Overall Rating Platinum
Overall Score 85.66
Liaison Mark Lichtenstein
Submission Date March 5, 2021

STARS v2.2

State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry
AC-2: Learning Outcomes

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 8.00 / 8.00 Justin Heavey
Sustainability Associate
Sustainability Office
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Has the institution adopted one or more sustainability learning outcomes that apply to the entire student body or, at minimum, to the institution's predominant student body?:

Which of the following best describes the sustainability learning outcomes?:

A list of the institution level sustainability learning outcomes:

College Wide Learning Outcomes

SUNY ESF’s college wide college learning outcomes (CLO’s) are concerned with six areas:

(1) Scientific Reasoning,
(2) Quantitative Reasoning,
(3) Basic Communication Skills,
(4) Technological and Information Literacy,
(5) Values, Ethics and Diverse Perspectives, and
(6) Critical Thinking.

Scientific Reasoning:

Students will be able to: demonstrate understanding of modern science and the implications of scientific discoveries, apply the scientific method, and use science to address contemporary problems.

Quantitative Reasoning:

Students will be able to effectively describe, interpret, apply, and evaluate quantitative information.


Students will be able to: formulate and present ideas that reflect critical thinking skills and show awareness of audience, context, and purpose, and present a well-developed argument.

Technological and Information Literacy:

Students will be able to: use critical thinking skills to determine the information needed to solve a problem, access information using appropriate technologies, and effectively and appropriately use information to accomplish a specific purpose.

Values, Ethics and Diverse Perspectives:

Students will be able to: demonstrate awareness of diverse cultures and values, recognize ethical issues in contemporary society, and apply ethical concepts in addressing diverse personal, professional, and societal settings.

Critical Thinking:

Students will be able to: identify, analyze, evaluate, and develop well-reasoned arguments. (Note: this area inherently overlaps outcomes in the prior areas.)

Total number of graduates from degree programs:

Number of graduates from degree programs that require an understanding of the concept of sustainability:

A brief description of how the figure above was determined:

Every degree program at ESF focuses on the environment, one of the three pillars of sustainability. Most degree programs also include a focus on human and economic dimensions as well.

Every graduate from an ESF degree program meets the credit criteria in understanding the concept of sustainability as demonstrated through at least one of the following:

1) Have been identified as a sustainability-focused program,

2) Have adopted sustainability-focused learning outcomes; or

3) Require a sustainability-focused course.

A list of ESF degree programs and descriptions is provided in these three categories.

A list of degree programs that require an understanding of the concept of sustainability:

Sustainability-focused Programs

Sustainability Management:

- Analyze the complex interactions among and between the three pillars of sustainability: the environment, the economy, and society with a focus on identifying areas of potential conflict / opportunity.
- Apply qualitative and quantitative skills appropriate to the sustainability field (e.g., energy modeling, budgeting, financial analysis, GIS, life cycle assessment, interviewing & surveying, environmental and risk communication).
- Analyze data and develop reports and presentations relevant to sustainability and its implementation (e.g., scientific publications, policy documents, sustainability indicators, public audience presentations).
- Work independently and collaboratively for effective and successful project and people management, communication, and to institutionalize sustainable practices.
- Apply knowledge of principles and best practices to the analysis of real-world sustainability problems in public, private and non-profit contexts.
- Develop solutions that balance the priorities of sustainable development, social equity and human nature interaction.

Sustainable Energy Management:

The Sustainable Energy Management (SEM) degree program combines management skills with an understanding of responsible energy resources use and the development of sustainable sources of energy (e.g., wind, solar, biomass, hydro, geothermal). The program provides students with an understanding of production and conversion of different forms of energy (e.g., fossil fuels, sustainable resources), their current and future supplies, and the markets and policy mechanisms that regulate their supply. Students learn tools to conduct analyses of the financial and environmental impacts of different sources of energy.

Sustainable Resources Management:

Since its inception in 1911 with the opening of the College, the Sustainable Resources Management Department at ESF has been central to the vision (Improve your world) and mission of the College and at the forefront of defining our professions related to managing natural and built systems. The mission of SRM is to advance understanding of current environmental issues through cutting edge research, education, and outreach, with a special focus on sustainably managing renewable, natural and constructed resources, including energy, forests, recreation, soils, water, and building materials, provide short- and long-term benefits with and for people.

Sustainable Engineering Management:

- Effectively practice engineering for the design and operation of systems in their particular area of Sustainable Engineering Management.
- Apply knowledge of business, management, policy, and other areas to their particular area of Sustainable Engineering Management.
- Obtain professional positions requiring a strong understanding of the knowledge and skills of the engineering profession.
- Be prepared to advance in the engineering profession and be successful in employment and academic opportunities.

Conservation Biology:

Conservation biology is the application of science to conserve the earth's imperiled species and ecosystems. Conservation biologists seek ways to integrate biological perspectives with social, economic, legislative and political ones to achieve conservation goals. After obtaining a foundation in basic science communication, and general education subjects, students learn the evolutionary and ecological forces that have generated the patterns of biodiversity around us, through courses in organismal biology, evolutionary and systematic biology, population biology, ecology and ecosystem science. An introductory course in conservation biology and one in problem solving in conservation biology familiarize students with the dimensions of the current biodiversity crisis and the management tools available to mitigate for it. These, in combination with a selection of advanced courses in conservation biology, a senior synthesis and an internship or research experience in conservation biology, cover the breadth of biological, social, political, and economic aspects of the biodiversity crisis.

