Overall Rating Platinum - expired
Overall Score 88.00
Liaison Sam Lubow
Submission Date Feb. 22, 2019
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Stanford University
AC-1: Academic Courses

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 12.20 / 14.00 Moira Hafer
Sustainability Specialist
Office of Sustainability
"---" 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 3,792 2,275
Number of sustainability courses offered 57 336
Number of courses offered that include sustainability 142 603

Percentage of courses that are sustainability course offerings:

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

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

Percentage of academic departments with sustainability course offerings:

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?:

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 :

All courses offered in the 2017-18 school year were perused and sorted by title and course description into the categories of “Sustainability Focused,” “Includes Sustainability,” and courses unrelated to sustainability. Each course was critically evaluated on its relationship to the multidimensional goal of promoting sustainability on both local and global levels. The definition of “sustainability” used when identifying courses was as follows: having a focus on and concern for the healthy maintenance and development of society environmentally, economically, and socially. The course descriptions were the most important factor of classification; if sustainability was a primary focus of the course, such as Stanford's Human Society and Environmental Change (EARTHSYS 112) course, that course was listed as “Sustainability Focused.” Courses that have a strong social and/or economic sustainability component but not an environmental component, such as Stanford's Introduction to Geology (EARTHSYS 11) course, were listed as “Includes Sustainability." In some cases, faculty were contacted to find out more about the course to determine its proper designation.

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):

Staff worked closely with the university's Institutional Research and Decision Support (IR&DS) team to determine the best way to categorize the classes offered. In the totals above, one course is counted as any course offered during a single term within a single department. If a course was offered in multiple quarters, each of those offerings was counted as a single course. For instance, the course "Geokids: Earth Sciences Exploration" was offered in both Autumn quarter and Spring quarter of the 2017-18 academic year, so it was counted as two separate courses. Similarly, if the course is cross-listed under multiple departments, each section of that course was counted as a separate course within each department under which it is cross-listed. As an example, the course "Biology and Global Change" offered one section that was cross-listed under three separate departments, so it was counted as a total of three classes. These same principles were followed to count both courses that include sustainability and the total number of courses offered at Stanford in 2017-18.

In the attached sustainability course inventory, courses are only listed once even if they were cross-listed with multiple departments or were offered in multiple quarters. Thus, not all occurrences of each course are listed in the inventory. However, classes that are cross-listed under multiple departments have a note in their course titles indicating the other departments and course numbers under which that same course is listed. Taking these nuances into account, there are a total of 605 classes listed on the attached inventory, while the total tallied in the numeric fields of this credit (according to the methodology described above) is 1,138 courses that are either sustainability-focused or include sustainability.

Staff also worked with IR&DS to determine the number of internships, practicums, independent study, thesis/dissertation and special topics classes offered for credit; classes with enrollment of four or fewer; physical education classes; performance art classes; and clinical courses. Ultimately, all of these course types were removed from the inventory in 2017-18. In prior submissions, some of these courses were included, which accounts for the overall decrease in both the number of sustainability classes and the total number of classes counted in this submission compared to prior submissions. The rationale behind this shift was that independent study courses and internships are quite dependent on the interests of the student, so it is difficult to determine their exact content.

Finally, undergraduate courses are identified as any course with a course number of 0 to 199, while graduate courses are identified as any course with a 200-level course number or above. However, at Stanford, there is significant overlap between undergraduate and graduate enrollment in many courses.

This detailed analytic process was performed very carefully and with the input of many campus stakeholders, including Stanford faculty, in order to ensure utmost accuracy. Based on this thorough process, Stanford feels confident that it generated the most accurate and complete list possible of sustainability courses and courses that include sustainability at the university.

Are the following course types included in the inventory? :
Yes (included) or No (not included)
Internships No
Practicums No
Independent study No
Special topics No
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:

Data source(s) and notes about 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 or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.