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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 81.30
Liaison Sarah Munro
Submission Date June 30, 2017
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

University of Connecticut
AC-2: Learning Outcomes

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 6.35 / 8.00 Sarah Munro
Sustainability Coordinator
Office of Environmental Policy
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Total number of graduates from degree programs (i.e. majors, minors, concentrations, certificates, and other academic designations):
7,326

Number of students that graduate from programs that have adopted at least one sustainability learning outcome:
5,817

Percentage of students who graduate from programs that have adopted at least one sustainability learning outcome:
79.40

Do the figures reported above cover one, two, or three academic years?:
Three

Does the institution specify sustainability learning outcomes at the institution level (e.g. covering all students)?:
Yes

Does the institution specify sustainability learning outcomes at the division level (e.g. covering particular schools or colleges within the institution)?:
Yes

A list or brief description of the institution level or division level sustainability learning outcomes:

The University Senate enacted these requirements to ensure that all University of Connecticut undergraduate students become articulate and acquire intellectual breadth and versatility, critical judgement, moral sensitivity, awareness of their era and society, consciousness of the diversity of human culture and experience, and a working understanding of the processes by which they can continue to acquire and use knowledge. It is vital to the accomplishment of the University’s mission that a balance between professional and general education be established and maintained in which each is complementary to and compatible with the other.

Every student across all colleges must take classes from four content areas, three of which are sustainability-related. Content Area 2 covers the social sciences. The learning outcome for this requirement is as follows: The social sciences examine how individuals, groups, institutions, and societies behave and influence one another and the natural environment.

Content Area 3 features physical sciences and lab classes. Most of these labs are found in programs that have one or more sustainability learning outcomes as listed below. The overall learning outcome for this content area is as follows: Students will establish scientific thought, observation, experimentation, and formal hypothesis testing, and enable students to consider the impact that developments in science and technology have on the nature and quality of life. In addition, as shown by the course list for this content area, student will also become more acquainted with their physical environment and the impacts they have on it.

Content Area 4 deals with multiculturalism, diversity, and equality. The learning outcome is as follows: In this interconnected global community, students and professionals need to be able to understand, appreciate, and function in cultures other than their own. Students will learn diversity and multiculturalism as a means for bringing to the fore the historical truths about different cultural perspectives, especially those of groups that traditionally have been under-represented. These groups might be characterized by such features as race, ethnicity, gender, sexual identities, political systems, or religious traditions, or by persons with disabilities. By studying the ideas, history, values, and creative expressions of diverse groups, students gain appreciation for differences as well as commonalities among people and everyone’s right to equality and justice.

By taking classes in all the content areas, students will gain a well-rounded perspective of all the different aspects of sustainability, including environmental, economic, and social.


Does the institution specify sustainability learning outcomes at the program level (i.e. majors, minors, concentrations, degrees, diplomas, certificates, and other academic designations)?:
Yes

A list or brief description of the program level sustainability learning outcomes (or a list of sustainability-focused programs):

Agricultural Education
 Students will learn the proper techniques to teach agriculture with emphasis on sustainable agriculture.

Agriculture and Resource Economics (ARE)
• Business Management and Marketing
• Environmental Economics and Policy
• International Development
 Students will learn to protect and improve the food and fiber sector by enhancing the environment in the state, the nation, and the world.

American Studies
 Students will achieve the goals of the American Studies curriculum, which include awareness of complex cultural, political, and economic structures at the root of the social organizations that have existed throughout the history of what has come to be known as the “New World.” Students will learn how to approach the changing understandings of the geography and ecology of the Western Hemisphere, or issues of cultural and ethnic diversity.

Civil and Environmental Engineering (CE/ENVE)
 Students will be actively engaged in all efforts to predict, minimize the effect of, and retrofit or repair the infrastructure affected by events that include global climate change, environmental pollution crises, water shortage crises, non-sustainable energy practices, transportation planning and land use. Student will continue to address these global challenges through didactic and research missions.

Chemistry (CHEM)
• Environmental Chemistry Concentration
 Our students participate in active research programs encompassing modern aspects of analytical, biological, environmental, inorganic, organic, physical, and polymer chemistry. Our student research drives innovation both domestically and internationally, focusing on topics such as biological and biomedical problems, nanomaterials, and clean energy.

Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (EEB)
 Students will learn and conduct research in the department, which covers a wide range of fields, including behavioral ecology of vertebrates and invertebrates, systematics and evolution of plants and animals, population and community ecology, functional morphology and development, and conservation biology.

Environmental Science (ENVS)
 Students will face the natural, social, and economic implications of environmental issues and learn how to analyze and problem solve.

Environmental Studies (EVST)
 Students in the Environmental Studies program will acquire the knowledge, skills, and perspectives needed to understand the interactions between human society and the environment. Understanding the ethical and cultural dimensions of our relationship with the environment, as well as the challenges of protecting it, requires insights from multiple perspectives, including the humanities, the social sciences, and the natural sciences.

Geography (GEOG)
 Students will learn to analyze the interactions between people and their environments.

Geoscience (GSCI)
 Students will develop a complete understanding of Earth and how it works to better inform us of what our future will look like.

Horticulture (HORT)
 Students will study plant growth and development as it relates to landscaping, food and ornamental purposes. Horticulture majors will concentrate their studies on the environmental sciences and sustainable agriculture to eventually put their skills to use in the green industry.

Human Rights (HRTS)
 Students will pursue questions such as, What are human rights? How has the concept of human rights evolved? How and why have human rights been violated, both in the United States and abroad? How have people struggled against human rights violations and with what success? What protections against violations of human rights exist, and how can these protections be enhanced and made more effective? By answering these questions, students will develop learn their ethical and moral responsibility to their fellow man.