Environmental Studies:

- Critical Thinking: demonstrate critical thinking skills in relation to environmental affairs.
- Communication: demonstrate knowledge and application of communication skills and the ability to write effectively in a variety of contexts.
- Interdisciplinary Synthesis: demonstrate an ability to integrate the many disciplines and fields that intersect with environmental concerns.
- Ecological Literacy: demonstrate an awareness, knowledge, and appreciation of the intrinsic values of ecological processes and communities.
- Sustainability: demonstrate an integrative approach to environmental issues with a focus on sustainability.

Renewable Materials Science:

The renewable materials science program educates students in the science of materials and products made from renewable resources. The program provides an in-depth knowledge of materials such as wood, paper, modern packaging materials, natural fiber materials and advanced materials emphasizing sustainability, environmental consciousness and minimizing environmental footprint.

Programs with sustainability-focused learning outcomes

Bioproccess Engineering:

- Prepares students for work in the emerging bioprocessing and biofuels industry to produce energy and related chemical products from renewable resources.
- Master a variety of subjects that are normally found in a chemical engineering program and supplement those studies with advanced courses specific to bioprocess engineering.
- Focus on the use of sustainable renewable biomass to replace petroleum in chemicals, pharmaceuticals, energy and industrial products in a sustainable manner.


- Using our varied specialties to find ways to improve our world
- Finding better ways to generate energy
- Discovering new, useful natural and synthetic materials
- Making better use of our natural resources
- Finding new medications and ways to deliver medicines
- Understanding natural processes and the impacts of human activities on our environment

Construction Management:

- Provide professional construction services that meet client needs while upholding the principles of sustainability as applied to the client’s project.
- Apply the proper use of construction materials in construction projects with consideration of sustainable construction; specify and procure materials that have the least adverse impact on the environment within project constraints and the construction contract; implement practices that can serve to better our environment such as best and most efficient use and reuse of materials, and development and use of alternative energy sources.
- Maintain currency in the field including requirements for the successful delivery of construction projects, rating systems for sustainable construction projects, awareness of new materials, codes, and construction law.
- Understand and promote stewardship of both the natural and the designed environments through best professional practice of sustainable construction management and engineering, and material utilization.
- Promote life-long learning in the profession.

Environmental Education and Interpretation:

- Teaches people of all ages about the natural environment, so that they can make informed decisions on how to care for it.
- Learn how to help people make connections with the natural world and science through educational programs and materials.
- Elucidate patterns and relationships in the natural world and assimilate this information into human affairs.
- Emphasize the value of education as the key to a sustainable future.

Environmental Health:

Environmental health focuses on the study of how people interact with their environment—the air and water around us, the plants and animals we encounter, and the workplaces and homes where we spend much of our lives. The field is broad, encompassing the direct effects of the environment on human health, and the factors that adversely affect the ecological balances essential to human health and environmental quality.

- Knowledgeable of examples of global, regional and local environmental problems and issues
- Competent to perform in a graduate education or entry-level work environment
- Sufficient knowledge base and tools to function effectively
- Ability to conceptualize environmental problems in terms of unifying principles
- Capable of utilizing a systems approach to problem solving
- Can communicate their ideas and expectations effectively

Environmental Science:

- Knowledgeable of examples of global, regional and local environmental problems and issues
- Competent to perform in a graduate education or entry-level work environment
- Sufficient knowledge base and tools to function effectively
- Ability to conceptualize environmental problems in terms of unifying principles
- Capable of utilizing a systems approach to problem solving
- Can communicate their ideas and expectations effectively

Natural Resources Management:

- Understand natural ecosystems
- Identify the major species, both flora and fauna, in a given area
- Describe relationships among flora and fauna including the biological and physical requirements
- Describe and analyze natural ecosystems
- Analyze how natural resources are managed
- Describe ways to change or maintain natural resources, ecosystem functions and biodiversity.
- Evaluate tradeoffs among biological sustainability, economic feasibility, and social acceptability with respect to alternative management options


- Application of biological organisms, cells, or molecules to produce a product or service for the betterment of humankind
- Application of biotechnology in solving environmental and natural resource problems
- Relate to biotechnology in natural systems
- Tackle environmental, natural resource, agricultural, or medical questions
- Elective breadth in the social sciences, humanities, and environmental studies

Programs that require one or more sustainability-focused courses

Aquatic and Fisheries Science:

Aquatic and fisheries science is the study of aquatic ecosystems to increase scientific understanding and to apply basic ecological principles to their management, thereby sustaining them for multiple uses.


Students build a strong foundation in general chemistry, general biology, physical, and organic chemistry prior to choosing directed and professional electives that will allow them the flexibility to pursue topics that will be relevant to their future career tracks in biochemistry, biotechnology, chemistry or health.

Environmental Biology:

Environmental biology is built around a core of required courses that provides a general education, a background in the principles of biological and physical science, and an orientation to natural resources and other environmental concerns.

Environmental Resources Engineering:

Students receive a well-balanced education, including courses that consider the social, economic, and environmental impacts of engineering practice, fundamental engineering and environmental engineering courses, and specialized courses that capture the breadth of their field of study. The ERE department is internationally recognized for coupling research and service, and many ERE courses address community needs.

Landscape Architecture :

Landscape architecture is a profession that ties together built, human-made structures and the natural environment. A landscape architect must consider not only what is best for the clients and users of a site, but also what is best for the environment. Humans have a large impact on the earth, and in many cases, this impact has been negative. Good design tries to consider what is good for the environment, in many ways trying to preserve and in some cases heal it, while creating designs that provide for the public's health, safety and welfare.

Wildlife Science:

Wildlife science is the application of ecological knowledge in a manner that strikes a balance between the needs of wildlife populations and the needs of people.

Documentation supporting the figure reported above (upload):

Do the figures reported above cover one, two, or three academic years?:

Percentage of students who graduate from programs that require an understanding of the concept of sustainability:

Website URL where information about the sustainability learning outcomes 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.