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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 57.39
Liaison Tina Woolston
Submission Date Nov. 12, 2015
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

Tufts University
AC-7: Incentives for Developing Courses

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Antje Danielson
Administrative Director, Tufts Institute of the Environment & Water: Systems, Science and Society (WSSS) program
Tufts Institute of the Environment
"---" 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:

TELI, the Tufts Environmental Literacy Institute, is an annual multi-day faculty development workshop that is intended to enhance faculty environmental literacy, with a goal of assisting participants to incorporate these themes into existing or new courses. The ultimate goal of the TELI program is to increase the exposure and knowledge of all Tufts students to enable them to effectively engage with the issues that will shape their generation. Emphasis is placed on recruiting faculty participants from a wide range of disciplines. Past workshops have included interactive presentations by a variety of experts in the field of environmental science and policy, field-based learning experiences, access to a range of resources for course development, and opportunities to share creative teaching experiences with other faculty.

TELI is advertised to all of Tufts' campuses and is open to any Tufts faculty or teaching graduate student. The intention is to make teachers more familiar with environmental issues and to give them the tools to integrate them into their curriculum - irrespective of which department or school they teach in. The participants apply through a registration form, and to date we have never turned anyone away.

The Tufts Institute of the Environment (TIE) funds the faculty facilitators' stipends, participant stipends, and other course needs. TIE also provides logistical support of the program: TIE staff organize the rooms, the food, coordinate the people who oversee each day, etc.

TIE specifically allocates $10,000 - $15,000 towards the development of new content and curriculum for courses related to sustainability.

The WSSS program, Water: Systems, Science and Society, an interdisciplinary certificate program for graduate students, is given money every year to further develop their program and courses.

The university provides funds and resources for the development of new sustainability courses and programs. For example, over the last 5 years:

A masters program in conservation medicine was created with $100,000.
An engineering course in water resource management was created with $8,000.
A course on climate change and health remote sensing was created with $15,000.
50% of the Tufts University Seminars were in the area of environmental sustainability ($85,000 in the last five years).
Three Experimental College (http://www.excollege.tufts.edu/) courses have been funded ($24,000).

Faculty can apply for grants to develop university seminar courses through the Office of the Provost. Because these courses are focused on topics that cross disciplines, sustainability courses have been selected, including:

-One Health: Interdisciplinary Approaches to People, Animals, & the Environment (Spring 2011)
This Seminar will draw graduate and upper-level undergraduate students together to develop interdisciplinary perspectives on one of three pressing global health issues: the emergence of infectious disease, the pursuit of sustainable agriculture, and the loss of biodiversity. Faculty from all three campuses will provide expertise and guidance for individual and group teaching and learning. Students will examine and represent their discipline's perspective and tools to other group members; learn and incorporate other disciplines into their own thinking; and collaborate with others on the development of new, synthesized solutions. The course will prepare students and faculty to address complex global health challenges from an interdisciplinary team-oriented approach and set a framework for similar cross-school collaborative learning and teaching experiences at Tufts. Topic for 2011 Seminar: Anticipating disease outbreaks in a globalized world.

-CIS 201-01/BIO 185-01/NUTR 241-01: Food for all: Ecology, biotechnology & sustainability (Spring 2013 and Spring 2015)
With the human population expected to exceed 9 billion by 2050, how will we meet the increasing demand for food in an ecologically sustainable way? Historically, rapid increases in yield have been a result of advances in three main technologies: (1) genetic improvement; (2) use of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers; and (3) expanded irrigation. Each of these technological advances, however, has limitations or has led to significant environmental degradation. There is an urgent need for new approaches to food production without destroying the environment. In this interdisciplinary course, we will examine the pros and cons of divergent approaches to meeting this food demand. Using crops grown in developing and industrialized countries as case studies, we will evaluate: (1) how ecological knowledge makes food production more sustainable; (2) what existing and emerging approaches can, in the face of climate change, contribute to a reliable supply of nutritious food; and (3) the political and economic drivers that shape who has access to these technologies. We will also explore stakeholder-specific perspectives (growers, advocacy groups, industry, governmental agencies), as well as develop important communication skills for negotiating these different perspectives.


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

Participants in TELI receive a stipend (funded by the Tufts Institute of the Environment) which varies from year to year. Participants also have access to course development resources through an internal website.

Faculty who develop and teach new classes related to environmental sustainability can apply for funding to be 'bought out' of their usual teaching responsibilities for a semester.

The Tufts Innovates program (http://provost.tufts.edu/celt/tufts-innovates/) compensates faculty for their time spent on course development.


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

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.