Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 65.69
Liaison Jennifer Kleindienst
Submission Date April 5, 2023

STARS v2.2

Wesleyan University
AC-10: Support for Sustainability Research

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 3.00 / 4.00 Sheryl Culotta
Associate Provost
Academic Affairs
"---" 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:
The College of the Environment offers internships for students to do research on projects directly concerned with Environmental Studies under the guidance of a faculty mentor during the summer, fall, and spring semesters. These internships are available to students across the entire University. The internship awards up to $4400 to successful applicants. Summer internships can be awarded to students doing research off campus and outside the Middletown area as long as there is a well-developed plan for faculty mentorship. In 2022, 34 summer grants were awarded; 17 of those were for on-campus and/or Connecticut-based research. Read about summer 2022 projects at http://coexist.blogs.wesleyan.edu/2022/09/06/i-know-what-you-did-last-summer/ and about the fellowship program at http://coexist.blogs.wesleyan.edu/coe-fellowships/.

Earth & Environmental Sciences is a strong proponent for undergraduate research. Many students carry out research during both the academic year and the summer. They can receive academic credit for the research during the academic year. Oftentimes, research during the summer leads to a Senior Thesis the following academic year. Field work is emphasized throughout the department. Students also carry out smaller research projects in many of our classes (unusual to the Wesleyan sciences, many of our upper-level courses have associated labs, which allow for the time needed to do research). And all of our majors are required to take Senior Seminar, where they design original, field-based research projects. Historically, over January break the whole class has traveled to someplace warm to the collect the data needed for these projects (Puerto Rico and Hawaii); since 2021, these students have instead conducted local or on-campus research. And then students analyze, interpret, and present their projects during the spring semester. The 2021 cohort analyzed a parcel of Wesleyan land for its potential for carbon sequestration, reforestation, and other ecological benefits.

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:
Each year, the College of the Environment gathers a group of Wesleyan faculty, scholars of prominence from outside Wesleyan, and undergraduate students into a year-long academic Think Tank on a critical environmental issue. The aim of the Think Tank is not only to generate a deeper understanding of the thematic issue, but also to produce scholarly works that will influence national/international thinking and action on the issue. The Think Tank serves as a focal point for the global intellectual community concerned with the environment. Scholars and students in the think tank produce scholarly works by the end of the academic year. Learn more about past and present Think Tank topics at https://www.wesleyan.edu/coe/thinktank/index.html.

Academic Affairs awards internal project grants to faculty for research. While these are not specifically environmentally-related, they have and continue to be awarded to faculty for sustainability projects.

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:
Wesleyan acknowledges and values interdisciplinary, transdisciplinary, and multidisciplinary research, but does not have formal policies that reflect this. Wesleyan prioritizes teaching, scholarship, and colleagueship. Individual departments determine tenure and promotion expectations. In addition, Wesleyan has prioritized the creation of multidisciplinary programs and colleges over the past decade.

Departmental tenure and promotion guidelines are here: https://www.wesleyan.edu/acaf/vpaa.html.

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

A brief description of the institution’s library support for sustainability research:
Wesleyan's Olin Library supports the research and teaching of Earth and Environmental Sciences and other departments that have sustainability as part of their discipline. Resources include:
- Guide to resources in E&ES: http://libguides.wesleyan.edu/content.php?pid=26790&sid=193665
- Indexes and Databases for E&ES:

In addition, Wesleyan's Science Library provides research and reference support for sustainability research, including library instruction and personal research sessions to students engaged in researching sustainable options.

The Library Liaisons to Academic Departments program provides each faculty member with a personal contact to help convey information about library resources and services, and to whom library-related issues and questions may be addressed. These librarians might explain, for example, relevant databases and how to use them, possible class presentations, or procedures such as submitting scholarly output to WesScholar. Learn more at https://www.wesleyan.edu/libr/contactus/liaisons.html.

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:
Data was provided by Sheryl Culotta (Academic Affairs) and Andrew White (Olin Library).

Data was provided by Sheryl Culotta (Academic Affairs) and Andrew White (Olin 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 or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.