Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 66.39
Liaison Phil Valko
Submission Date March 4, 2022

STARS v2.2

Washington University in St. Louis
AC-10: Support for Sustainability Research

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Cassandra Hage
Sustainability Manager
Office of Sustainability
"---" 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:

Student participation in sustainability research is encouraged in multiple ways and through different paths. For example, additional support is available in internal pilot funding for faculty research projects to allocate funding for student participation; some programs are devoted directly to students; increasingly, large-scale projects are also looking for avenues to increase student participation in ways that align with curriculum and provide mentoring opportunities.

- The Environmental Studies Program (IMPACT Internships) offers paid internship positions at partner community organizations (at no cost to the organization), both during the school year and over the summer. Some of the IMPACT internships have research components. Students can come from any major area of study.

- The Living Earth Collaborative offers research courses to undergraduate students where they can conduct hands-on research alongside Principal Investigators in Anthropology and Biology departments, as well as mentor researchers from local institutions like the Saint Louis Zoo and the Missouri Botanical Gardens. Summer research internships are also available through the collaborative. (https://livingearthcollaborative.wustl.edu/undergraduate-research/internships-2/)

- Tyson Research Center has a summer research program where participants can work “elbow-to-elbow” with faculty or a staff PI on research projects at their offsite environmental field station.

- After a brief hiatus, The International Center for Energy, Environment, and Sustainability (INCEES) is re-launching a summer research internship program with 5 paid student researchers working on interdisciplinary sustainability research projects under the supervision of WashU PIs or faculty. Students can come from any major area of study. (2022)

- The Office of Undergraduate Research is designed to support, encourage and facilitate undergraduate research. Their BioSURF Program is designed to provide a mentored, ten week summer research program in the biological sciences (https://undergradresearch.wustl.edu/biosurf-program). The office also provides financial support for Summer Undergraduate Research Awards for non-life science fields. The Office of Undergraduate Research also posts internal and external research opportunities, including positions like the US Department of Energy’s Office of Science. Academic programs work with the Office of Undergraduate Research to ensure opportunities for research grants, fellowships, and internships are broadly available to the campus community.

Sustainability research published via the Office of Undergraduate Research can be sought via key word search here: https://openscholarship.wustl.edu/wuurd/

- In addition to traditional research opportunities, the Environment, Climate Change, and Sustainability Internship (ECCS) program is a collaboration by numerous departments to offer professional development, interdisciplinary exchange, and social activities for student interns at a variety of internship positions, including those that have research activities.

Funding is available through the Gephardt Institute and Career Center to support student work at unpaid internships in the community over the summer: http://gephardtinstitute.wustl.edu/goldman-fellows/. These programs are not specifically for sustainability and/or research, but many have sustainability research outcomes.

Together with funding from the Office of Undergraduate Research and Career Center, WashU ensures these opportunities are available to all students.

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:

Washington University has several internal funding programs to encourage faculty from multiple disciplines or academic programs to conduct research that falls under the broad umbrella of sustainability. Not all of these programs are explicitly in support of sustainability research, but they create the framework and provide support for the types of collaborations that often result in relevant research outcomes. A list of these programs, initiatives and support infrastructure include those listed below.

- As an outcome of the 2021 university strategic planning process, a new role, vice provost for interdisciplinary initiatives, was created to enhance interdisciplinary research and education across the Danforth Campus and to build the collaborations the community needs to ensure the successful implementation of the university’s strategic plan. The university strategic plan elevates signature areas (including sustainability) as opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration. As part of carrying out the strategic plan, we anticipate hiring faculty with joint appointments being highly desirable. To that end, the Office of the Vice Provost for Interdisciplinary Initiatives will facilitate a careful assessment of barriers to team science and teaching across units and schools.

- The Center for the Study of Race, Ethnicity & Equity (CRE2), launched in August 2020, brings the research force of Washington University to study how race and ethnicity are integral to the most complex and challenging issues of our time. The center is founded on the belief that field-defining research, innovative learning, and strategic engagement will transform scholarship, policy, and clinical interventions where race and ethnicity are at the center. The center has several grant programs, and accepts proposals that align with their key pillars and initiatives, which includes topics like environmental justice.

- The Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research offers planning grants for interdisciplinary research, which provides funds to support interdisciplinary teams to initiate early stage project development or assist with the proposal development associated with submission of a large/complex proposal. Planning Grants help initiate new interdisciplinary research programs by creating and building teams, mapping out opportunities, and broadening the partnerships and networks that will result in successful extramural funding. These funds may be used to support organizational activities that enable submission of a large proposal to an external sponsor, which could include symposiums, workshops, etc. Planning Grants are up to $10,000 over one year. This program is currently on hold.

- The Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship Lab (SEIL) serves as a needed incubator for the creation of new ideas that can advance positive social change as well as generate revenue to create new pathways for social change in St. Louis and beyond.

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 Washington University in St. Louis Policy on Academic Freedom, Responsibility, and Tenure (https://wustl.edu/about/compliance-policies/academic-policies/tenure/) is the primary policy regarding responsibilities of faculty members and establishes expectations for teaching and research. In 2010 the Office of the Provost established a Policy on Joint Appointments to govern expectations and promotion expectations for faculty engaged in interdisciplinary research via formal joint appointments between academic departments (https://provost.wustl.edu/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/policy_on_joint_appointments_final.pdf). Formal steps are taken to solicit faculty feedback on this issue. The faculty survey conducted by the university includes a question specifically on whether each respondent feels that “interdisciplinary research is recognized and rewarded by my department/unit."

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 employs subject librarians. Within the broad umbrella of sustainability librarians are assigned to Architecture, Biology, Environmental Studies, Public Health, and Urban Studies. Other reference experts in additional fields also help students, faculty and staff find sustainability resources. For a full list of subject experts please visit - http://library.wustl.edu/research-instruction/subjectlibrarians/librariansbysub/.

Research Guides are also available on a number of topics, including Environmental Studies, Earth & Planetary Sciences, Anthropology, and Local History - http://libguides.wustl.edu/. Sample of guides: Environmental Studies, GIS, Topics in Environmental History, Online St. Louis History, Culture & Heritage Resources, Practical Skills in Environmental Ecology Research.

The library is also a key resource in complying with open access policies for publications.

In addition, The Washington University library system is supportive of, and engaged in, the broader sustainability efforts on campus. They have installed scanners throughout the University Libraries (all Libraries except Law, Medicine, and Social Work). These scanners allow patrons to scan Library materials and e-mail them to an address of their choosing or save the scanned images to a flash drive instead of using copiers. This service is provided at no charge and is available to students, faculty, staff, and Library visitors.

Many library departments within WashU also participate in the Green Office Program, and pursue certification for their office spaces.

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

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