Overall Rating Silver - expired
Overall Score 51.50
Liaison Mike Harrington
Submission Date Aug. 6, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

The New School
AC-2: Learning Outcomes

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 3.01 / 8.00 Mike Harrington
Assistant Director
Tishman Environment & Design Center
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Total number of graduates from degree programs (i.e. majors, minors, concentrations, certificates, and other academic designations):

Number of students that graduate from programs that have adopted at least one sustainability learning outcome:

Percentage of students who graduate from programs that have adopted at least one sustainability learning outcome:

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

Does the institution specify sustainability learning outcomes at the institution level (e.g. covering all students)?:

Does the institution specify sustainability learning outcomes at the division level (e.g. covering particular schools or colleges within the institution)?:

A list or brief description of the institution level or division level sustainability learning outcomes:

All Parsons undergraduate students are required to take a foundational sustainability course - 'Sustainability Systems' - as part of their first year curriculum. From the syllabus: "This course is a required first year course that provides foundational understanding of the scientific and social issues related to the design of resilient urban futures. An understanding of the constraints, challenges, and opportunities presented by the need to design products, systems, and services that are more socially, environmentally and economically resilient is at the core of a Parsons education. This course is where that work begins."

Parsons Sustainable Systems Learning Outcomes:
- Respect diverse cultural attitudes regarding our ecological systems and an awareness for their relevance to creative practice through careful investigations and presentations that explore those diverse viewpoints.
- Exhibit awareness of moral and ethical problems related to sustainability by identifying assumptions and questionable goals underlying various strategies and points of view.
- Exhibit awareness of interrelationships within and between systems through self-directed study and documenting (writing and/or diagramming) examples as they relate to a given topic or question.
- Drive scientific inquiry, by conducting experiments and field investigations that test hypotheses, supporting or refuting particular creative propositions.
- Use analog and digital tools toward scientific methods of analysis by conducting and interpreting the results of experiments that use such tools; and develop creative work outcomes that explore various forms of material literacy that is informed by adjacent first year coursework
- Translate scientific thinking and knowledge into creative, sustainable, [measurable] solutions to ecological challenges, by presenting a cogent argument with supporting evidence (quantitative and qualitative)
- Evaluate and reflect on their creative works in relation to stated goals and values by clearly articulating the methods used for evaluating their creative solutions—quantitative and/or qualitative, “Why?” and “To what level of impact within a particular system of exchanges?”

Does the institution specify sustainability learning outcomes at the program level (i.e. majors, minors, concentrations, degrees, diplomas, certificates, and other academic designations)?:

A list or brief description of the program level sustainability learning outcomes (or a list of sustainability-focused programs):

From the New School's Environmental Policy and Sustainability Management M.S. program webpage: "The New School is at the forefront of addressing global environmental issues, thanks to Milano's Environmental Policy and Sustainability Management (EPSM) program. This program is designed to turn students' passion for environmental change and sustainability into careers with impact. Our students benefit from small, customized classes, a rigorous program of critical theory and practice, and close attention from a faculty engaged in research, scholarship, and cutting-edge professional practice. Our practice-based learning places students front and center alongside organizations working on the most pressing environmental issues of our time, from climate change and environmental justice to food systems and sustainable development."

Do course level sustainability learning outcomes contribute to the figure reported above (i.e. in the absence of program, division, or institution level learning outcomes)?:

A list or brief description of the course level sustainability learning outcomes and the programs for which the courses are required:

Learning about sustainability at The New School 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 negentropic (attempting wherever possible to stem the cosmic dissipation of energy into less concentrated and ordered forms)
a. Resilient (with redundancies and networking that can absorb unexpected impacts)
b. 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))
c. 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: long term planning that take account of variable scenarios and risks
a. Whole-of-life costing, internalizing environmental costs and restoration
b. Timely, authentic consultation with a wide set of stakeholders and communities
c. Accounts of humans that assume culturally-specific reasonableness constrained by socio-technical systems and routine everyday practices

The above figures include graduates from the following degree programs:
All Parsons undergraduate degree programs in addition to...
Masters in Architecture – Architecture
MS – Design and Urban Ecologies
MS - Environmental Policy and Sustainability Management
BA - Environmental Studies
BA – Food Studies
BS – Food Studies
BA – Global Studies
MFA – Industrial Design
MA – International Affairs
MFA – Lighting Design
MS – Strategic Design and Management
MA – Theories of Urban Practice
MFA – Transdisciplinary Design
BS – Urban Design

For each of these degree programs, there was at least one required sustainability course, as per the standards and terms outlined in AC 1.

The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:

Additional documentation to support the submission:

See attached excel spreadsheet for a breakdown of the number of graduates per degree program requiring a minimum of one sustainability course.

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.