Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 77.56
Liaison Ruairi O'Mahony
Submission Date Feb. 15, 2019
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

University of Massachusetts Lowell
AC-10: Support for Research

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Julie Chen
Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation
Office of the Chancellor
"---" 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:

At UMass Lowell, we engage students early in their college career to participate in meaningful, practical experiences that enrich learning; to prepare students for future work, life and world experiences.

Research co-operative education is a strong component of a student’s experience and offers undergraduate, master's and doctoral students the chance to work side-by-side with leading research professors and professionals in all areas of research.

There are various types of Research and Community Co-ops that offer both research lab and research with faculty (non-laboratory) opportunities. Examples include

Working in a campus research laboratory,
Helping a community organization,
Conducting reviews of program-related scholarship, or
Working on a business or marketing plan for a local start-up.

And the many benefits of co-op include facilitating the faculty-student interaction that is uniquely and richly supported at UMass Lowell, helping students learn new skills from hands-on experience that build on the knowledge acquired in the classroom, and providing an awareness of what takes place in a research lab that is working towards a product.

For our undergraduate juniors and seniors who usually round out their undergraduate experience with some of these types of opportunities, co-op helps students to explore their professional and higher education goals while making a valuable contribution in the workplace and community.

The university also has an exciting research opportunities and community initiatives - the Immersive Scholars Program (formerly known as Co-op Scholars) - that allows undergraduate freshman and sophomore students to participate in exciting paid experiential learning opportunities working directly with outstanding faculty across the campus and academic departments or with community partners.

Each of the examples above have provided a lot of unique research opportunities related to our sustainability for UMass Lowell students. In our urban setting, engagement with local organizations such as Mill City Grows, and the City of Lowell has provided excellent opportunities to address sustainability in the urban setting.

Since our last submission in 2016, the Office of Sustainability launched the campus sustainability fund the Sustainability Engagement & Enrichment Development (S.E.E.D.) Fund, provides funding for projects that promote environmental sustainability, and positively impact and enhance the student experience at UMass Lowell. The Fund supports the sustainability goals outlined in UMass Lowell’s 2020 Strategic Plan. The Fund is supported by student fees and administered through a student-majority committee. Students, faculty and staff can apply for funding for up to $10,000 per project application. This program has funded numerous student, faculty and staff research projects since its inception.

Furthermore, UMass Lowell's Climate Change Initiative (CCI) provides education and mentorship to students conducting research in climate change and sustainability.

https://www.uml.edu/Research/Student-Opportunities/ (NEW LINK)

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:

Research Centers at the University of Massachusetts Lowell further the mission of the University and advance the research objectives set forth in the strategic plan, UMass Lowell 2020. The Research Centers differ from one another in focus, scope, and staffing, but each contribute in unique ways to the common goals of expanding knowledge, generating new discoveries, and/or having a positive impact on society through informing policy and systemic change. Communities of researchers and staff in Research Centers provide a stimulating environment that encourages early researchers and challenges the experienced researcher. Research Centers also contribute to the education and training of the researchers of the future by serving as learning environments for students.

Interdisciplinary collaborations are promoted by the Research Centers both within the University and among institutions external to UMass Lowell. There are numerous examples of faculty from multiple disciplines or academic programs conducting research in sustainability related topics. Examples include, The Center for Wind Energy, Center for Population Health, Center for Women and Work and the Climate Change Initiative Engagement Center.

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:
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:

The library served as an essential resource for the Office of Sustainability and the Center for Program Evaluation in the College of Education when delivering our pilot Freshman Sustainability Module ran in freshmen business classes. Using their resources and research staff they assisted us in developing a lib guide for the content: https://libguides.uml.edu/sustainability_uml

Also, the library staff will regularly set up large topical displays for the various books they have in their collection to foster students to engage with a diverse array of content. In 2017, they ran a semester featuring the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals and showcased a bunch of new and diverse books in their collection. Students would engage frequently with the displays and browse the books on the shelving units, while reading about each of the SDGs. Furthermore, many of these topical areas beyond this one display have clear sustainability undertones (e.g. specific social and environmental justice issues).

Furthermore, their staff remain a valuable resource for research on any topic, they constantly work with students across academic disciplines and foster interdisciplinary research when requested. Our Commonwealth Honors College students will frequently work closely with library staff as the research their undergraduate theses, many of which have sustainability themes. We are continuing to work with them to further support. these initiatives.

The library is currently negotiating for an institutional repository platform. The goal is to have it up and running by July, 2019 which will provide increased opportunities for support of sustainability research.

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

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