Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 63.76
Liaison Levi Rogers
Submission Date March 10, 2017
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Skidmore College
AC-10: Support for Research

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Karen Kellogg
Director of Sustainability
Dean of Faculty's Office
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Does the institution have an ongoing program to encourage students in multiple disciplines or academic programs to conduct research in sustainability? :
Yes

A brief description of the student research program, including the incentives provided and any positive outcomes during the previous three years:

Several of our departments have a required research project as a student’s capstone experience. Students from many disciplines choose to focus on a sustainability-related topic for their research, and, in some departments (e.g., Environmental Studies and Sciences), all research projects are focused on sustainability.

We also have summer research support for students, and many of these projects across many departments are focused on sustainability. For example, last summer there were research projects focused on everything from small hydropower to water quality analyses to the impacts of fracking to environmental volunteerism.

In addition, we have Skidmore-funded internships and experiences for students doing work off campus and for other organizations over the summer. Many of these are sustainability-focused, and, in fact, two of these packages are exclusively sustainability-related.

Students also gain sustainability-related research experience during their semester abroad, and, in fact, all of the student abroad programs that count for Environmental Studies and Sciences and many that count for other programs (e.g., Biology, Geoscience, Anthropology, etc.), are required to have a sustainability-related research experience.

For additional specific examples of some student sustainability research, please see http://hudson2.skidmore.edu/wri/projects/year/index.php.


Does the institution have a program to encourage faculty from multiple disciplines or academic programs to conduct research in sustainability topics?:
Yes

A brief description of the faculty research program, including the incentives provided and any positive outcomes during the previous three years:

There are several programs that support and encourage faculty in sustainability-related research. We have summer collaborative research grants that support faculty/student teams, and each year, many of these projects are sustainability related (for example, projects last summer included work on renewable energy, ecotourism, and water and air quality). We also have faculty development grants that are meant to jump start and bridge faculty research, and, again, each year many of these awards are focused on sustainability. There are also funds available for conference attendance and conference presentations, and each year many of these are sustainability-related. In addition, we regularly secure institutional grants that support sustainability-related research across campus. Currently a $600,000 foundation grant, with an explicit focus on sustainability, is providing numerous research opportunities for faculty and students. We also participate in a 6-college consortium, and there is inter-institutional support for teaching and research. For example, there have been grants available over the past two years for collaborations around sustainability and human rights.

Also as noted earlier, in order to create stronger networks around sustainability, we are launching a series of lunch discussions for faculty and staff interested in teaching and/or conducting research at the intersections of: sustainability and justice, sustainability and business, sustainability and art, sustainability and food, and sustainability and science. Through these efforts, we will not only gain a more accurate picture of who is currently engaging in sustainability research but also broaden engagement by strengthening networks.


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?:
Yes

A brief description of the institution’s support for interdisciplinary, transdisciplinary, and multidisciplinary research, including any positive outcomes during the previous three years:

We are a liberal arts college that emphasizes interdisciplinarity in general - interdisciplinarity is truly part of the ethos of Skidmore. The emphasis and support for interdisciplinary research is evident in so many ways, including everything from interdisciplinary teaching and research initiatives to the establishment of interdisciplinary personnel committees to hire, mentor, and evaluate faculty and staff in interdisciplinary programs (e.g., the Environmental Studies and Sciences program). Our Committee on Appointments, Promotions, and Tenure is itself an interdisciplinary committee. These specific personnel committees and processes our outlined in several handbooks, including the Faculty Handbook for Skidmore.


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

A brief description of the institution’s library support for sustainability research, including any positive outcomes during the previous three years:

Our library is very responsive to developing staff and faculty interests and has supported our growing requests for sustainability-related teaching and research materials. We have access to sustainability-oriented databases, journals, etc. through our Scribner Library. One of many specific examples is the array of interdisciplinary materials the library purchased and displayed to support our Water Resources Initiative.

Another way our library has supported sustainability research in a very visible and concrete way is they have welcomed interdisciplinary spaces into the footprint of the building. Examples include our Geographic Information Systems Center and our Visual Forum Lab. Both spaces directly support a wide variety of sustainability teaching and research.


The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
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Additional documentation to support the submission:
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