Overall Rating Silver - expired
Overall Score 55.88
Liaison Jim Walker
Submission Date April 30, 2014
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

University of Texas at Austin
AC-1: Academic Courses

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 5.04 / 14.00 Alice Gerhart
Program Coordinator, Academics
Office of Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Figures required to calculate the percentage of courses with sustainability content::
Undergraduate Graduate
Total number of courses offered by the institution 4,377 3,949
Number of sustainability courses offered 120 141
Number of courses offered that include sustainability 91 107

Number of academic departments (or the equivalent) that offer at least one sustainability course and/or course that includes sustainability (at any level):

Total number of academic departments (or the equivalent) that offer courses (at any level):

Number of years covered by the data:

A copy of the institution’s inventory of its course offerings with sustainability content (and course descriptions):

An inventory of the institution's course offerings with sustainability content (and course descriptions):

Undergraduate sustainability courses (includes courses that are cross-listed for both undergraduate and graduate students):

Graduate sustainability courses:

The website URL where the inventory of course offerings with sustainability content is publicly available:
A brief description of the methodology the institution followed to complete the course inventory:

The Office of Sustainability maintains UT Austin's Sustainability Directory, a topically organized database that serves as an inventory of sustainability-related academics.

Rather than come up with hard and fast rules that attempt to define sustainability, our philosophy is to err on the side of inclusivity and defer to faculty/staff definitions of sustainability. Below are some guiding questions provided to help determine if a particular course should be included in the Sustainability Directory.
Does this course:
-- Aim to better understand and lessen the negative impact of human activity on earth?
-- Teach or research methods of reducing our ecological footprint?
-- Work toward the continued health and well-being of the planet and future generations?
-- Teach or research on increasing social equity, environmental justice, or responsible global citizenship?
-- Focus on improving the quality of all life on earth?

Additionally, the topics used in the Sustainability Directory help shape the institution's definition of sustainability in academics. These topics were chosen to reflect UT-Austin’s sustainability strengths and concentrations and were informed by other universities' efforts to categorize and communicate their sustainability-related offerings. Final topics were ultimately chosen through an iterative process with key UT Austin stakeholders (faculty, staff, students, and community members) through meetings and focus groups.

The original inventory for the Sustainability Directory was generated by students from UT Austin's Campus Environmental Center, who hand-counted courses for the '09-'10 academic year. Geography department program coordinators reviewed a provisional list of courses in their department to confirm the courses' coverage of sustainability topics. Help was also provided from Energy & Earth Sciences. Courses are added to and subtracted from the Directory as new and old courses are identified.

How did the institution count courses with multiple offerings or sections in the inventory?:
Each course was counted as a single course regardless of the number of offerings or sections

A brief description of how courses with multiple offerings or sections were counted (if different from the options outlined above):

Which of the following course types were included in the inventory?:
Yes or No
Internships No
Practicums Yes
Independent study No
Special topics Yes
Thesis/dissertation No
Clinical ---
Physical education No
Performance arts Yes

Does the institution designate sustainability courses in its catalog of course offerings?:

Does the institution designate sustainability courses on student transcripts?:

The Sustainability Directory is currently undergoing an update that will add course availability information to each course record. This update will begin to roll out by the end of the spring 2014 semester, providing more accurate information to students as they build their course schedules.

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.