Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 65.06
Liaison Andrea Trimble
Submission Date May 29, 2015
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

University of Virginia
AC-10: Support for Research

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Phoebe Crisman
Associate Professor of Architecture
School of Architecture
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have a program to encourage student sustainability research that meets the criteria for this credit?:

A brief description of the institution’s program(s) to encourage student research in sustainability:

The University has a number of programs to support student research of all forms, including sustainability research. The Center for Undergraduate Excellence encourages students to get involved in research. The Center administers the Harrison Undergraduate Research Awards and maintains a database of research opportunities both at U.Va. and elsewhere.

The Harrison Undergraduate Research Awards provide funding for students to pursue independent research projects over the summer. While the $3,000 grants can be used to pursue projects of any topic, in the past years several grants have been awarded to students pursuing sustainability-related research projects. Projects have researched such topics as edible rain gardens, regional agriculture support systems, bioremediation to create drinking water, storage of solar energy and sustainable tourism. The Harrison Awards can provide valuable support to extend course-initiated sustainability research projects and may serve as a model for programs targeting project implementation.

The Global Sustainability Initiative Poster Competition is an annual event designed to showcase student-proposed and student-led efforts to achieve a sustainable future. Undergraduate students enrolled in the Global Sustainability class submit Think Global/Act Local projects that promote responsible use of environmental resources, equitable communities, and economic efficiency – the “three E's” of sustainability. Winning projects are selected to receive From the Grounds Up grant funding to further research and implement their projects.

The website URL where information about the student research program is available:
Does the institution have a program to encourage faculty sustainability research that meets the criteria for this credit?:

A brief description of the institution’s program(s) to encourage faculty research in sustainability:

A new program has recently been funded called 'Developing Future Research Leaders in Sustainability and Resilience'. The result will be the creation of a new program, the Graduate Sustainability Research Forum, and a new Graduate Fellowship in Environmental Sustainability and Resilience. The forum will build a community among current graduate students from across the University, in collaboration with faculty and other students surrounding five main research clusters: Resilience of Coastal Communities, Global Water and Food Resilience, Climate-Earth Feedbacks, Sustainable Cities, and Energy. The fellowship will seek to recruit the nation’s finest students who seek graduate training in interdisciplinary approaches to complex problems, recruiting students into the community created through the research forum.

This effort is being included in the faculty research section, because although it focuses on graduate students, it will involve and encourage the collaboration of faculty and graduate students to research issues of sustainability. The project was funded through a Jefferson Trust Grant. Established in 2004, the Jefferson Trust is an unrestricted endowment that distributes funds annually through a University-wide grant program.

The website URL where information about the faculty research program is available:
Has the institution formally adopted policies and procedures that give positive recognition to interdisciplinary, transdisciplinary, and multidisciplinary research during faculty promotion and/or tenure decisions?:

A brief description or the text of the institution’s policy regarding interdisciplinary research:

The Commission on the Future of the University, a group charged with proposing strategic directions for the University for the next decade, highlighted the important of interdisciplinary collaboration in the Commission's 2008 report:

"Significant and consistent collaboration and interaction across all ten schools of the University are critical to fostering a shared vision, common goals, innovative programs, and bold initiatives. Meaningful collaboration and interaction can differentiate the University in important ways and build a foundation for other strategies to achieve differentiation."

The Vice President for Research offers multiple programs to organize and promote interdisciplinary research efforts, including theOpenGrounds initiative. OpenGrounds is a unique combination of interdisciplinary programming, challenges, research fellowships, and a network of physical spaces distributed across Grounds to promote ad hoc collaboration.

Tenure and promotion processes are typically initiated at the School and Departmental Levels. The following are selected excerpts from School-level Promotion and Tenure policies that give positive recognition to interdisciplinary research:

Promotion and Tenure Policy School of Engineering and Applied Science - Revised May 12, 2011:
"Cross-disciplinary research is encouraged and is recognized as a valuable complement and enhancement of the candidate's strength and depth in a central area of expertise."

Collaborative or joint research among the faculty, both within and across disciplines, is encouraged. Collaboration often enhances the quality and relevance of research.

School of Medicine - Criteria for Collaboration:
The NIH roadmap for patient-oriented research endorsed team science and established the expectation of expertise for interdisciplinary investigation and collaboration. The national academies have suggested that the evaluation of outcomes of interdisciplinary research and teaching will focus less on the usual number of publications and more on the impact of these publications. A successful interdisciplinary program will affect multiple disciplines and the connections among these fields.

The website URL where information about the treatment of interdisciplinary research is available:
Does the institution provide ongoing library support for sustainability research and learning that meets the criteria for this credit?:

A brief description of the institution's library support for sustainability research and learning:

The University Library provides a full ranges of services tot support sustainability research and learning. For instance, the Fiske Kimball Fine Arts Library has a recently created Materials Collection that includes samples of green building materials used in buildings and landscapes. Library staff will create Research Guides for specific courses, such as the Community Food Systems course linked below. The Scholar's Lab offers custom-created map and data repositories for sustainability focused classes as well.

The website URL where information about the institution's library support for sustainability is available:
Data source(s) and notes about 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 or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.