus a modest summer stipend. https://www.millersocent.org/students/

The Environmental Ethics Fellowship is awarded to outstanding Santa Clara University undergraduates to support a project that examines the ethical implications of an environmental topic. The fellowship is supported by gifts from John and Joan Casey, and Mary Ganahl. The 2021-22 Environmental Ethics Fellowship focused on the "E" in the ESG movement. The fellows created resources for the Markkula Center website addressing such issues as what should be included in the "E" in ESG, the impacts of consumption on the environment in the context of ESG, how we should think of ownership of environmental resources with respect to ESG, and the "Top Ten" issues in the environmental side of ESG. https://www.scu.edu/environmental-ethics/environmental-ethics-fellowship/

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. To further the University’s goal of building a substantial and distinctive research focus in this area, applications that involve collaborations among two or more SCU faculty members are prioritized. https://www.scu.edu/provost/research/faculty-funding-opportunities/

The Environmental Justice and the Common Good Initiative provides grants up to $3,000 to SCU faculty members to conduct research on environmental justice, especially involving a community-based approach. https://www.scu.edu/ej/grants/

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, the University evaluates candidates for promotion and tenure under three criteria: (l) teaching, (2) scholarly or artistic work and other professional accomplishments, and (3) service to the University, the profession, and the community. Teaching and scholarly or artistic work are the most important of these, and candidates for promotion and tenure are required to demonstrate superior accomplishments in both.

Each academic department defines its disciplinary research standards and may require interdisciplinary, transdisciplinary, and/or multidisciplinary research at that level.

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 - Analyzing Green Rhetoric (Critical Thinking and Writing) (https://libguides.scu.edu/ENVS1aGrudin and https://libguides.scu.edu/envs2a_beam)
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 Hope (Advanced Writing) (https://libguides.scu.edu/ENVS143)
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 budget cut, the Library has managed to maintain its collection in the past three years. Popular databases that are often used include GreenFILE and Agricultural & Environmental Science Collection.

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 2021-2022 academic year, collaboration with faculty from Environmental Studies and Sciences, Ethnic Studies, and Sociology, supported by the Library, led to the creation of The Environmental Justice and Sustainability Research Toolbox. The toolbox can be accessed via this link: https://libguides.scu.edu/ejsrt. The Environmental Justice and Sustainability Research Toolbox includes resources for faculty to incorporate different research methods and paradigms into their courses. The toolbox features ten modules focused on mixed methods – the integration of qualitative and quantitative methodologies – for sustainability and environmental justice research across the curriculum.” During the Summer of 2021, faculty collaborators worked on identifying the different modules that would be included in the toolbox. The structure of the toolbox was developed through zoom meetings, emails and a Google Doc. This project ran for almost half a year before the toolbox went live as a guide in January 2022. The toolbox is currently managed by the Science Librarian on the library’s software platform, SpringShare. Analytics show that the toolbox has been viewed 300 times since its publication.

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.” https://www.scu.edu/library/policies/cdp/

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

Additional documentation to support the submission:

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 Jesuit Education) which actively support interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary research through their own research programs.

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.