Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 66.44
Liaison Mike Wilson
Submission Date Jan. 29, 2014
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

University of Victoria
AC-1: Academic Courses

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 6.09 / 14.00 Dr. Catherine Mateer
Assoicate Vice President Academic Planning
Vice President Academic & Provost
"---" 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 1,554 908
Number of sustainability courses offered 62 9
Number of courses offered that include sustainability 72 22

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):

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 University of Victoria Office of Campus Planning and Sustainability initiated a committee that included three faculty, who were working in three different departments and one staff member who represented the business faculty. They created a definition for sustainability in curriculum and research based as a supplement to the definition of sustainability found in the UVic Sustainability Policy (http://web.uvic.ca/hr/employment/SustainabilityGV0800_1794.pdf). Those definitions were as follows:

- Sustainability research examines forces affecting local and global ecological, economic, social, health and cultural challenges. It helps societies flourish without compromising the future. Sustainability research is typically but not exclusively focused on solutions.

- Sustainability courses focus on ecological, social and economic dimensions of sustainability and may integrate several perspectives including social justice, ecological balance, public health and wellbeing, prosperity and the construction of sustainable livelihoods, to foster an understanding of an interconnected world.

- Sustainability related courses contain a section, chapter, module, case study, or other component that focuses on sustainability, as defined above.

Based upon the definitions the committee constructed the Office of Campus Planning and Sustainability identified possible sustainability courses from a list of all courses in the UVic course catalogue using a keyword search of the course titles (criteria:"env," "eco," "soc," "food," "glob," "sust," "publ," "heal," "bio," "clim").

The courses identified where then reviewed serially, the course description added and reviewed, and coded as sustainability focused courses, sustainability related courses, or non-sustainability courses. Courses listed as directed studies, theses, and topics courses were removed for the purpose of course and department counts shown above.

Subsequent to this step the University chose to submit under the then yet to be released STARS 2.0. The new definitions of sustainability curriculum and research provided in by STARS 2.0 were reviewed and it was determined that the UVic authored definitions very similar relative to the principles outlined in the Earth Charter and that the course identification process did not need to be re-performed.

An additional review step was taken for departments that contained a significant number of courses, such as Business and Environmental Studies, where by an email was sent to the administrator requesting that the faculty review the list of identified courses in relation to the definition of sustainability shown above. The relevant division between graduate, undergraduate were then calculated using excel.

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 No
Independent study No
Special topics No
Thesis/dissertation No
Clinical No
Physical education Yes
Performance arts No

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

Does the institution designate sustainability courses on student transcripts?:

UVic commits a signification amount of resources to it sustainability curriculum and several programs that concern themselves with sustainability. Programs include an undergraduate major and minor, MA, MSc, and PhD programs in Environmental Studies, all of which are sustainability focused programs. It also includes the Business faculty, which uses its Centre for Social and Sustainable Innovation (http://www.uvic.ca/gustavson/cssi/) to open a door to the array of resources that help students, faculty and staff incorporate all kinds of sustainability into their studies, careers and lives. Other areas of the university with a sustainability focus include the department of Geography, whose courses cover human geography, and environment and sustainability, and the School of Earth and Ocean Sciences, which provides education in Earth System Science. There is also a wide representation of sustainability related courses across other departments at UVic.

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.