Overall Rating Expired
Overall Score Expired
Liaison Molly Johnson
Submission Date Aug. 17, 2011
Executive Letter Download

STARS v1.0

The New School
ER-5: Sustainability Course Identification

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete Expired Cameron Tonkinwise
Chair, Design & Management
School of Design Strategies, Parsons
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Has the institution developed a definition of sustainability in the curriculum?:
Yes

A copy of the institution's definition of sustainability in the curriculum?:

Sustainability names a concern for the quality of the future that is likely to result from the structure of societies today.

That concern can be widespread, extending from a concern for evolutionary viability of particular non-human species to issues of the equity of access to resources of different human communities.

The New School has a long-standing commitment to engaged learning in contexts of social justice. As a result, STARS is being used by The New School as means to develop new areas of curriculum and research.

For 2010-11, The New School is defining sustainability as a concern about future generations’ equitable access to complex materials, dense energy sources, clean air and water, when a diversity of non-human species also depend upon all those for their well-being.

Learning about sustainability involves understanding:
1) rationales for concern about sustainability, such as valuing
a.being precautionary (by limiting the extent of what is done or ensuring its reversibility)
b.equity (across peoples of different race and culture and between current and future generations)
c.a diversity of non-human species and the uniqueness of places
d.democratic principles of transparency and inclusiveness

2) qualities of sustainable systems, such as natural ecosystems, that tend to be
a.negentropic (attempting wherever possible to stem the cosmic dissipation of energy into less concentrated and ordered forms)
b.resilient (with redundancies and networking that can absorb unexpected impacts)
c.biocompatible (with outputs that can be non-destructive inputs to mostly non-human (i.e. ‘natural’) systems, or non-interfering of those systems (i.e., valuable inputs to subsequent industrial systems))
d.dematerializing (decoupling demand satisfaction and value creation from material resource consumption)

3) capacities of institutions and communities to prioritize those rationales and qualities, by incorporating
a.scientifically-produced knowledge into decision-making
b.long term planning that take account of variable scenarios and risks
c.whole-of-life costing, internalizing environmental costs and restoration
d.timely, authentic consultation with a wide set of stakeholders and communities
e.accounts of humans that assume culturally-specific reasonableness constrained by socio-technical systems and routine everyday practices

Sustainability-focused courses have assessment tasks that involve two of the three parts of the definition above. Sustainability-related courses have assessment tasks that involve one of the three parts of the definition above.


Has the institution identified its sustainability-focused and sustainability-related course offerings?:
Yes

A brief description of the methodology the institution followed to complete the inventory:

A definition of sustainability-related and –focused courses was developed by the Parsons Committee on Sustainability. This definition was reviewed by the university-wide Sustainability Advisory Committee's Education Working Group.

A faculty team then coded courses according to the definition of sustainability and the resulting codings were reviewed by the Sustainability Advisory Committee. This methodology was reviewed by the University Curriculum Committee.


Does the institution make its sustainability course inventory publicly available online?:
Yes

The website URL where the sustainability course inventory is posted:

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.