Overall Rating Silver - expired
Overall Score 53.09
Liaison DeLayne Miller
Submission Date Dec. 18, 2019
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Tennessee Technological University
AC-10: Support for Research

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 3.00 / 4.00
"---" 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 research in sustainability? :

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

The Office of Sustainability provides funding for student research that is sustainability related. Students may fill out a proposal form for the Sustainable Campus Committee to review, and the SCC will either approve the request with no changes, approve the request with amendments, or may not approve the request.

The Center for Energy Systems Research (CESR) provides an opportunity for students through REU-IREST (Research Experiences for Undergraduates- Immersive Research in Energy generation, Storage/conversion and power Transmission). https://www.tntech.edu/engineering/pdf/cesr/reu2018poster.pdf REU-IREST offers the following incentives: $5,000 stipend for 10 weeks, on-campus housing, food allowance, round-trip travel expenses up to $500, and research supplies up to $400.

TTU Water Center; Center for the Management, Utilization & Protection of Water Resources - The goals of the Center are to enhance research by addressing diverse water-related problems in Tennessee, the nation and the world; to enhance educational opportunities through research, university instruction and educational outreach; and to enhance citizens’ quality of life by providing technical assistance and technology transfer to peers, citizens and industry. Without students, the Water Center could not continue to engage in its research initiatives. Therefore, the Center strives to ensure that its students are off ered the most cutting-edge opportunities in environmental research. This fiscal year (FY19), the Center supported 28 graduate research assistants. The Center also supported 85 students on an hourly basis to work on research and service projects in the field, in laboratories and in the office.

Furthermore, the Creative Inquiry Summer Experience (CISE) program is available to students as well. This program provides up to $4,000 (per student) in funding for summer student research under a faculty mentor. Many of the students who participate in CISE focus their research on sustainability. Some of the summer 2019 projects included: examining microplastics in our watershed, tracking Tennessee squirrel populations, and collecting stormwater data to aid a local, underserved community.

Students are also given the opportunity to participate in Posters at the Capitol to showcase their sustainability research. The stated goals of this event are to: (1) expose legislators to undergraduate researchers and (2) to expose undergraduates to their legislators. This is a great opportunity for our students to see how their State Representatives work. 2018 participant Anna Web attended and presented her research on bat genome sequencing. https://www.tntech.edu/provost/posters.php

The Center for Manufacturing Research (CMR) strives to support and enhance Tennessee manufacturing. The CMR focuses on several research, education and outreach areas: Advanced Manufacturing focuses on improving manufacturing processes and methodology through the innovative application of technologies to product design and production; Materials for Energy Storage and Conversion addresses the need to develop the material for next generation of energy storage/conversion devices and energy efficiency technologies; Networking and Algorithms for Big Data offers changing opportunities to assist advanced manufacturing in use of sensors and automation in large networks and Big Data in manufacturing processes; Industry Support provides Tennessee manufacturers with technical expertise in problem-solving challenges faced in materials, design, testing, and processes; Education and Outreach efforts enhance the Tennessee workforce development and outreach
in the CMR’s research areas in addition to such other activities as energy efficiency, waste reduction, and productivity improvements. CMR supported 46 graduate students during the past FY. CMR supported a total of 53 undergraduate students during this past fiscal year from both State Appropriations and externally funded projects. An extension of this center is the Industrial Assessment Center (IAC). The IAC assists small- and medium-sized manufacturers in saving energy and reducing waste. Due to its significant contribution, the IAC was awarded the 2018 Center of Excellence by the U.S. Department of Energy, which places the IAC as the top-ranking center out of 28 such centers nationwide. In twelve years, 211 assessments have been performed by the students and faculty for companies of all sizes and industries in and around Tennessee, with total implemented savings of $8.5 million. One hundred and fifty-nine students
have participated in the IAC with 55 receiving DOE certification in the program. This past year, the IAC began offering additional services such as water and wastewater assessments, consulting in Smart Manufacturing, ISO 50001 energy management systems, and cybersecurity assessments in collaboration with the Cybersecurity Education, Research, and Outreach Center (CEROC) at Tennessee Tech.

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

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

The Center for the Management, Utilization & Protection of Water Resources incentive includes potential funding to pursue related research. The Center's interim director Professor Justin Murdock along with Professor Alfred Kalyanapu recently received a $1.957 million grant from United States Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA NRCS). Implemented in partnership with The Nature Conservancy, the funding will allow researchers to assess nutrient removal abilities of restored wetlands within agricultural watersheds in Tennessee and Kentucky. The grant will also support four Ph.D. students and other researchers at Tech during the four-year investigation. https://www.tntech.edu/research/featuredresearchers/index.php

The Center for Energy Systems Research incentive includes potential funding to pursue related research as well. During the past year, CESR associated faculty and students published 50 journal papers 79 proceedings/conference presentations, contributed to 4 book chapters, applied for 1 patent and contributed to 2 Standards.

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

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

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

Located on the third floor of the Angelo and Jennette Volpe Library is the iCube. The iCube provides a place for students and faculty to imagine, inspire, and innovate, using immersive reality technologies in a three- dimensional environment. This space is a learning tool that has taught students about river ecosystem conservation as well as alternate energy sources. The iMakerspace is also located on the third floor of the library and it offers 3D printers that are used in research for our Environmental engineering students and professors. They also provide recycling bins for botched projects so that the filament can be reconstrued and re-used by the students.

A positive outcome includes the iCube's development of visitors app for the Tennessee Aquarium, available for download in both the iTunes and Google Play stores. The app allows visitors to learn more about the exhibits and animals within them, view schedules for special events, and share their experience with friends and family via social media. This first successful project with the Tennessee Aquarium won a gold Horizon Award in the educational mobile apps category, and led to the center's involvement in a second project: animal tracking. https://www.tntech.edu/icube/projects/aquarium.php
The iCube also worked with the educational and promotional team at the Aquarium, and brought Environmental Science students, educators, artists, and programmers on campus together to create River Ecosystem Conservation, an educational adventure through a stream with indicator species modeled after the Conasauga River. Using the Oculus Rift head mounted display, students at the Aquarium, and players at home via the WEARVR website, are able to be completely immersed in a river as they watch pollution impact the underwater ecosystem, then make decisions on how to solve the polluting problems. The story of this game’s creation and educational application has been publicized in the Chattanooga Times Free Press, The Atlantic, and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums CONNECT magazine.

Additionally, during Campus Sustainability month in 2019, Library staff displayed a sustainability focused bookshelf at the entrance. It featured many of the books and films available within the library.

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

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