Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 58.21
Liaison Jeannie Matheison
Submission Date Feb. 27, 2019
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

University of Idaho
AC-10: Support for Research

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Kayla Bordelon
Sustainability & Student Engagement Coordinator
Sustainability Center
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have an ongoing program to encourage students in multiple disciplines or academic programs to conduct research in sustainability? :

A brief description of the student research program, including the incentives provided and any positive outcomes during the previous three years:

The University of Idaho participates in the National Science Foundation’s Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) Program. The current IGERT grant program is titled: “Adaptation to change in water resources: science to inform decision-making across disciplines, cultures and scales.” The project supports 24 doctoral students who work in interdisciplinary teams. Faculty participants include members from seven colleges and 12 departments/programs at the University of Idaho and four institutions in Chile and Canada.

Does the institution have a program to encourage faculty from multiple disciplines or academic programs to conduct research in sustainability topics?:

A brief description of the faculty research program, including the incentives provided and any positive outcomes during the previous three years:

In the Confluence Lab, faculty members from the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences share research questions and theories, documents, and texts to study how emotions influence Idahoans’ relationship to their environments and hinder shared plans for a future that is better for their communities, the state, and the planet. The Confluence Lab provides interested scholars a vital meeting place on campus in which to share our work and opportunities to apply for grants as part of a larger collective. Phase One of the Confluence Lab (Spring 2019) entails a seminar series that will identify key lab members and potential future projects. In Phase Two (Fall 2019-Spring 2020), lab members will seek major external grants to fund the project ideas that emerge during Phase One.
In the longer term (Phase Three), lab members will execute collaborative projects that focus on contested and emotionally fraught environmental issues in our state. Potential outcomes of the lab could include: pedagogical innovations for teaching emotionally charged environmental issues across a range of disciplines (including enhanced K-12 programs through the McCall Field Station/MOSS); climate visualization projects that use storytelling and art/design methods to change the narrative of climate change in Idaho; interviews and surveys that code emotional responses to environmental problems in Idaho, especially among rural and tribal populations; workshops to enhance communication through philosophically structured dialogue using the award-winning Toolbox Dialogue initiative; and the production of short video news stories and co-authored articles for regional news sources, such as The Idaho Statesman, Evergreen Magazine and High Country News.

Has the institution published written policies and procedures that give positive recognition to interdisciplinary, transdisciplinary, and multidisciplinary research during faculty promotion and/or tenure decisions?:

A brief description of the institution’s support for interdisciplinary, transdisciplinary, and multidisciplinary research, including any positive outcomes during the previous three years:

The University of Idaho has integrated interdisciplinary work into its annual performance evaluation and tenure and promotion processes. Faculty-Staff Handbook (FSH) 1565, the university’s primary policy regarding faculty ranks and responsibilities, defines the term interdisciplinary as: “an activity that involves teams or individuals that integrates information, data, techniques, tools, perspectives, concepts, and/or theories from two or more disciplines or bodies of specialized knowledge to advance fundamental understanding or to solve problems whose solutions are beyond the scope of a single discipline or field of research practice.” The policy then provides that interdisciplinary work may be considered in each of the primary faculty areas of responsibility (teaching and advising, scholarship and creative activity, outreach and engagement, and university service and leadership.

Pursuant to FSH 3050, Faculty Position Descriptions are directly tied to the areas of responsibility. Faculty participate in the drafting of position descriptions and are able to initiate revisions to reflect the work in which they are actually engaged. The annual performance evaluation process (FSH 3320) is tied to the areas of responsibility and the position description. The policy specifically provides for the participation of supervisors in interdisciplinary fields in which the faculty member is active.

Finally in the context of tenure and promotion, FSH 3520 (tenure) and 3560 (promotions) provide for the direct participation of colleagues, supervisors and peers in interdisciplinary fields in which the faculty member is active.

Does the institution have ongoing library support for sustainability research and learning?:

A brief description of the institution’s library support for sustainability research, including any positive outcomes during the previous three years:

We provide research guides on a variety of topics that cover aspects of sustainability, including research in the environmental sciences and society/environment interface. We also explicitly maintain collection management policies to acquire or license journals, books, and other resources that cover sustainability-associated topics, with regular purchases annually. GIS software for the UI community is managed by the UI Library, including in support of students and faculty performing spatial analysis on sustainability-related topics. Librarians have taught information literacy sessions in support of sustainability research in at least 5 courses per semester, including some specifically on resources for performing life cycle assessments and studying carbon offset policies in local communities.

The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

Library: Jeremy Kenyon, Interim Head General Library

Inter-, Trans- and Multi-Disciplinary Research: Elizabeth Barker Brandt, James E. Wilson Distinguished Professor and Policy Coordinator and Faculty Secretary

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.