Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 70.12
Liaison Amir Nadav
Submission Date March 5, 2021

STARS v2.2

University of St. Thomas
AC-6: Sustainability Literacy Assessment

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Elise Amel
Faculty Director
Office of Sustainability Initiatives
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution conduct an assessment of the sustainability literacy of its students?:
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 list or sample of the questions included in the sustainability literacy assessment or the website URL where the assessment tool may be found:

The survey questions appear in the attached document.


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

The literacy assessment was developed by faculty and staff in the Office of Sustainability Initiatives in March 2018, drawing from a variety of established sources ranging from fellow AASHE institutions (University of New Hampshire and The Ohio State University) to the US Department of Energy and waterfootprint.org. Our 10-question assessment included key constructs of general sustainability, energy, water, food, consumption, population, and climate change. It was aimed at assessing general understanding of concepts rather than specific facts associated with time and place.


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

We administered surveys electronically via invitation of the university president. We used a pre- and post- approach comparing the same cohort of students and faculty as well as representative samples of faculty and staff in both pre-test and post-test. The pre- assessment was administered in April of 2018 and a post- assessment was conducted in Fall 2020. The assessment was structured in a way that enables longitudinal tracking of several different cohorts.

2020 Assessment
The post-survey was sent to all 1,901 employees (faculty and staff) and 9,793 students. For employees, the response rate was 39% (n=743) and completion rate was 35.5% (n=675). For students the response rate was 16.4% (n=1604) and completion rate was 13.1% (n=1282).

Among those completing the survey, full time staff were slightly overrepresented (+12.9%) and adjunct faculty were slightly underrepresented (-10.1%). Among students, the male/female split of respondents was 37.8%/62.2% while the population is roughly evenly split (50.2%/49.7%); graduate students (-9.2%) were slightly underrepresented; white respondents were slightly overrepresented (+7%). The state of representation was similar to 2018 with the exception of first-year students, who were overrepresented this year by 7.7%, whereas they were underrepresented in 2018. This may be due to the focus on sustainability at new student orientation and the newly implemented First-Year Experience Theme-Based Learning Community focused on sustainability.

2018 Assessment
The pre- survey was sent to all 1,955 employees (faculty and staff) and 9,436 students. For employees, the response rate was 42% (n=822) and completion rate was 39.3% (n=768). For students the response rate was 19% (n=1789) and completion rate was 15.8% (n=1488).

Among those completing the survey, full time staff were slightly overrepresented (+14.5%) and adjunct faculty were slightly underrepresented (-10%). Among students, the male/female split of respondents was 38.4%/61.5% while the population is roughly evenly split (50.8%/49.1%); graduate students (-4.1%) and freshmen (-3.5%) were slightly underrepresented; white respondents were slightly overrepresented (+5%).


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

The range of possible scores is 0 to 10. Scores were negatively skewed, so we will report median responses.

Employee responses overall were consistent between time 1 and time 2 (median correct=7.875) and the cohort that took both pre and post surveys remained consistent over time (median staff change is 0; interquartile range is -.875-1).

Student responses overall were consistent between time 1 and time 2 (median correct=6.875), with the cohort taking both 2018 and 2020 surveys demonstrating slight improvement over time (median student change is .813; interquartile range is -.125-1.875).


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