Overall Rating Silver - expired
Overall Score 54.15
Liaison Leslie North
Submission Date March 3, 2017
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Western Kentucky University
AC-2: Learning Outcomes

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 0.93 / 8.00
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Total number of graduates from degree programs (i.e. majors, minors, concentrations, certificates, and other academic designations):

Number of students that graduate from programs that have adopted at least one sustainability learning outcome:

Percentage of students who graduate from programs that have adopted at least one sustainability learning outcome:

Do the figures reported above cover one, two, or three academic years?:

Does the institution specify sustainability learning outcomes at the institution level (e.g. covering all students)?:

Does the institution specify sustainability learning outcomes at the division level (e.g. covering particular schools or colleges within the institution)?:

A list or brief description of the institution level or division level sustainability learning outcomes:

In Fall 2014, WKU implemented a new general education model called the Colonnade Program. The Colonnade Program is now the core academic program at WKU. These general education requirements are an integral part of the undergraduate curriculum that both complement and support the student's preparation in their specific field.
WKU requires that all undergraduate degree-seeking students successfully complete a general education curriculum that represents a substantial component of each degree program (15 hours for associates degrees and 39 hours for baccalaureate degrees).
Courses in the Colonnade Program teach students to think critically, solve problems, and communicate effectively. Through these courses, students are encouraged to explore the connections among different areas of study in order to understand their roles as students and citizens. In short, the Colonnade Program is intended to promote intellectual curiosity and to instill a love of learning.
The student learning outcomes (SLOs) are as follows:
1. Knowledge of human cultures and the physical and natural world, including:
a. An informed acquaintance with major achievements in the arts and the humanities
b. An appreciation of the complexity and variety of the world's cultures;
c. An understanding of the scientific method and a knowledge of natural science and its relevance in our lives;
d. A historical perspective and an understanding of connections between past and present.
2. Intellectual and practical skills, including:
a. The capacity for critical and logical thinking;
b. Proficiency in reading, writing, and speaking;
c. The ability to understand and apply mathematical skills and concepts.
3. Personal and social responsibility, including:
a. An understanding of society and human behavior;
b. An understanding of factors that enhance health, well-being, and quality of life.
4. Integrative Learning, including:
a. Synthesis and advanced accomplishments across general and specialized studies.

Additionally, the following Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs) are unique to the WKU Colonnade General Education Program – ("WKU Connections")
Social to Cultural
• Analyze the development of self in relation to others an society.
• Examine diverse values that form civically engaged and informed members of society.
• Evaluate solutions to real-world social and cultural problems.
Local to Global
• Analyze issues on local and global scales.
• Examine the local and global interrelationships of one or more issues.
• Evaluate the consequences of decision-making on local and global scales.
• Analyze how systems evolve.
• Compare the study of individual components to the analysis of entire systems.
• Evaluate how system-level thinking informs decision-making, public policy, and/or the sustainability of the system itself.

More information can be found at:

Does the institution specify sustainability learning outcomes at the program level (i.e. majors, minors, concentrations, degrees, diplomas, certificates, and other academic designations)?:

A list or brief description of the program level sustainability learning outcomes (or a list of sustainability-focused programs):

WKU has a number of program level sustainability-focused programs:
A few examples include:
The Department of Geology and Geography departmental learning outcomes are as follows:
Students have developed the knowledge, skills, and attitudes that lead toward life-long learning and enhanced life opportunities;
Students understand and appreciate the diverse nature of people who live together in a world of diminishing distance;
Students can apply the technological knowledge, skills, attitudes, and flexibility needed to succeed in a rapidly changing environment;
Students have developed the cognitive processes and dispositions necessary to think critically, to analyze problems in context, and to make sound and intelligent decisions;
Students have acquired and utilize the body of knowledge, and have developed the constellation of skills, associated with their discipline, interdisciplinary areas of specialty, or professional field;
Students can gather and utilize information to enhance knowledge, and can use communication skills to convey meaning effectively and accurately;
Students have developed fundamental skills in the geosciences, use geoscience in their chosen fields, and understand how the geosciences can be used in analysis and problem solving.

Diversity and Community Studies MA in Social Responsibility and Sustainable Communities.
Examples of program learning outcomes:
• analyze the ways in which social justice, environment, and community intersect;
• engage in a real-world “intentional community” with their cohort;
• synthesize program learning in context of an individualized scholarly concern.
· Develop research projects based on community-building, shared decision-making; & reciprocity;
· Analyze the intersections among community-building, sustainability, social justice, and community-based research methods;
· Critically evaluate power dynamics in research design, research methods, and in community & academic organizations.

MBA program Graduate certificate for Business Sustainability
No outcomes specified, but program courses can be viewed at the link above. There is one required core course and three electives, to complete a 12 hour certificate. This certificate is available to anyone, not just business students. We did not include these courses in AC 1 as sustainability courses because they are not consistently offered, but rather offered on a rotation.
Additionally, the three elective courses may at times vary with visiting scholar subject experts or with special topics courses. All meet sustainability course criteria, but due to the inconsistent nature of the course specificity we do not include these in our sustainability course listing. One additional note - if the courses are not available due to low enrollment, these students may complete an independent study, or enroll in an SRSC course to fulfill the program requirements.
Course examples include:
Survey of Business Sustainability Issues
-Survey course introduces key business sustainability issues. (Required Core Course)
Sustainable Business Operations
-Examines the value chain perspective and identifies opportunities for sustainable actions and policies – topics like Triple Bottom Line, Lean & Six Sigma, Life Cycle Assessment, Carbon Disclosure, LEED Building, and Design for Environment.
Sustainability, Innovation, & Entrepreneurship
-Explores the intersection of public policy and business interests, and the implications for
entrepreneurship, innovation, and sustainability – topics like sustainable, green, and global
entrepreneurship, and business opportunities in sustainability.
Sustainability Marketing
-Examines how sustainability impacts marketing & how marketing impacts sustainability – topics like fraudulent business sustainability initiatives, interdependencies among stakeholders, and creating effective sustainability marketing strategies.
A description of the certificate can be viewed here:

Do course level sustainability learning outcomes contribute to the figure reported above (i.e. in the absence of program, division, or institution level learning outcomes)?:

A list or brief description of the course level sustainability learning outcomes and the programs for which the courses are required:

The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
Data source(s) and notes about the submission:

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.