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  • AASHE-STARS

The Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System™ (STARS) is a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance.

Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 67.06
Liaison Allie Schwartz
Submission Date April 14, 2015
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

Columbia University
AC-7: Incentives for Developing Courses

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Alison Miller
Deputy Executive Director
Earth Institute
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have an ongoing incentives program or programs that meet the criteria for this credit?:
Yes

A brief description of the program(s), including positive outcomes during the previous three years:

The University offers various types of incentives to develop new courses. In certain programs, instructors are paid a financial incentive to develop new courses ($5,000 for the M.S. in Sustainability Management). In other cases, faculty are encouraged to develop new courses as part of their responsibilities with the Earth Institute (as opposed to their "home" department). These courses are offered through Earth Institute programs and typically open to multiple education programs. In other cases, research scientists (who are on soft money not faculty lines) may develop and teach new courses, which provides base salary support for their positions, reducing the amount the must raise through grants. This also attracts scientists who might not otherwise teach.

Much of this activity is led by the Earth Institute. The Earth Institute is a centrally administered (University wide) research & education organization that represents a unique model for academia. Faculty are associated with both the Earth Institute and another school or department at the University (i.e. the School of International and Public Affairs, the Engineering School, etc.). Because of this unique model, faculty are encourage to develop courses for interdisciplinary programs. For example, Columbia launched its PhD in Sustainable Development in 2004, and its M.S. in Sustainability Management and undergraduate Sustainable Development degree programs in the fall of 2010. Enhanced teaching opportunities were created by the university with 49 new courses to date having been created for these degrees alone. As sustainability degree offerings continue to expand, more faculty are incentivized to participate.


A brief description of the incentives that faculty members who participate in the program(s) receive:

As additional degrees, certificates, and concentrations are added faculty are encouraged to design courses to fulfill the changing needs of students. With these new courses, there is additional funding for instructing courses in sustainability and for professional development. The Earth Institute expands research, and ducational activities in conjunction with Columbia University schools and departments. The Earth Institute faculty coordinates undergraduate and graduate education programs and oversees the developments of new degree programs.These programs open up opportunities for researchers who don't have faculty lines to gain teaching experiences, which aside from financial incentives, provides important professional development. It allows faculty to come together and work in an interdisciplinary way.


The website URL where information about the incentive program(s) is available:
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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.