Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 65.48
Liaison Amy Brunvand
Submission Date Oct. 21, 2020

STARS v2.2

University of Utah
AC-9: Research and Scholarship

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 10.63 / 12.00 Brenda Bowen
Global Change & Sustainability Center
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Total number of employees that conduct research:

Number of employees engaged in sustainability research:

Percentage of employees that conduct research that are engaged in sustainability research:

Total number of academic departments that include at least one employee who conducts research:

Number of academic departments that include at least one employee who conducts sustainability research:

Percentage of departments that conduct research that are engaged in sustainability research:

A copy of the inventory of the institution’s sustainability research (upload):
Inventory of the institution’s sustainability research:

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

Faculty who are affiliates of the Global Change and Sustainability Center self-identify that interdisciplinary research within sustainability is a significant component of their scholarship when they become affiliate faculty. This identifies 138 UU faculty who are actively engaged in sustainability research that span ecological and social systems. These faculty engage with the GCSC in many ways, sharing their research through annual research symposium, publications, presentations, class discussions, mentoring student research projects, participating in team research across departments and colleges, contributing towards conversations around sustainability governance and operations on campus, and more. The GCSC regularly follows and supports the research of these faculty in many different ways (see: https://environment.utah.edu/faculty).

In addition, the GCSC worked with the VP for Faculty office and the Office for Global Engagement to create an online Sustainability Inventory beginning in 2017 (https://inventory.environment.utah.edu/) that builds from Faculty Activity Reports (FAR) that all faculty at the University are required to complete annually. Faculty have the opportunity within the reporting system to self-identify any scholarly work that links to sustainability (including publications, media, service, awards, presentations, etc). Faculty are prompted to optionally identify the theme that their sustainability research links to; selecting from nine overlapping themes: AIR QUALITY, BUILT ENVIRONMENT AND COMMUNITIES, CLIMATE CHANGE, ECOLOGICAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL CHANGE, ENERGY, FOOD SYSTEMS, JUSTICE, NATURE AND CULTURE, and WATER. This approach identified 126 UU faculty (58 of which were already identified as GCSC affiliates). Information added into this database by University of Utah faculty from its creation in 2017 through the end of 2019 is included here.

Faculty who were recipients of GCSC Seed grants in 2017 and 2018 are also included in our list. These projects were all highly interdisciplinary and focused on a major sustainability challenge. This seed grant program is sponsored by GCSC in collaboration with the Society, Water and Climate Research Group and NEXUS: iNterdisciplinary EXchange for Utah Science to incentivize new or expanded interdisciplinary collaborations between two or more U of U faculty researchers from different disciplines. These grants are intended to help foster new interdisciplinary or transdisciplinary sustainability and global / environmental change research. This identified 11 additional faculty.

A special effort was made to identify faculty associated with the health sciences who are working on research in the area of ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH that clearly links to both social and scientific aspects of sustainability. Because of a divided campus structure, the faculty in the health sciences have had less involvement with the GCSC and do not use FAR. The GCSC collaborates closely with NEXUS, where there has been a focus on linking faculty between the social and environmental sciences and health science, and NEXUS helped us to identified eight additional faculty who have been involved with their center in interdisciplinary sustainability research. We identified another eight additional faculty who presented in a campus-wide AIR QUALTIY and CLIMATE CHANGE themed symposium in the Fall of 2019 that included current sustainability research on air quality, health, and society. We also queried new institutional database that was created by the UU research development office, PIVOT, where faculty seeking funding opportunities enter keywords describing their research and identified five additional faculty working in interdisciplinary research spanning ecology and social aspects of ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH. The GCSC created and advertised a link for faculty to self-identify if they do sustainability research.

The total number of faculty that conduct research was determined based on institutional data on the total number of tenure-line faculty, library research faculty, and career line research faculty. All tenure-line faculty have a research component as a part of their job. Adjunct, visiting, and part-time faculty generally do not. Career line faculty are categorized as either teaching or research faculty and here we include research faculty.


In addition, the VP for Research Office keep track of how many faculty receive ANY portion of their salary from a research grant account or contract. In 2018 this number was 1,069, which provides a minimum for research active faculty and verifies that our baseline of 1,761 faculty engaged in research is a reasonable estimate (given that some faculty are pursuing research without external funding).

Website URL where information about the institution’s sustainability research is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:




Additional documentation to support the submission (upload)

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.