Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 60.76
Liaison Brad Spanbauer
Submission Date March 4, 2022

STARS v2.2

University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh
AC-10: Support for Sustainability Research

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 3.00 / 4.00 Brad Spanbauer
Campus Sustainability Officer
Campus Sustainability 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:
In Fall of 2019 and Spring of 2021, The Sustainability Institute for Regional Transformations (SIRT), in partnership with the Office of Student Research and Creative Activity (OSRCA), announced the availability of research grants for students on all three campuses of UW Oshkosh.

This opportunity will provide each project with $2,000 to allow students to conduct sustainability-focused research and creative activity. $500 will be available for supplies or expenses, and faculty mentors will receive a $375 stipend. Students in any major or disciplinary perspective — including arts and humanities, social and physical sciences, business, nursing, and education — are encouraged to apply. Applicants must be full-time undergraduate students in good academic standing. The student must complete the application with their mentor acting as an editor/advisor.

This call for applications includes three directed projects related to campus sustainability, as well as a call for original student sustainability research. The proposed projects must fit within a broadly conceived definition of sustainability, and the proposer must make clear how the end results may contribute to the understanding and practice of sustainability (see definitions here: uwosh.edu/sirt/sustainability-resources/teaching-sustainability/). OSRCA and the Sustainability Institute for Regional Transformations are especially interested in funding projects with the potential to impact northeast Wisconsin as well as research that includes partners outside the university.

The Office of Student Research & Creative Activity at UW Oshkosh offers a special Westbrook Sustainability Research Grant worth $750 and available to undergraduate students conducting research related to sustainability.

This research grant is named in honor of Lynn Westbrook, a UW Oshkosh student whose life was cut short tragically in 1974.

The focus of the proposed research must fit within a broadly conceived definition of sustainability and its “three pillars” of Economy, Environment, and Equity. That is, proposals may address research that concerns ecological health, economic security, and social justice or the intersections of these three broad areas.

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:
For the 2019-2020 academic year, there were three submissions for our annual Sustainability Institute Challenge Grants. The purpose of this research grant must include the following: advancing sustainability- must fit within a broadly conceived definition of sustainability, and the proposers must make clear how the end results may contribute to the understanding and practice of sustainability; must be interdisciplinary by thoroughly describing the interdisciplinary nature of the content or approach of the project itself, or by proposing a collaborative project involving faculty/staff from at least two programs/units and demonstrating how the expertise and perspective of each participant will contribute to the interdisciplinary nature of the project; must support or establish research clusters or communities. Research clusters are interdisciplinary groups of faculty and staff who are working together to study a key sustainability issue; The proposed project must be mindful of diversity and inclusion. Projects must include a short reflective statement describing how principal investigators will attempt to address systemic racial, ethnic, and gender disparities through project focus, hiring, outreach, accessibility and application of results, etc. Accepted submissions were awarded $7500 for supplies, professional development opportunities, stipends, etc.

The first submission to be accepted was Developing Artful Leadership to Foster Sustainability at UW Oshkosh and Beyond. "This project is designed to increase individual and collective environmental awareness of undergraduate students across disciplines through sustainability research, provide arts-based
learning and resources to allow students to visualize their research through artistic creation, and enhance students’ leadership qualities to generate greater sustainable impact on campus, community, and society." The lead faculty & staff areas included Art Education, Grounds, Facilities.

The second grant to be accepted was "Earth WELL ESS Training", borrowing from the acronym of "Wisconsin Environmental Literacy & Leadership for Naturalists, Educators, Students & Society". "This project is a rapid response to a Wisconsin DPI K-12 standards change. It aims to take advantage of the emergence of educational sustainability initiatives that better emphasize connecting social and natural systems. The proposed training it provides will increase local
environmental literacy skills and empower leaders to better drive home the benefit of natural systems to humanity. If successful, we see this project becoming a long-term collaboration with organizations such as Green and Healthy Schools Wisconsin. Further, while meeting several of SIRT's goals, this certification training may be deemed an attractive strategy in the future of
higher education, as it provides incremental recognition along a degree path that could be noted on a resume or job application." The lead faculty & staff academic areas were Teaching & Learning, Biology, Environmental Studies.

SIRT sponsored a faculty and staff research retreat in February 2018 to (1) connect faculty and staff from across campus, who have self-nominated to be part of SIRT as ‘sustainability faculty and staff’ to begin to think about collaboration and building research capacity across campus; and (2) introduce the research cluster model as possible way to organize ourselves for interdisciplinary research and community engagement. At the time of the retreat, there were 73 sustainability faculty and staff. Forty-eight RSVPed yes to the retreat, 40 were able to attend the day of the event.

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:

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

A brief description of the institution’s library support for sustainability research:
Polk Library's collection practices relies significantly on faculty selection of materials, and we have worked closely with both the Environmental Studies faculty and the campus sustainability people to add relevant materials. On top of that, from the funds that the library designates for general book purchases, we have added a significant number of titles that deal with sustainable building, sustainable communities, sustainability planning, etc. In addition to print books, we provide access to over 100,000 e-books via ebrary with several hundred titles dealing with sustainability in one way or another.

In regards to journal content, we provide access to a handful of good titles, including Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability; Environment, Development and Sustainability; International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability; Sustainability; Ecological Economics; Environmental Ethics; Ecos; Environmental Education Research; and many others.

We also provide access to several good databases, including Environment Complete, GreenFile, and Science Direct.

There has recently been several new subscriptions to online video streaming services (Kanopy, PBS Video Collection, Filmmakers Library, etc) that includes over over 20,000 films, and hundreds relating to sustainability. These films can be embedded into D2L for curriculum support and are heavily used by distance education programs on campus.

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

Data source(s) and notes about the submission:

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