Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 79.54
Liaison Kelli O'Day
Submission Date June 20, 2023

STARS v2.2

University of California, Davis
AC-6: Sustainability Literacy Assessment

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.00 / 4.00 Kelli O'Day
Assessment Program Manager
Office of Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

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

Which of the following best describes the literacy assessment? The assessment is administered to::
A subset of students or a sample that may not be representative of the predominant student body

Which of the following best describes the structure of the assessment? The assessment is administered as a::
Standalone evaluation without a follow-up assessment of the same cohort or representative samples

A copy of the questions included in the sustainability literacy assessment(s):

A list or sample of the questions included in the sustainability literacy assessment or the website URL where the assessment tool may be found:

1. What is “sustainable development”? (Give two definitions: the Brundtland definition plus your own.)

2. What three mental approaches do sustainability professionals use that are different from business as-usual mindsets?

3. What have been four main perspectives on the sustainability discourse historically, and some different priorities of each group?

4. What are the Sustainable Development Goals, what time period do they address, and why are they important?

5. How might a community measure progress toward sustainability? Be as specific as possible about good ways to do this.

6. What are some ways the public sector could respond to the affordable housing crisis? Name at least four, and be specific about which level of government might do each.

7. What might be some ways to incorporate social equity into sustainability strategies? Provide a couple of examples.

8. What are zoning codes, some ways they work against sustainability currently, and some ways they might better support it in the future?

9. What is environmental justice and some main strategies to ensure it?

10. How has transportation planning changed in recent decades so as to be more responsive to sustainability, both philosophically and practically?

11. Who are some typical stakeholder groups in a local community, and what are some values that each might hold?

12. What are some pros and cons of green rating systems such as LEED?

13. Name five methods of public participation in urban planning and design, and some pros and cons of each

14. What are the main sources of greenhouse gases in California, and leading strategies to reduce them?

15. What are the three main sectors of society, and some strengths and weaknesses of each in terms of bringing about sustainability?

16. What are at least five of the green building strategies that we saw during our tour of Parkview Commons?

SHORT ESSAY 1 (15 Points): How might we best establish sustainability priorities for a particular project (a design/development project, a program, a policy, an organizing campaign, etc.) in a particular place? Discuss some steps for establishing these priorities, and illustrate your process with an example (real or hypothetical).

A brief description of how the literacy assessment was developed and/or when it was adopted:

This is a stand-alone exam used for the LDA 142: Applying Sustainable Strategies course. Professor Steve Wheeler has at times conducted before- and after-course surveys of students in LDA 142, but does not find them particularly useful. Student self-assessments on sustainability knowledge sometimes go down after the course, as students realize they don't know as much about the concept of sustainability or ways of applying it as they thought they did.

A brief description of how a representative sample was reached (if applicable) and how the assessment(s) were administered :

The Sustainable Environmental Design major includes very specific sustainability-focused learning objectives, and includes a final exam given within the capstone course LDA 142 Applying Sustainable Strategies. Prof. Wheeler has had extensive correspondence with the Sulitest organization, but that test has numerous problems and there still does not seem to be a strong international standard means of evaluating sustainability literacy.

A brief summary of results from the literacy assessment(s):

For the LDA 142 course, students are graded on their exam results. Performance varies from class to class.

Website URL where information about the sustainability literacy assessment is available:

Additional documentation to support the submission:

Cora Ballek, student employee in the UC Davis Office of Sustainability, and Prof. Stephen Wheeler, Department of Human Ecology, assisted in compiling this credit response.

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.