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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 Silver
Overall Score 58.11
Liaison Melissa Tier
Submission Date April 19, 2017
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Swarthmore College
AC-7: Incentives for Developing Courses

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Betsy Bolton
Professor of English Literature, Chair of Environmental Studies
English Literature and Environmental Studies
"---" 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):

In Fall 2012, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation awarded Swarthmore College $591,000 to support a series of Tri-College activities in Environmental Studies, including establishing GIS expertise and curriculum; curriculum development workshops; course development; coordinated project-based learning opportunities integrated into the curriculum; and coordinated Tri-College events, such as capstone research project presentations, outside speaker series, and poster sessions. In addition, Swarthmore College received a million dollar match grant from Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Swarthmore received Mellon funding to support course development in ENVS, and courses developed included Our Food, GIS for Public Health, Visions of the End, Earth's Climate, and others. The Mellon proposal secured a matching grant funding an endowment that produces roughly $20K per year through the following:
Course replacement and course development funds to increase flexibility and sustain depth of Environmental Studies offerings. The complicated logistics of teaching loads and core curriculum often lead to faculty who want to teach in interdisciplinary programs being unable to do so due to responsibilities to their home departments. We propose to establish a pool of funds that can be used to:
• bring in a visiting instructor on a course‐by‐course basis to teach a departmental course, thus freeing a Swarthmore faculty member to teach an Environmental Studies offering
• bring in a visiting instructor to teach an Environmental Studies course to supplement our faculty or to provide instruction when certain faculty are on leave.

These funds are critical to the success of a robust Environmental Studies program. Swarthmore is committed to providing as many of these stipends and replacements as necessary to ensure a consistently substantial environmental studies program and to working with each affected home department to ensure that the key courses needed for their majors are taught and taught well."


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

These funds have been used to provide support for our faculty to develop a new course, learning new material and methods that may be far outside their areas of training. Thus we would also use these funds to provide a stipend, primarily for summer work, for Swarthmore faculty to develop new environmental studies courses or significant elements of courses or special projects. Faculty members are paid a $6,000 summer salary for course development.


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.