Log In
  • 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 Silver
Overall Score 50.89
Liaison Nicholas Kordesch
Submission Date Feb. 15, 2017
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

San Francisco State University
AC-1: Academic Courses

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 6.02 / 14.00 Rachelle Caterson
Student Assistant
Office of Sustainability

Criteria

Institution has conducted an inventory during the previous three years to identify its sustainability course offerings for current and prospective students. Sustainability course offerings include:

  • Courses that have been identified as “sustainability courses” and “courses that include sustainability” using the definitions provided in G. Standards and Terms.
  • Courses that have been formally designated as sustainability course offerings in the institution’s standard course listings or catalog.

For each course, the inventory provides:

  • The title, department (or equivalent), and level of the course (e.g., undergraduate or graduate).
  • A brief description of the course.
  • An indication of whether the course is a “sustainability course” or a “course that includes sustainability” (or equivalent terminology).

A course may be a sustainability course or it may include sustainability; no course should be identified as both. Courses for which partial or incomplete information is provided may not be counted toward earning points for this credit. This credit does not include continuing education and extension courses, which are covered by the Continuing Education credit in Public Engagement.

For guidance on conducting a course inventory and distinguishing between sustainability courses and courses that include sustainability, see F. Measurement, G. Standards and Terms, andthe Credit Example, below. An institution that has developed a more refined approach to course classification may use that approach as long as it is consistent with the definitions and guidance provided.

Part 1

Institution offers sustainability course content as measured by the percentage of courses offered that are sustainability course offerings.

The total number of courses offered and the number of sustainability course offerings must be counted in the same manner; see F. Measurement.

Part 2

Institution offers sustainability course content as measured by the percentage of academic departments (or the equivalent) with sustainability course offerings.


Applicability

This credit applies to all institutions.


Scoring

An institution must identify its sustainability course offerings per the minimum criteria outlined above to earn points for this credit. Each part is scored independently.

Part 1

Institutions earn the maximum of 8 points for Part 1 of this credit if 20 percent or more of all courses offered by the institution are sustainability courses and/or courses that include sustainability. Incremental points are awarded based on the percentage of course offerings that are sustainability courses and/or courses that include sustainability. For example, an institution where 4 percent of all courses offered are sustainability courses and 6 percent are courses that include sustainability would earn 4 points (half of the points available for Part 1 of this credit).

Points for Part 1 of this credit are calculated automatically in the STARS Reporting Tool as follows:

Course type

Factor

 

Number of courses offered of each type

 

Total number of courses offered by the institution

 

Points earned

Sustainability courses

40

×

______

÷

______

=

 

Courses that include sustainability

40

______

 

Total points earned ->

Up to 8

Part 2

Institutions earn the maximum of 6 points for Part 2 of this credit when 90 percent or more of academic departments or their equivalent offer at least one sustainability course or one course that includes sustainability. Incremental points are available based on the percentage of academic departments that have sustainability course offerings. For example, if 45 percent of the departments at an institution offered one or more sustainability courses, that institution would earn 3 points (half of the points available for Part 2 of this credit).

Points for Part 2 of this credit are calculated automatically in the STARS Reporting Tool as follows:

Factor

 

Number of departments with sustainability course offerings

 

Total number of departments

 

Points earned

6⅔

×

______

÷

______

=

Up to 6


Measurement

Timeframe

Report the most recent data available from within the three years prior to the anticipated date of submission.

Institutions may choose to inventory and report course offerings from one, two, or three academic years, as long as both the total number of courses offered and the number of sustainability course offerings are measured during the same period.

Sampling and Data Standards

Each institution is free to choose a methodology to identify sustainability courses that is most appropriate given its unique circumstances. Asking faculty and departments to self-identify sustainability courses and courses that include sustainability using the definitions outlined in G. Standards and Terms or looking at the stated learning outcomes and course objectives associated with each course may provide a richer view of sustainability course offerings than simply reviewing course descriptions, but it is not required.

To best reflect the number of opportunities students have to learn about sustainability, it is recommended that institutions count each time a course is offered as a separate course (e.g., a course with two sections taught in the fall term and two sections taught during spring term would count as four courses). To streamline the data gathering process, however, institutions may elect to count a course with multiple offerings as a single course as long as sustainability course offerings are counted in the same way as total course offerings. For example, a course that is held twice (or if there are two sections) in the fall term and once in the spring term may be counted as 3 courses or 1 course, as long as the institution’s course counting methodology is consistent. An institution that elects not to count each time a course is offered as a separate course should verify that 50 percent or more of the sections or offerings of a course include sustainability to count the course as inclusive of sustainability.

Likewise, institutions may choose whether or not to count courses listed in multiple departments or academic divisions as separate courses. For example, a course that is cross-listed in two departments or that is listed as both an undergraduate and a graduate course may be counted as one or two courses, as long as the institution’s methodology is consistent.

Each department with one or more sustainability course offering may be counted toward Part 2 of this credit, even if the courses are offered or administered jointly with other departments. Courses that are offered independently of any department are not considered in Part 2.

The following course types may be excluded, as long as they are excluded from both the count of sustainability course offerings and the count of total courses:

  • Individually-directed courses (e.g., thesis, independent study, practicum);
  • Courses of four or fewer students;
  • Special topics courses;
  • Physical education courses;
  • Performance arts courses; and
  • Clinical courses offered exclusively to doctor’s degree-professional practice students.

Courses must have been been taught during the specified timeframe of one, two or three academic years to count (e.g., as opposed to being listed in a course catalog, but not taught).

Courses offered by outside entities (e.g., courses offered by other colleges that are part of a consortium with the institution or courses offered through study abroad programs that are not administered by the institution) should not be counted in the reporting institution’s course inventory. However, courses developed and offered jointly by multiple institutions that are listed in the reporting institution’s course catalog may be counted. In such circumstances, courses should be counted consistently. This means that if sustainability courses offered jointly by the participating institution and another entity are included in the inventory, jointly offered courses without sustainability content should be included as well.   

Institutions that do not have academic departments should report fields of study, programs, subject areas or the equivalent.

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.