Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 67.00
Liaison Alistair Hall
Submission Date March 15, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Vassar College
AC-10: Support for Research

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 3.00 / 4.00 Alistair Hall
Sustainability Assistant
Dean of Strategic Planning
"---" 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 research in sustainability? :
Yes

A brief description of the student research program, including the incentives provided and any positive outcomes during the previous three years:

Each summer there are a number of college sponsored Fellowships through the URSI (Undergraduate Research Summer Institute) and Ford Scholars program that enables students to conduct original research with Professors. Research topics regularly involve sustainability concerns.
The Sustainability Office has hosted both Ford and URSI students to study carbon taxes, green building, and renewable energy systems in the past 3 years.


Does the institution have a program to encourage faculty from multiple disciplines or academic programs to conduct research in sustainability topics?:
Yes

A brief description of the faculty research program, including the incentives provided and any positive outcomes during the previous three years:

There are incentives for faculty to participate in the annual Ford and URSI programs. Faculty Mellon Grant conversations allow for professors to collaborate on issues of interest.
The Environmental Research Institute provides funding to Faculty to explore sustainability related topics. In Spring 2018, Professor Mary Ann Cunningham and Professor Jenny Magnes have partnered to study renewable energy systems in Germany from the perspectives of Geography and Physics.


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?:
No

A brief description of the institution’s support for interdisciplinary, transdisciplinary, and multidisciplinary research, including any positive outcomes during the previous three years:

Vassar does not have a specific policy favoring interdisciplinary research, but it is valued in tenure and promotion decisions as explained in the following quote from the former chair of the Faculty Appointments and Salary Committee (FASC):

"Vassar generally and FASC in particular certainly value interdisciplinary research and teaching. It is not a specific criteria for promotion: that is, someone can be tenured without ever moving outside of his or her home field. And there is no language in the Handbook that privileges interdisciplinarity. But neither is there any language that disfavors such adventurousness.

In practice, we do look favorably at a candidate's record of participation in the [multidisciplinary] programs (and many candidates solicit partial review letters from programs). We also look at the evidence of collaborative scholarship either on the C.V. or in the research itself. We examine the teaching portfolio for new co-taught classes, and for innovative syllabi and assignments, many of which have interdisciplinary components.

In these ways I'd say that to FASC interdisciplinarity demonstrates creativity, staying fresh and expanding one's horizons, collaborating across departmental lines, and serving the College, all qualities that count in one's favor when tenure and promotion decisions are being made." (Sarah Kozloff, Professor of Film and Former Chair of FASC)


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

A brief description of the institution’s library support for sustainability research, including any positive outcomes during the previous three years:

The Vassar Library has a team of librarians who are familiar with and work work with specific departments on campus. Students may stop by drop-in hours, call, text, or make an appointment with a librarian to discuss their research interests. In turn the librarian team consults with professors about courses and create class-specific and discipline-specific research guides, many of which do incorporate and focus on sustainability because of the nature of the courses being offered and the integral nature of sustainability in some departments (Environmental Studies, Urban Studies, Geography, Earth Science, Science, Technology & Society).


The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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