Human rights is a vital subsection of sustainability, as stated by the Earth Charter definition of sustainability, which says an essential element of sustainability is to "Ensure that communities at all levels guarantee human rights and fundamental freedoms and provide everyone an opportunity to realize his or her full potential."

Marine Sciences (MARN)
 Student will use their knowledge of the ecosystem of the ocean presented to them in this program to protect and improve the oceans around them.

Natural Resources (NRE)
 Students develop skills in applying modern technology, concepts and principles dealing with sustainable development, environmental protection and resource conservation

Plant Science (PLSC)
• Sustainable Agriculture Concentration
 Students pursuing the Sustainable Agriculture Concentration of Plant Science major will progress via hands-on learning and developing their knowledge to solve contemporary problems in sustainable agriculture in individual and team approaches.

Soil Systems (SOIL)
 Students will learn practices and concepts related to reducing environmental impact during production and in managed land use systems.

Turfgrass Science (TURF)
 Students will study turfgrass science in conjunction with courses in soil science and fertility, pest control, business management, landscape design, and ornamental horticulture. These courses will provide students with skills necessary to sustainably solve problems in the area of turfgrass science. They will be provided opportunities to gain practical experiences.

Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGSS)
 Students will employ critical learning and enhance their ability to advocate for gender and sexual justice, and equality overall. According to the Earth Charter, “Gender equality and equity [are] prerequisites to sustainable development.” It is critical that we “secure the human rights of women and girls,” which includes “guarantee[ing] the right to potable water, clean air, food security, uncontaminated soil, shelter, and safe sanitation,” as well as protection by “progressive labor standards.”


Do course level sustainability learning outcomes contribute to the figure reported above (i.e. in the absence of program, division, or institution level learning outcomes)?:
Yes

A list or brief description of the course level sustainability learning outcomes and the programs for which the courses are required:

All of the following majors require a sustainability-focused course in order to graduate with a degree/concentration in that program. All the courses listed here are sustainability-focused, as reported in AC-1 on the sustainability course list.

Allied Health

The Allied Health Sciences major has a flexible plan of study designed to meet a wide range of academic interests and career goals. However, students pursuing this major should be proficient in math and science courses.
Students are required to complete a minimum of 120 credits to graduate. While advisors assist students in the selection of courses, it is the student's responsibility to ensure they meet all requirements for graduation consistent with their catalog year.

• Allied Health Sciences (AH 3175; Environmental Health)
Students will focus on the environmental health consequences of exposure to toxic chemicals, food contaminants and radiation. Basic principles of toxicology will be discussed, followed by lectures on specific topics such as: cancer, occupational hazards, radiation, genetic biomonitoring, risk assessment techniques, risk/benefit analysis, social/legal aspects of regulating toxic chemicals, and other related topics.

• Health Sciences Concentration (AH 3175; Environmental Health)

• Healthcare Administration Concentration (AH 4243; Current Issues in Health)
Students will learn the individual, community and institutional health care needs and issues from a bio-medical and socio-cultural point of view. Furthermore, they will explore health and its relationship to genetics, poverty, ethnicity, life-cycle events, ethics, etc.

• Public Health and Health Promotion (AH 3175; Environmental Health)

• Occupational and Environmental Health and Safety Concentration (AH 3175; Environmental Health)

Anthropology

Anthropology studies human beings of all times and places. It examines human biological, cultural and social similarities and differences, and tries to explain them. Because of its broad perspective — which stresses writing, critical thinking, and social analysis — anthropology provides an excellent preparation for a variety of professional and business careers.

• ANTH 1000; Other People’s Worlds
Students will learn a survey of the development, contributions, and contemporary social problems of selected non-Euroamerican peoples and cultures.

Landscape Architecture

This major provides instruction in site planning and design, landscape history, landscape architectural graphics and presentation. It includes the use of plants and other features to enrich exterior spaces. Through seminars, studio projects and internships, students learn to apply theory to actual case studies.

• LAND 3230W; Environmental Planning and Landscape Design
Students will acquire the knowledge and learn the theory of computer use in landscape architecture, as well as gain experience in Computer applications for data gathering analysis and graphic communication. Students will apply this knowledge and theory to a variety of site planning and design projects.

Mechanical Engineering

• ME 3264; Applied Measurements Laboratory
Students will apply the fundamental measurement techniques developed in previous courses to various mechanical systems and processes. Students will gain hands-on laboratory experiences include measurements in energy conversion, solid mechanics, dynamics, and fluid and thermal sciences, as well as statistical methods to analysis of experimental data.

• Aerospace Concentration (ME 3239; Combustion for Energy Conversion)
Students will get an introduction to combustion processes and chemical kinetics, as well as the mechanism of the formation of pollutants such as nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, soot, and unburned hydrocarbons in stationary and vehicular power plants.

• Energy and Power Concentration (ME 3239; Combustion for Energy Conversion)

Materials Science and Engineering

• Energy Materials Concentration (MSE 4801; Materials for Alternative, Renewable Energy)
Students will learn an overview of energy conversion and storage systems – centralized and distributed generation to stationary and motive batteries; efficiency calculation and thermodynamics; electrochemistry – primary and secondary batteries; fuels – chemistry, processing, impurities; combustion, gasification and electrochemical systems; materials requirements; bulk and surface properties; metals, ceramics and superalloys; gas -metal interactions; gas – liquid – metal interactions; development trend – alloying principles, coatings, claddings; alloy processing and coating techniques.

All of these majors require a sustainability-focused course in order to graduate with a degree/concentration in that program.


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

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.