Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 69.15
Liaison Mary Ellen Mallia
Submission Date Feb. 27, 2023

STARS v2.2

University at Albany
AC-6: Sustainability Literacy Assessment

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Mary Ellen Mallia
Director of Environmental Sustainability
Finance and Business
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution conduct an assessment of the sustainability literacy of its students?:
Yes

Which of the following best describes the literacy assessment? The assessment is administered to::
The entire (or predominate) student body, directly or by representative sample

Which of the following best describes the structure of the assessment? The assessment is administered as a::
Pre- and post-assessment to the same cohort or to representative samples in both a pre- and post-test

A copy of the questions included in the sustainability literacy assessment(s):
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A list or sample of the questions included in the sustainability literacy assessment or the website URL where the assessment tool may be found:
We embedded the Sustainability Education Consortium questions (with permission) into our Sustainability Knowledge, Attitudes and Behavior Survey that was administered in Fall 2018 and scheduled to be distributed again in February 2023 (delayed due to COVID). A copy of the survey is attached below. Questions #5 - 9 are the Sustainability Education Consortium questions. The 2023 survey will also include an additional knowledge question, posed in the form of a Likert scale.
Please choose your level of agreement with each statement below (strongly agree, agree, somewhat agree, neither agree or disagree, somewhat disagree, disagree, strongly disagree)
Most climate scientists believe that climate change is happening
Human behavior plays a significant part in climate change
Climate and Weather mean pretty much the same thing
Climate change is a threat to humans and to the natural environment
The amount of high quality, fertile land for growing food products, worldwide, is constantly decreasing
Abuses of the environment disproportionately diminish the lives of the poor

A brief description of how the literacy assessment was developed and/or when it was adopted:
Since its formation in 2011, more than 40 institutions have participated in the Sustainability Education Consortium. The consortium added 20 questions to assess engagement in sustainability education across the curriculum to develop a user-friendly assessment system for sustainability education. With these results, institutions could (a) acquire a cross-institution data set on students’ engagement with aspects of sustainability, (b) assess institutional strengths and weaknesses with respect to sustainability education compared to peers, and (c) provide one source of assessment data for the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education’s (AASHE) education initiative. The Likert scale question was developed from a survey discussed in this scholarly publication: http://www.jsedimensions.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Overmille-Atwood-JSE-Vol-7-Dec-2014.pdf

A brief description of how a representative sample was reached (if applicable) and how the assessment(s) were administered :
The assessment was (and will be) administered by the Office of Institutional Research. A random sample of approximately 1/3 of the undergraduate student population (4,000 students) and approximately 1/3 of the graduate student population (1,500 students) was selected. For the faculty/staff sample, a random sample of approximately ½ of UAlbany funded faculty/staff (1,000 faculty/staff) and ½ of Research Foundation funded staff (236 staff) was selected.

A brief summary of results from the literacy assessment(s):
From the 2018 survey, most students (70%) report never having done an assignment that evaluates the sustainability of an activity. 30% report that they often complete assignments that evaluate the impact on future generations and 35% report that they have never done so. Most have also not participated in a campus or community sustainability project (62%) or gone on a field trip to their bioregion (70%). Students report some emphasis in classes on the following subjects: taking responsibility for the welfare of their communities, learning about sustainability, understanding local economies/ecosystems, articulating a just and sustainable society, understanding the economic dimensions of sustainability and acquiring skills to help organizations become more sustainable. They report more experience with understanding the consequences of choices and issues of social justice.

Website URL where information about the sustainability literacy assessment is available:
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Additional documentation to support the submission:
Data source(s) and notes about the submission:
The Sustainability Knowledge, Attitudes and Behavior survey distribution was delayed due to COVID impacts. The survey assessment described above is from our 2018 distribution. The 2023 survey administration is taking place in February-March 2023. It will follow the same methodology and distribution as our previous survey.

The Sustainability Knowledge, Attitudes and Behavior survey distribution was delayed due to COVID impacts. The survey assessment described above is from our 2018 distribution. The 2023 survey administration is taking place in February-March 2023. It will follow the same methodology and distribution as our previous survey.

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.