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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 67.88
Liaison Mary Easterling
Submission Date Sept. 14, 2017
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Pennsylvania State University
AC-7: Incentives for Developing Courses

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Mary Easterling
Assoc Director, Analysis & Assessment
Sustainability Institute
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have an ongoing program or programs that offer incentives for faculty in multiple disciplines or departments to develop new sustainability courses and/or incorporate sustainability into existing courses?:
Yes

A brief description of the program(s), including positive outcomes during the previous three years (e.g. descriptions of new courses or course content resulting from the program):

The Reinvention Fund is an internal competitive small grants program designed to foster integration of sustainability into teaching, research, outreach, and operations at Penn State. Faculty are eligible to apply for funding to develop innovative new courses, or to revamp existing academic programs to better incorporate sustainability concepts and issues. For example, one project was an overhaul of the Recreation, Parks, and Tourism Management curriculum to infuse sustainability concepts. Another was "Building Sustainable Communities through the Digital Global Classroom", that aimed to create nodes of community engagement on sustainability that utilize technology to link African students and communities with (1) a Penn State resident courses and, (2) local K-12 schools.

Penn State's Penn's Woods Program for faculty development offers workshops and online resources for faculty who wish to incorporate sustainability into their course offerings.

The online "Field Guide to Teaching Sustainability" is designed to make it easier for faculty to discover, implement, and share good curriculum. It includes a blog for idea exchange, a place to find and share assignments, and an extensive annotated list of sustainability education resources. Since it was relaunched in August 2016, about 10,000 unique viewers accessed the site over the following 10 months. http://sustainability.psu.edu/fieldguide/

Penn State recently added a new Integrative Studies (IS) requirement to its General Education curriculum, scheduled to affect the 2018-19 entering class. IS courses are designed to help students gain a broader understanding of how information can be integrated across different knowledge domains to boost learning. Sustainability courses fall into this realm. In Fall 2016, 16 faculty
fellows were appointed to help develop IS courses, and support other faculty in doing so. In Spring 2017 Penn State's Office of General Education sponsored a competitive seed grants program to incentivize faculty to develop new IS/ General Education courses. Penn State's Sustainability Institute participated in evaluating the IS course proposals, and has offered assistance to faculty who will be developing new IS courses that develop students' sustainability competencies.


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

Faculty have received funding to support curriculum revisions through the Reinvention Fund.

Penn's Woods Faculty Fellows receive training on educating for sustainability. In past years the Sustainability Institute awarded monetary prizes to faculty with an exceptional history of educating for sustainability.

Current General Education/ Integrative Studies Faculty Fellows receive a 10% salary supplement as summer pay. The GenEd Integrative Studies Seed Grant program offers a financial incentive for course development/ revisions.


The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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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.