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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 69.67
Liaison Trina Innes
Submission Date June 30, 2017
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

University of Alberta
AC-1: Academic Courses

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 8.45 / 14.00 Justis Allard
Academic Assistant
Office of the Provost
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Figures required to calculate the percentage of courses offered by the institution that are sustainability course offerings:
Undergraduate Graduate
Total number of courses offered by the institution 3,837 2,011
Number of sustainability courses offered 133 36
Number of courses offered that include sustainability 248 94

Percentage of courses that are sustainability course offerings:
8.74

Total number of academic departments (or the equivalent) that offer courses (at any level):
74

Number of academic departments (or the equivalent) that offer at least one sustainability course and/or course that includes sustainability (at any level):
55

Percentage of academic departments with sustainability course offerings:
74.32

A copy of the institution’s inventory of its sustainability course offerings and descriptions:
Do the figures reported above cover one, two, or three academic years?:
Three

A brief description of the methodology used to determine the total number of courses offered and to identify sustainability course offerings, including the definitions used and the process for reviewing and/or validating the course inventory :

The definition of the criteria for a “sustainability course” versus a “course that includes sustainability” is now included in Section G. Standards and terms of the credit AC1 (henceforth the terms “sustainability-focused” and “sustainability related” courses will be used as equivalent terminology). The working definition of sustainability, developed by the Provost’s Academic Advisory Council on Sustainability (PAACS) was used in the University of Alberta’s 2014 STARS submission and reused for this submission.

The dean of each faculty (or chair of each department) was sent the working definition of sustainability and criteria for identifying sustainability-focused and sustainability-related courses, and asked to forward this to a designated contact in their academic division. These contacts were asked to consider the criteria and to identify courses within their academic division that fit the criteria for sustainability-focused or sustainability-related courses, and that had been offered at least once between the Fall 2014 semester and Winter 2017 semesters inclusive. If it was not clear from the course description how a recommended course fit the criteria for sustainability-focused or sustainability-related courses, and syllabi were not available online, the content experts were asked to send copies of the course syllabus.

After this, a survey of the course catalog for each academic department was conducted to identify additional sustainability course offerings. Each course description was reviewed with the criteria for “sustainability-focused” and “sustainability related”, and the working definition of sustainability. Where courses were found that had not been identified by a department contact, they were included provisionally on the initial catalogue of sustainability courses. If the course description was unclear, the online course syllabus was used to identify course learning outcomes to categorize the course as sustainability-focused, sustainability-related or not sustainability-related. Where syllabi were not available online, department contacts were asked to provide copies. Where a faculty contact could not be established, the initial list of sustainability courses was created entirely through a review of the course catalogue. Additional resources such as the list of sustainability courses for the undergraduate Certificate in Sustainability were also used to identify sustainability course offerings.

Course descriptions, number of separate course offerings, contact information for instructors, and links to syllabi (where possible) where gathered from the course catalogue. Additional course information was also collected from department websites, instructors, and other department contacts.

A course was only included in the initial inventory of sustainability courses if two or more of the following conditions were met:

1) After reviewing the working definition of sustainability and criteria for identifying sustainability-focused or sustainability-related courses, a department contact of content expert identified the course as being sustainability-focused or sustainability-related.

2) The course description in the course calendar met the criteria for sustainability-related or sustainability-focused courses; or the learning outcomes, objectives or topics described in the course syllabus met the criteria for sustainability-related or sustainability-focused courses.

3) The course had been previously identified as a sustainability-focused or sustainability-related course in another sustainability course inventory (e.g. STARS 2014 submission) and had not been ruled out do to a change in the inventory criteria (i.e. the addition of a universal criteria for what constitutes a “sustainability course” versus a “course that includes sustainability” in STARS version 2.0).

Each faculty contact was asked to identify a course content expert within their academic division. This content expert was provided our initial list of sustainability-focused and sustainability-related courses for final review and approval. Contact details for these content experts are included in this submission. Where a content expert could not be identified, none was included and any questions should be directed to the Office of Sustainability.

Finally, we collected an inventory of all unique courses which had been offered at least once between the Fall 2014 semester and Winter 2017 semester inclusive, by all academic departments excluding extension courses. From this list, we removed all courses which fit the definitions for courses that could be excluded based on the criteria for AC1. Examples of excluded courses include all independent studies (including “individual study”, “independent study and research”, “directed research project”, “directed studies”, “individual research projects”, “essays”, “honors essays”, and “Undergraduate research monitoring”), all special topics (including “topics” and “selected topics”), and all physical education and performance arts (including music and drama courses).

This list of total unique course offerings was compared to our list of sustainability focused and related courses in order to determine the final tally.


How were courses with multiple offerings or sections counted for the figures reported above?:
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):
---

Are the following course types included in the inventory? :
Yes (included) or No (not included)
Internships No
Practicums No
Independent study No
Special topics No
Thesis / dissertation No
Clinical No
Physical education No
Performance arts No

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

Content Expert for the Faculty of Agriculture, Life, and Environmental Sciences:
Dr. Scott Jeffrey
Associate Dean (Academic)

Content Expert for Campus Saint-Jean:
Antoine Bregeaud
Coordonnateur Développement durable / Sustainability Coordinator

Content Expert for the Faculty of Extension:
Dr. Christie Schultz
Assistant Dean (Academic)

Content Expert for the Faculty of Native Studies:
Dr. Nathalie Kermoal
Associate Dean (Academic)

Content Expert for the School of Public Health:
Dr. Jeffrey Johnson
Associate Dean (Education)

NOTES:

The number of academic department used in AC-1 excludes one department compared to the number used in IC-3 (the department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine) as this department has not offered any courses during the assessment period.

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.