Overall Rating Silver - expired
Overall Score 51.19
Liaison Jim Walker
Submission Date Jan. 31, 2011
Executive Letter Download

STARS v1.0

University of Texas at Austin
ER-15: Sustainability Research Identification

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 3.00 / 3.00 Jim Walker
Director of Sustainability, Financial, and Administrative Services
University Operations
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Has the institution developed a definition of sustainability research?:

A copy of the institution's definition of sustainability research:

The University sustainability policy states that we seek “to create a disciplined culture of excellence … in advancing environmental stewardship and sustainability on our campus, in our academic and research programs, and in our public service and outreach activities.”

The University sustainability policy definition states “Sustainability refers to societal efforts that meet the needs of present users without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Sustainability presumes that the planet’s resources are finite, and should be used conservatively, wisely, and equitably. Decisions and investments aimed to promote sustainability will simultaneously advance economic vitality, ecological integrity, and social welfare.”

The following research specific definition (modeled on National Science Foundation definitions) is currently under consideration by the Academic Sub-Committee of the President’s Sustainability Steering Committee: “Sustainability focused research is any systematic study directed toward expanding knowledge or understanding a) of fundamental aspects of phenomena and observable facts involving the relationships between economic vitality, ecological integrity, and social welfare or societal efforts influencing those phenomena or relationships; or b) necessary to determine the means by which a relationship between economic vitality, ecological integrity, and social welfare may be enhanced through societal effort to the benefit of both current and future society.”

Has the institution identified its sustainability research activities and initiatives?:

A brief description of the methodology the institution followed to complete the inventory:

We began our process of cataloging sustainability research by surveying websites at UT Austin.  From there, we put ourselves in touch with individuals, departments, schools/colleges, and centers and institutes across campus to gather more information about specific projects and other relevant sustainability initiatives that should be captured in the Directory.  Overall, the process has been very organic with a combination of methods: learning about projects online, by referral from individuals involved in sustainability-related research, and through other UT resources such as the Sustainability Symposium, Climate Change Symposium, Eureka and Know. 

Does the institution make its sustainability research inventory publicly available online?:

The website URL where the sustainability research inventory is posted (required if claiming Part 3 of the credit):

The Sustainability Directory lists centers and institutes that conduct sustainability research, as well as faculty and the departments that they represent.

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.