|Submission Date||March 4, 2020|
Warren Wilson College
AC-10: Support for Sustainability Research
|4.00 / 4.00||
Sustainability Project Coordinator
Finance and Administration
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:
Warren Wilson students of all majors are required to complete a capstone research project for graduation. Mentorship is central to the research and students of all majors select faculty mentor/s with whom to work. Engagement with sustainability-related challenges and demonstration of interdisciplinary understanding are among the requirements of an undergraduate degree. Sustainable practices are common to most student work crews. Therefore, it is common for students of all majors to select sustainability-related themes for their research.
Natural Science Undergraduate Research Sequence (NSURS)
This undergraduate research project is a major component of a science student's career at Warren Wilson. All students majoring in Biology, Chemistry, Environmental Studies, and Mathematics undertake a major research project in their junior/senior year for presentation to the community before graduation. Their topics often reflect sustainability themes such as the following capstone projects presented in 2018: "No-till barley within a pasture based crop rotation: a feasibility study;" "Warren Wilson rice production: a regional feasibility study;" and "Powered by waste: an analysis on how using microbes used in wastewater treatment change when used in a microbial fuel cell." See the following list for examples of additional sustainability-related NSURS student research projects: http://wwcnscapstone.org/2019/05/16/4624/
The Capstone Project for all other majors is designed to help students distill their learning into a signature research project that demonstrates how they have attained the critical thinking skills required for interdisciplinary understanding of complex issues. Sustainability-related research themes are common for capstones. The following examples of capstone projects demonstrate this lens: "Perspectives on Cultural Representations, Marginalized People, and Power across the Globe (Global Studies);" "Race, Power, and Place: Lakota Lessons from Pine Ridge Reservation;" "Students, Hippies, Architects, and Voters: Tales of Politics and History from Western North Carolina;" "We're Talkin' Bodies: How Mothers, Students, and Transgender People Break Boundaries." See https://www.warren-wilson.edu/academics/capstone/ and the "Capstone Carnival" document attached to this report for more information.
Research and travel funds are available for qualified students for work on their capstone projects.
Select capstone projects for all majors are featured annually in the student-managed publication, "Auspex." (https://issuu.com/warrenwilsoncollege/docs/auspex_vi)
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:
Warren Wilson has at least three specific programs that support and encourage faculty research. Interdisciplinarity is a scholarly requirement for faculty and, sustainability is a unifying campus ethos, thus many faculty also access research opportunities into sustainability from programs not necessarily designated for that purpose.
Building Diversity/The Change Project, as described in AC-7: Incentives for Developing Courses, provides research funding for participating Fellows. This is a sustainability-related program.
Through the generous endowment of the Mellon Foundation and the College's commitment of operating funds, the College supports scholarly and pedagogical development of our faculty. The Director of the Center for Faculty Innovation and Excellence manages these funds and supports research for approved projects, many of which are sustainability-related and some of which are sabbatical sustainability-related research projects.
Appalachian College Association (ACA):
The ACA is a regional grant-giving consortium of colleges and universities of which Warren Wilson College is a member. They often provide travel and research grants as well as support for development seminars, conferences and extended research sabbaticals for our faculty. Many recent sabbatical projects have been sustainability-related.
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:
The Warren Wilson College definition of scholarship explicitly includes the "Scholarship of Integration" (interdisciplinary, transdisciplinary, multidisciplinary) and "the Scholarship of Application" (research that asks, “how can knowledge be responsibly applied to consequential problems?”). These are two of the four types of scholarship in the "Boyer" model, which years ago Warren Wilson's faculty voted in favor of as guidelines. This positive recognition of the importance of these kinds of scholarship has also entered the most recent faculty contract review document:
III.A.2. Scholarship, Creative Activity and Professional Growth
The College expects its professors to contribute to the body of knowledge in their respective fields. These activities broaden our understanding of the world, and they also serve as foundation for our teaching. In addition, the College believes that to be an effective teacher and model, professors must be engaged, actively contributing as a scholar and/or practitioner.
As such, the College expects professors to demonstrate their continued engagement in scholarship and/or creative activity. Such activity can involve any of the domains well described by Ernest Boyer (1990, 1996) and adopted by the faculty in terms of sabbatical scholarship, including the scholarship of discovery (which includes creative activity), the scholarship of integration, the scholarship of application, the scholarship of teaching, and the scholarship of engagement. In addition, the College expects professors to remain current in trends in higher education, remain current in research fields, and continue to grow professionally and intellectually. Further, the College recognizes that currency is developed and professional growth occurs via on-campus activities, at attended conferences and trainings, or via service to the profession.
Does the institution have ongoing library support for sustainability research and learning?:
A brief description of the institution’s library support for sustainability research:
The library supports sustainability research and learning by providing access to information resources in all formats. Resources supporting environmental and social justice topics comprise two areas in which our collections are especially strong because these fields of inquiry are also emphases of our overall curriculum. Our discovery tool "Owl Search" facilitates the finding of resources since it allows patrons to search across our entire collections (books, journals, videos, documents, etc.) What we do not have in house or electronically we can access via inter-library loan. The tool called eResources A-Z allows patrons to identify full-text electronic resources to which we have access and is therefore an asset to research in all fields, including sustainability research. The library also provides research workshops and individual research support sessions available to students working on all aspects of sustainability studies.
Website URL where information about the institution’s support for sustainability research is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
Data for this report was gathered from the Director of the Center for Faculty Innovation and Excellence, the Dean of Academics, the Division Chair for Social Sciences and the Director of the Library.
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.