Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 68.45
Liaison Justin Mog
Submission Date March 4, 2022

STARS v2.2

University of Louisville
AC-6: Sustainability Literacy Assessment

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Emily Spoden
Office of Institutional Effectiveness
"---" 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::
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):
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. Of the following choices, which is the more sustainable option?
For each of the following, please select the appropriate circle indicating which of the two options you consider to be more sustainable.
- Public Transit or Electric Vehicle?
- Reducing or reusing or recycling?
- Disposable water bottle made from recycled materials or reusable water bottle?
- Hot showers (greater than 70° F) or cold showers (less than 70° F)?
- Doing laundry in hot water or doing laundry in cold water?
- Riding bicycles for fun or driving cars for fun?
- Buying new clothes made from recycled materials or buying second-hand clothes?
- Getting involved in local grassroots movements or donating money to national organizations?

2. Do scientists generally agree that global-warming trends are due to human activities?

3. Which of the following is currently the larger source of UofL's greenhouse gas emissions?
Purchased electricity
Daily commuters
Air travel

4. Which of the following is likely the least sustainable use for plastics?
Reusable personal
Recyclable single-use
Non-recyclable building material

5. Which of the following is not a sustainability challenge in the city of Louisville?
Racial segregation
Access to clean drinking water
Urban heat-island effect
Automobile dependency
Food deserts

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

In an effort to gauge our campus community's literacy and culture with respect to sustainability, UofL began rigorously assessing students, faculty, and staff during the 2021-22 academic year. The UofL Sustainability Council collaborated with student interns and Institutional Research to develop, pre-test (summer 2021), and fully launch an annual assessment of a representative sample of the entire UofL community. In 2022, the survey was sent to a total of 5,971 faculty, staff, and students on 1/19/22 and the survey closed on 2/2/22.

Find a copy of our Sustainability Literacy & Culture Assessment instrument here
Summer 2021 Pilot results are available as a summary report here.
Spring 2022 results are available via online dashboard here, or as a summary report here.

One of the Council's Sustainability Assessment Interns, Klemmer Nicodemus, applied for a grant during the summer of 2021 for funding to develop and pre-test a sustainability literacy & culture survey instrument which he wrote with the help of Graduate Assistant James Joyce and UofL's Assistant to the Provost for Sustainability Initiatives, Dr. Justin Mog. The development and pretesting of the survey entailed many iterations of writing questions, providing carefully articulated answers, and administering the survey both in-person and online to fellow students and faculty/staff.

The instrument was intended to ask two types of questions - those which would test one's literacy and those which would test one's habits and opinions (culture) of campus sustainability. The survey was written to have an even split of questions related to literacy and culture - as to gather the most information about our campus community as possible with minimal surveying.

There were three main administration phases of this assessment, creating an assessment that will be re-administered every year for the foreseeable future that will measure growth and change of campus sustainability literacy and culture. The first phase of testing was essential to the development of the instrument we use today; this was when the student intern held in-person meetings with peers and faculty in which he was able to see the reactions that the respondent had to the questions - were the questions too complex, too simple, or just not relevant? Through engaging peers and mentors, the student intern was able to receive a range of opinions on the instrument and how it may bet develop.

The next phase came in the form of an online pre-test in which a sample audience of 200 university community members were sent the survey and encouraged to provide constructive feedback. UofL faculty and staff were under-sampled and students over-sampled to compensate for the response tendencies during summer semesters. This pre-test had a 10% response rate and was used to further refine the instrument and prepare it to be sent to a larger, more representative population of the University community. In the spring of 2022, the instrument was administered to nearly 30 times the sample size as the pre-test - reaching a much wider audience and pulling a more representative measure of the campus' sustainability literacy and culture! The team behind this survey were extremely excited at the opportunity to quantify our campus community's knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors with respect to sustainability; and to help improve future sustainability initiatives by addressing the greatest needs identified in this assessment.

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

The Office of Institutional Effectiveness drew the sample and administered the survey using an online platform, with participants notified via email, with two follow-up reminders. A representative sample was reached through random sampling of the entire population of undergraduate students, graduate students, faculty, and staff. Sufficiently large sample sizes of each of those populations were used to get a statistically representative sample size for each group. Out of a total campus population of roughly 30,000, we sampled 5,971 faculty, staff, and students.

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

Following the answer provided above, brief summaries of the literacy assessment are as follows.
The first phase of administration - yielded interactions that displayed the need for more clarity in the wording of some questions and their answers. Showed that respondents had a basic understanding of sustainable practices.
The second phase of administration - showed that clarity had been improved and the survey had a better ability to gauge a respondent's sustainability literacy. Respondents tended to have a decent understanding of sustainability efforts but there could certainly be efforts made on campus to educate the general populous on sustainability topics in a better more holistic way. The action steps moving forward based on the results would be to readminister the survey after a number of educational efforts had been made around campus and see if this would increase general sustainability literacy or if those who engage in educational efforts are the same which already display a high level of understanding.
The third phase of administration is how we as a university can begin establishing a pre- and post-assessment of our community that may track how sustainability literacy levels grow during one's time involved in the institution. The first iteration of a "post assessment" (and third phase of administration) came in Spring of 2022. The survey was sent to nearly 6000 University of Louisville community members with a response rate of roughly 7%. The results displayed a tendency for our community to understand general sustainability concepts but lacked literacy in sustainability as it related to the campus community and the University of Louisville. This will help inform the Campus Sustainability Administration on how to best tailor their programs for growth in the future! A full report of the raw data as well as access to a Power BI breakdown of the responses is available upon request!

Website URL where information about the sustainability literacy assessment is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

The document supplied in "Optional Fields" summarizes the objective, methods, and results/findings of the first two phases of survey administration. This demonstrates how the instrument was developed into what it has become and how it may serve our community for years to come.

Initially, the first document attached had both the questions and the responses to the survey administered in the second phase of instrument administration. That field has been updated to include that same information (in the same format) from the third phase of administration. Full reports from the second phase and additional information on each of the developmental stages of this instrument are all available upon request.

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.