Overall Rating Expired
Overall Score Expired
Liaison Dennis Cochrane
Submission Date March 19, 2013
Executive Letter Download

STARS v1.2

Virginia Tech
IN-3: Innovation 3

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete Expired Dean Stauffer
Associate Dean for Academic Programs
College of Natural Resources and Environment
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

A brief description of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome:

IN-3: "Refocusing a College Portfolio towards Sustainability”

Established as a college in 1992, the College of Natural Resources and Environment at Virginia Tech is a national leader across existing traditional disciplines, but also in the emerging arena of sustainability.

In the past three years the college has led a transformation in name and programming towards themes of sustainability, including:

• Changing the name of the college from the College of Natural Resources to the College of Natural Resources and Environment

• Changing the name of the department of Forestry to the department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation.

• Changing the name of the department of Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences to the department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation.

• Changing the name of the department of Forest Products and Wood Science to the department of Sustainable Biomaterials. (http://cnre.vt.edu/magazine/articles/201208/call-it-sustainable-biomaterials.html)

• Introduced the first degree in meteorology in the state of Virginia in the department of Geography. http://cnre.vt.edu/magazine/articles/201202/new-meteorology-major-generates-a-storm-of-interest.html

• Hired a faculty member in the department of Geography with a focus on sustainability; he has developed a two semester sequence titled "Seeking Sustainability I & II" (http://geography.vt.edu/PEOPLE/baird.htm).

• Introducing a new minor in sustainability in the department of Geography.

• Introducing a new major in environmental informatics in the department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation.

• Introducing a new degree program in Packaging Science and Design in the department of Sustainable Biomaterials.

• Introducing a new degree program in Sustainable Biomaterials in the department of Sustainable Biomaterials.

• Modifying all existing course descriptions in the department of Sustainable Biomaterials to reflect a focus on sustainability.

• Conducted a branding study to rebrand the entire college portfolio, with a focus on sustainability. Results of this 18 month study resulted in new mission language for the college which can be read on our homepage at www.cnre.vt.edu This language reflects our new college brand ‘Advancing the Science of Sustainability’. Published a college prospectus of the same name that is available as a flipbook from our homepage (www.cnre.vt.edu).

• Established the Center for Natural Resources Assessment and Decision Support as a key effort in sustainability at a landscape level.

• Established the Student Leadership Institute for the most promising junior and senior students in the college to focus on leadership attributes needed for a sustainable future (http://cnre.vt.edu/students/leadership-institute/index.html).

• Coordinated a cluster hire of 7 new faculty members in concert with our sustainable water initiative (www.cnre.vt.edu).

The transformation of the College of Natural Resources and Environment academic portfolio of programs meets all of the STARS Innovation Criteria, and especially reflects criterion #1. Without wiping the slate of an entire college completely clean and starting over, the CNRE has transformed an already high quality portfolio into an even more meaningful portfolio with a focus on sustainability. CNRE's new college tag line or brand statement is "Advancing the Science of Sustainability."

To find out more about the CNRE's focus on sustainability, please see the "CNRE Magazine," which is published quarterly: http://cnre.vt.edu/magazine/index.html


A letter of affirmation from an individual with relevant expertise:
The website URL where information about the innovation is available:

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.