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The Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System™ (STARS) is a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance.

Overall Rating Expired
Overall Score Expired
Liaison Aine Keogh
Submission Date June 28, 2013
Executive Letter Download

STARS v1.2

University of Calgary
ER-5: Sustainability Course Identification

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete Expired Justin Brown
Sustainability Coordinator
Office of Sustainability
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Has the institution developed a definition of sustainability in the curriculum?:

A copy of the institution's definition of sustainability in the curriculum?:

Sustainability Defintition
The University of Calgary’s Sustainability Policy, and the Institutional Sustainability Plan (draft), have both adopted the following sustainability definition after committee and faculty review:

“Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”
~Brundtland Commision (1987)

Has the institution identified its sustainability-focused and sustainability-related course offerings?:

A brief description of the methodology the institution followed to complete the inventory:

The Office of Sustainability engaged student volunteers to review course descriptions in the University of Calgary Academic Calendar and to compile all courses that satisfy the criteria developed using sustainability education frameworks from the Campus Earth Summit, the Essex Report and Second Nature's literature on Sustainability Learning Outcomes:

Aspects of Sustainability
The topic of sustainability includes environmental, social and economic dimensions, and involves both complexity and scale:
• As a system of complexity, sustainability involves the interconnections in environment, society and economy.
• As a system of scale, sustainability addresses the short to long term impacts of human activity (time), and the local to global effects of human impacts (geographic).

Criteria for Inclusion
To be included in the inventory, the course description must make a connection to sustainability, with sustainability being defined as per above.

If the description does not explicitly list sustainability, it must be apparent the course content addresses either:
• The interconnections of environment, society and economy.
• The scale (geographic or time) impacts of human activity.

The course content must have an explicit connection to sustainability or an aspect of it above. The relevance of the content to sustainability cannot be assumed, it must be apparent how the topics covered apply.
These criteria must be satisfied by publicly available course descriptions and outlines, either at the department or institution level. Outlines posted on individual faculty member websites do not qualify, as it would be unrealistic to gather course information in this way. It is also not typically how students would search for prospective courses.

The benefit of this standard is that the course inventory will be easily verifiable. This is important as the inventory will be used in various reporting and rating systems.

All sustainability courses will fall into one of two categories:
1. Sustainability-focused (core) courses concentrate on the concept of sustainability, including its social, economic, and environmental dimensions, or examine an issue or topic using sustainability as a lens.
2. Sustainability-related courses incorporate sustainability as a distinct course component or module, or concentrate on a single sustainability principle or issue. They may complement sustainability-focused courses by providing students with in-depth knowledge of a particular aspect or dimension of sustainability (eg. the natural environment) or by providing a focus area (eg. renewable energy)

Does the institution make its sustainability course inventory publicly available online?:

The website URL where the sustainability course inventory is posted:

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.