Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 77.90
Liaison Katie Maynard
Submission Date March 4, 2021

STARS v2.2

University of California, Santa Barbara
AC-9: Research and Scholarship

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 11.85 / 12.00 Katie Maynard
Sustainability Coordinator
Geography & Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Total number of employees that conduct research:

Number of employees engaged in sustainability research:

Percentage of employees that conduct research that are engaged in sustainability research:

Total number of academic departments that include at least one employee who conducts research:

Number of academic departments that include at least one employee who conducts sustainability research:

Percentage of departments that conduct research that are engaged in sustainability research:

A copy of the inventory of the institution’s sustainability research (upload):
Inventory of the institution’s sustainability research:
Please see attached inventory.

A brief description of the methodology the institution followed to complete the research inventory:
For the purposes of reporting to STARS, UCSB’s definition of research that relates to or has research applications/implications related to sustainability includes research which:

1) Seeks to better explain the dynamic functionality of and history of earth’s systems as they may affect humans;
2) Seeks to better explain the relationship between humans and the environment;
3) Seeks to better explain human impacts on the natural environment;
4) Seeks to better explain the effect of environmental issues on humans or society more broadly;
5) Explores and responds to the relationship between humans and the natural environment through art and culture; and/or
6) Develops innovative solutions through practice, technology, or artistic expression regarding an issue affecting the environment and our relationship to it.

The majority of research at UC Santa Barbara is foundational in nature. Due to this, we often needed to look at the potential applications or implications of the research to discern the connection to sustainability.

We only included research that included an environmental component. Research that only addressed social justice and economic aspects of sustainability were not included.

We did not include research focused on understanding how ecosystems or organisms function if there was no explicit connection to an environmental issue. If the ecological research investigated issues of restoration, human impacts, remediation, etc. we did count it.

We included creative activities of fine arts and humanities faculty, as well as articles and publications. We sought “substantial” projects, including both grant-funded projects and non-funded projects. For publications and ongoing experiments, we included “in progress” work.

Research that addressed cultural relationships with the natural environment was included. For example, we included research that addressed how the environment has been represented in literature over time, especially if the faculty linked the research to how this change in perception might have affected the way society treats the environment.

In some of the cases we looked at, the researcher had not been conducting research with the primary objective of solving a sustainable challenge, but a sustainability innovation occurred as a “side effect.” For instance, the researcher might be developing a new technology with the goal of creating a faster computer chip. If the innovation was also significantly more energy efficient than the current technology on the market, we counted it.

Process for evaluating which research to include:
We developed an initial list of researchers that we thought might be conducting sustainability related research (see process for identifying researchers below.) That list was divided amongst a group of student interns and sustainability staff. Each person then reviewed material online about their researchers and contacted them for more information and eventual verification of the research description. In cases in which the answer appeared obvious and where the researcher did not object to the description, these cases were not further evaluated. For those cases where the judgment was unclear, however, the intern/staff member assigned to that researcher would bring the case to the group of evaluators working on this area of STARS to be debated. Any time a faculty member thought that their research was not related to sustainability, we did not include it, regardless of the intern's/staff member's opinion of its relation. This arose, for instance, with researchers that we believed worked on climate change, but who did not want to be listed as a “climate change” researcher for fear that this would make them appear biased in their research.

Who to include:
We included all researchers that are eligible to be a principal investigator on our campus. This includes professional research staff, lecturers with security of employment, faculty, and several other categories. We did not include graduate students who are not eligible to be a principal investigator because we did not feel that we could collect accurate data in a timely manner.

For academic departments, we included only academic departments as defined in AC-1. We did not include solely research centers or institutes in our denominator.

Process for identifying researchers:
Since we have reported to STARS before, we started our process for identifying researchers this year by looking at our list of researchers from our previous submission and contacting them to verify and update current research. We also did a campus-wide survey of faculty and researchers and asked them directly if they did research related to sustainability. In the survey, we collected descriptions of their research. Most of the descriptions from the survey were too brief for us to include in the final report; however, we collected leads to follow up on. The Office of Research's website was also helpful because it included news articles and announcements of grants, awards, and recognition of faculty accomplishments. Departmental and faculty websites were also reviewed. Lastly, we contacted research unit and center directors and department chairs in order to verify that the list we had for that department or research center/unit was accurate and complete. This step was particularly helpful for ensuring we were including the appropriate non-faculty researchers who are eligible to be principal investigators.

Website URL where information about the institution’s sustainability research is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

Data source(s) and notes about the submission:
The following departments were not included in the count of departments because they do limited amounts of or no research:
• English as a Second Language
• Military Science (ROTC)
• Interdisciplinary Courses
• Interdisciplinary Studies

We also did not include Global Peace and Security (PROGRAM) because there was so much overlap with the Global and International Studies Department.

We did include these departments in the denominator:
Asian American Studies
Biomolecular Science and Engineering
Black Studies
Bren School of Environmental Science & Management
Chemical Engineering
Chemistry and Biochemistry
Chicano Studies
Computer Science
Earth Science (formerly Geological Sciences)
East Asian Languages and Cultural Studies
Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology
Electrical and Computer Engineering
Environmental Studies Program
Feminist Studies
Film and Media Studies
French and Italian
Germanic, Slavic, and Semitic Studies
Gevirtz Graduate School of Education; Department of Counseling, Clinical, and School Psychology
Gevirtz Graduate School of Education; Department of Education
Global & International Studies
History of Art and Architecture
Islamic and Near Eastern Studies Program
Jewish Studies Program
Latin American and Iberian Studies Program
Mechanical and Environmental Engineering
Media Arts and Technology
Medieval Studies Program
Middle East Studies
Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology
Political Science
Psychological & Brain Sciences
Religious Studies
Renaissance Studies Program
Spanish and Portuguese
Speech and Hearing Sciences Department
Statistics and Applied Probability
Theater and Dance

For the numerator, these departments were counted:
Black Studies
Chemical Engineering,
Chemistry and Biochemistry
Chicano Studies
Comparative Literature
Computer Science
Earth Science
East Asian Languages and Cultural Studies,
Ecology, Evolution & Marine Biology
Electrical & Computer Engineering
Environmental Studies
Feminist Studies
French and Italian
Global Studies
History of Art and Architecture
International Studies
Latin American and Iberian Studies
Mechanical Engineering
Middle East Studies
Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology
Political Science
Religious Studies

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.