Overall Rating Silver - expired
Overall Score 49.23
Liaison Maria Dahmus
Submission Date June 21, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

University of St. Thomas
AC-10: Support for Research

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 3.00 / 4.00 Elise Amel
Faculty Fellow
Office of Sustainability Initiatives
"---" 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 Sustainability Scholars Grant program, initiated in the spring of 2017, draws from a dedicated pool of $50,000 each year to support undergraduate students from any discipline who wish to complete a major research project focused on sustainability. Awardees are undergraduate students at the University of St. Thomas who are interested in spending an entire summer working full time (40 hours per week for 10 weeks, or 400 hours total during the grant period) with two mentors on a significant research project or creative activity. These grants are designed to give students the time and resources they need for meaningful reflection and in-depth inquiry into a sustainability-related problem, issue, or solution of interest both to them and their mentors.

Sustainability Scholars Grant projects focus on the long-term environmental, social, economic, and/or justice aspects of stewardship and sustainability, and are guided by two mentors from different fields of expertise, at least one of which is a St. Thomas faculty member.

The goal of this program is to support research collaborations that address long-term environmental sustainability and stewardship by examining the interconnections between human and environmental well-being, broadly defined to include ecological, social, economic, and justice lenses. Every discipline can play a role in the long-term viability of the human-environment relationship.

Incentives include a paid stipend to students of $4500 for the summer of 2018, a one-time stipend of $750 for mentors, presentation opportunities, and opportunities for additional travel funding to conduct or present research.

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:

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:

Interdisciplinary research is accepted as valid engagement and can be used to support an application for Tenure and Promotion to Assistant and Full Professor. Tenure Application Instructions from Faculty Handbook: In a university as diverse as St. Thomas, the expressions of the intellect will occur in a variety of ways and formats. While recognizing and accepting that diversity, the faculty of St. Thomas expects its colleagues to provide documentation of their achievements as teacher/scholars from peers in the discipline. Faculty must maintain a record of professional engagement, as enumerated below that is appropriate to the nature of the discipline, the level of their program, and the level of support. A continuing scholarly activity agenda (both disciplinary and interdisciplinary) can be manifested in a variety of ways (pp. 4-8 to 4-9).
Promotion Application for Associate and Full Professor uses same wording (p. 5-5)

The Center for Faculty Development sponsors an internal grant that facilitates transdisciplinary efficacy among faculty, the Faculty Partnership Grant. This grant is intended to help faculty increase their knowledge of areas outside their own disciplines or outside their specialty within a discipline. Faculty partner with other faculty as tutor and tutored. Recent funded projects include:
- 2018: Amy Finnegan (Justice & Peace) and Todd Lawrence (English), “The Application of Critical Race Theory to Social Justice Scholarship and Practice”
- 2016: Will Cavert (History) and Kevin Theissen (Geology), “Climate Science and Climate History”

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:

Librarians routinely include sustainability sources in their research guides across the disciplines. Many of our electronic collections contain information, resources, and data on sustainability topics. We have recently subscribed to the JSTOR Sustainability Collection which supports sustainability research in many different fields.

Librarians work closely with faculty in sustainability classes. Librarians work with students conducting sustainability research to help them identify appropriate sources for their research. The library has hosted poster presentations and exhibits on student sustainability research. The libraries collect books, databases, media collections, and data sets on sustainability topics. The libraries recently sponsored a screening of the movie "Climate Refugees." Librarians will be speaking at a workshop for faculty teaching sustainability-related courses.

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

Data source(s) and notes about 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 or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.