Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 66.40
Liaison Madeline Schuh
Submission Date Feb. 21, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

University of Pennsylvania
AC-6: Sustainability Literacy Assessment

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Madeline Schuh
Sustainability Analyst
Facilities and Real Estate Services
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution conduct an assessment of the sustainability literacy of its students (i.e. an assessment focused on student knowledge of sustainability topics and challenges)?:
Yes

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 sample of the questions included in the sustainability literacy assessment or the website URL where the assessment tool may be found:
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A brief description of how the literacy assessment was developed and/or when it was adopted:

A one-time survey was developed beginning in May of 2017 as part of a graduate student's capstone project for a Master of Environmental Studies degree. The survey was distributed to all students in September 2017 as part of the research project, although only responses from freshmen were used in the analysis.
Questions were developed based on sustainability literacy assessments distributed at other universities, corporations, and government agencies. Model surveys were reviewed for sample questions, including those published by the International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education and the North American Association for Environmental Education.


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

The Masters of Environmental Science student developed the survey to be administered to all incoming Freshman to the University of Pennsylvania. While the survey was distributed to the entire student body, only Freshman responses will be used for the capstone project. She received responses from 500 students (20% of the incoming class).


A brief summary of results from the literacy assessment(s), including a description of any measurable changes over time:

To evaluate the possible correlation between sustainability literacy and behavior change, the survey will be redistributed during the Fall of 2021 to the same students who participated during their Freshman year. As this is the first year for the institution to evaluate sustainability literacy, the results will not be available until 2021.


The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
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Additional documentation to support the submission:
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The University of Pennsylvania is a major research institution, with over 3,000 degrees granted annually from twelve professional and academic schools at the Bachelor's, Master's, and Doctorate levels. Penn is committed to teaching environmental sustainability, with a goal to make climate change and sustainability part of the curriculum and educational experience available to all Penn students. (Penn's 2009 "Climate Action Plan".). This submission documents Penn's efforts during the FY17 year and compares them to the FY14 baseline year which corresponds with the University's "Climate Action Plan. 2.0". The submission relies on information related to the main, academic, West Philadelphia campus, but to more fully document efforts across the Penn system, information related to the Morris Arboretum and New Bolton has also been referenced and noted as outside the boundary in descriptions. The information is used to enrich examples of University efforts and is not intended to be the primary justification for credits. The responses for each of the questions and sub-questions are drawn from University materials, both internal and public documents. Each section notes the website where the information can be found.

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.