Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 57.87
Liaison Elias Platte-Bermeo
Submission Date July 29, 2021

STARS v2.2

University of Southern California
AC-1: Academic Courses

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.85 / 14.00 Elias Platte-Bermeo
Sustainability Program Assistant
Office of Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Figures required to calculate the percentage of courses offered by the institution that are sustainability course offerings:
Undergraduate Graduate
Total number of courses offered by the institution 9,786 9,718
Number of sustainability-focused courses offered 157 35
Number of sustainability-inclusive courses offered 674 330

Percentage of courses that are sustainability course offerings:
6.13

Total number of academic departments that offer courses:
189

Number of academic departments with sustainability course offerings:
68

Percentage of academic departments with sustainability course offerings:
35.98

A copy of the institution’s inventory of its sustainability course offerings and descriptions:
Do the figures reported above cover one, two, or three academic years?:
One

A brief description of the methodology used to complete the course inventory :

SCOPE OF DATA:

A complete list of course offerings for Summer Semester 2018, Fall Semester 2018, and Spring Semester 2019 (Academic Year 2019) listed in the USC Course Catalog was obtained from the USC Registrar’s Office and Office of Institutional Research. The complete list of course offerings included the course number, title, and description. The Office of Institutional Research excluded any courses that met AASHE’s exclusion criteria. Any course that was excluded was not to be counted in the total number of course offerings, and therefore not included in the course inventory.

Since USC does not have a widely-accepted number of academic departments, for this credit, the "total number of academic departments that offer courses" was determined by finding the number of unique departments in the Academic Year 2019 complete list of course offerings produced by the Registrar.

REVIEW OF DATA:

Determination of methodology: The Presidential Working Group (PWG) Sustainability in Education (SE) committee reviewed a data processing methodology proposed by the Office of Sustainability. The proposed methodology included the following:
- Overview of information required for the AC-1 credit
- STARS definitions of “sustainability-focused” and “sustainability-inclusive”
- List of types of courses eligible for exclusion per AASHE's guidelines
- Options for how to handle courses with multiple offerings or sections
- Examples of data-processing methodologies from peer universities
- Proposed data-processing methodology to be carried out by the Office of Sustainability

Create list of keywords: The Office of Sustainability compiled a list of keywords based on AASHE’s keyword list and other schools. This was reviewed and confirmed by the PWG SE Committee.

Conduct keyword search: Student interns in the Office of Sustainability helped to clean the spreadsheet of course listings and carried out the keyword search within the spreadsheet. The courses that included a keyword were marked to be considered for the final inventory. A course had to contain at least one keyword.

Classifying courses containing a keyword: Student interns and Office of Sustainability staff classified all courses containing a keyword as sustainability-focused, sustainability-inclusive, or neither. The PWG SE Committee agreed to use AASHE’s definitions of sustainability-focused and sustainability-inclusive as the foundational understanding of how to classify a course. The following are the criteria for the course classifications:

Sustainability-focused courses must include the following:
- Contained a sustainability keyword in course title or description, and
- The course title and/or description had an explicit focus on sustainability or addressed a sustainability challenge, as aligned with AASHE’s definition of sustainability
- Directly addressed a sustainability challenge as outlined by the UN Sustainable Development Goals

Sustainability-inclusive courses must include the following:
- Contained a sustainability keyword in course title or description, and
- A unit or element of the course contained an element of sustainability or addressed a sustainability challenge, as aligned with AASHE definition of sustainability, and
- Addressed a sustainability challenge as outlined by the UN Sustainable Development Goals

Review: The PWG SE committee reviewed and confirmed the sustainability course inventory.

Revision and confirmation: Any suggestions and edits on course classification were incorporated into the inventory by the Office of Sustainability staff and student interns.

Third party-review: The inventory was reviewed by GreenerU.

NOTE: see additional documentation for more detailed methodology.


How were courses with multiple offerings or sections counted for the figures reported above?:
Each offering or section of a course was counted as an individual course

A brief description of how courses with multiple offerings or sections were counted:
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Website URL where information about the sustainability course offerings is available:
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Additional documentation to support the submission:

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.