Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 74.80
Liaison Gioia Thompson
Submission Date March 2, 2020

STARS v2.2

University of Vermont
AC-10: Support for Sustainability Research

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Dan Harvey
Business Ops Administrator
VP Research Admin Office
"---" 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 sustainability research?:

A brief description of the student sustainability research program:

The University has multiple college-focused programs and an overarching fund to encourage students in multiple disciplines or academic programs to conduct research in sustainability.

The Clean Energy Fund (CEF) is a student fee-based funding source open for all majors and student levels that started in 2008. Since then, the CEF has provided more than $1.3M funding for research projects on sustainable energy. The research funding is only for students with faculty sponsors, not for faculty research. See http://www.uvm.edu/cleanenergyfund for more details.

One cross-major sustainability funding source offered through the Honors College is the Carl Reidel Scholarship fund, which invites students from any discipline to apply for funding to address environmental challenges. See https://www.uvm.edu/four/carl-reidel-scholarship-fund

The Energy-Climate Public Impact Research Fellowship provides funding to both CEMS/RSENR, engineering and environmental students. See https://www.uvm.edu/cems/undergraduate_research

Does the institution have a program to encourage academic staff from multiple disciplines or academic programs to conduct sustainability research?:

A brief description of the faculty sustainability research program:

A manifestation of the institution’s long-time support for multidisciplinary sustainability research is the Gund Institute for Environment (https://www.uvm.edu/gund). The Gund Institute for Environment mobilizes scholars and leaders to understand and solve critical environmental issues. They accelerate research and bring scholars and decision-makers together, focusing on environmental issues at the interface of four pressing research themes: climate solutions, health and well-being, sustainable agriculture, and resilient communities. Because global challenges span disciplines, so does Gund. They bring together the right people from across academia, government, business and society to speed up the rate of discovery, develop real-world solutions, and help build a sustainable future.

The Gund Institute is comprised of 150 faculty Fellows and Affiliates from UVM and leading organizations worldwide, and exceptional students and postdoctoral researchers. They are a leader in integrating the traditional disciplines of natural social sciences, business, health, technology, engineering and the humanities.

Gund research themes echo several United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. This increases opportunities to impact policy and positions researchers to pursue novel and powerful research questions that accelerate solutions for people and the planet.

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 copy of the promotion or tenure guidelines or policies:

The promotion or tenure guidelines or policies:

UVM’s Academic Excellence Goal #4 is to Increase interdisciplinary Teaching, Research and Scholarship. This establishes such scholarly work as an institutional priority to be recognized in annual performance reviews of faculty and reviews for faculty for promotion and tenure. This is reflected in department and college Guidelines. For example, the Department of Biology’s RPT (Review for Promotion and Tenure) Guidelines state “The Department recognizes that many transformative discoveries occur at disciplinary boundaries and that these advances require collaborative research. In accordance with the University’s emphasis in transdisciplinary research the Department acknowledges individual contributions to collaborative projects to be valuable and significant.”

The RPT Guidelines of the Rubenstein School for Environment and Natural Resources provide another example: “Because of RSENR’s commitment to graduate education and to interdisciplinary, integrative research, co-authorship is common. Where there is co-authorship, the candidate should explicitly outline his/her contribution to the published work.”

Does the institution have ongoing library support for sustainability research and learning?:

A brief description of the institution’s library support for sustainability research:

Sustainability-related research by students, faculty and staff has long been supported by Library Associate Professor, Laurie Kutner, who specializes in environmental information and is the library subject liaison to all areas in the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources, the Environmental Program, Geography, Anthropology, and Global and Regional Studies.

The library has a comprehensive subject liaison program, and as sustainability-related courses and research permeate the campus more widely, library faculty who are subject specialists in other areas support the needs of their departments and schools and consult with Laurie as needed regarding sustainability-related questions.

Website URL where information about the institution’s support for sustainability research is available:
Additional documentation to support 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 and complete the Data Inquiry Form.