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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 68.76
Liaison Kimberly Williams
Submission Date Feb. 27, 2015
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

George Washington University
AC-1: Academic Courses

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 8.27 / 14.00 Lisa Benton-Short
Director of the Sustainability Academic Program
Department of Geography
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Figures required to calculate the percentage of courses with sustainability content::
Undergraduate Graduate
Total number of courses offered by the institution 1,821 2,129
Number of sustainability courses offered 76 142
Number of courses offered that include sustainability 93 88

Number of academic departments (or the equivalent) that offer at least one sustainability course and/or course that includes sustainability (at any level):
33

Total number of academic departments (or the equivalent) that offer courses (at any level):
52

Number of years covered by the data:
One

A copy of the institution’s inventory of its course offerings with sustainability content (and course descriptions):
An inventory of the institution's course offerings with sustainability content (and course descriptions):

The inventory is uploaded above.


The website URL where the inventory of course offerings with sustainability content is publicly available:
A brief description of the methodology the institution followed to complete the course inventory:

This inventory was developed using three processes. First, GW has a formal designation for sustainability courses that are pre-approved for credit toward the Minor in Sustainability. These courses receive a "Green Leaf" designation by the Sustainability Academic Program Director, and the Green Leaf is displayed in the course catalog. The Green Leaf designation was originally intended for undergraduates. But by popular demand, we have begun to identify sustainability graduate courses with a Green Leaf. To obtain a "Green Leaf" designation, the course must address issues around social, economic, and/or environmental sustainability and include at least three of the following criteria:

1.Content related to sustainable development: creating healthy and thriving resource systems for all
2.Content related to environmental issues
3.Content related to social issues that can be applied to sustainable development such as human welfare, social equity issues or social / organizational / behavioral change
4.Content related to economic issues that can be applied to sustainable development
5.Discourse focused on the interconnection of world resources and the human condition from a long-term perspective
6.Content related to policy and communications issues that can be applied to sustainable development

The Director of the Sustainability Academic Program and the Executive Director of Sustainability, with review and input by faculty members of the GW faculty Committee on Sustainability, added courses to this inventory that are not currently Green Leaf courses. To be listed as a "Green Leaf" course, a faculty member must opt in. In some cases, we have strong sustainability courses but for whatever reason, the professor has chosen not to have it designated. We included these in this inventory. Finally, we contacted faculty engaged in sustainability research and asked about the courses they were teaching and whether there was sustainability content. In many cases, the answer was yes. We added these courses to the inventory.

We only counted courses offered on our main campuses and, for the purposes of this inventory and because there are no real electives, eliminated the nursing and medical schools from this inventory.

GW defines departments by those subdivisions with a department Chairperson. The number 52 represents all GW departments excluding the school of medicine (we would also exclude nursing, however the school of nursing does not have departments).

The entire GW course directory, with course descriptions, is found at: http://bulletin.gwu.edu/courses/.


How did the institution count courses with multiple offerings or sections in the inventory?:
Each course was counted as a single course regardless of the number of offerings or sections

A brief description of how courses with multiple offerings or sections were counted (if different from the options outlined above):
---

Which of the following course types were included in the inventory?:
Yes or No
Internships No
Practicums No
Independent study No
Special topics Yes
Thesis/dissertation No
Clinical No
Physical education No
Performance arts No

Does the institution designate sustainability courses in its catalog of course offerings?:
Yes

Does the institution designate sustainability courses on student transcripts?:
No

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.