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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 Gioia Thompson
Submission Date March 19, 2014
Executive Letter Download

STARS v1.2

University of Vermont
ER-5: Sustainability Course Identification

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete Expired Stephanie Kaza
Environmental Program
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Has the institution developed a definition of sustainability in the curriculum?:

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

As stated in Our Common Ground, “The University of Vermont is an educationally purposeful community seeking to prepare students to live in a diverse and changing world.” In the context of the emerging challenges of the 21st Century, this preparation includes envisioning and planning for a sustainable society. In addition, Our Common Ground speaks to "the transforming power of education." Thus UVM's vision for sustainability embraces the goal of educating all of its students to understand and contribute to the sustainability of human society. That is, we recognize that the pursuit of environmental, social, and economic vitality must come with the understanding that the needs of the present be met without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. The University of Vermont will integrate its sustainability vision across curricular and co-curricular activities. Students who are prepared to address the challenges of creating a sustainable world have knowledge of current issues in sustainability and are conversant with social, ecological, and economic ways of thinking. Knowledge gained through coursework from varied disciplines can prepare students to develop informed opinions and engage in complex discussions around sustainability. Students can apply this knowledge to address the social, economic and environmental issues affecting the planet and its population that require global, collaborative solutions. Coursework and experiences in sustainability are meant to widen social, historical, and cultural perspectives and strengthen students' ability to take multiple viewpoints by exposing them to a wide variety of cultural constructions. Students connect conceptual learning to challenges and opportunities in the world outside of the university classroom by critically analyzing their experience in order to make meaning of it.

Using the AASHE definitions for sustainability-focused and sustainability-related courses as a starting point UVM has developed their own criteria for identifying sustainability courses.

UVM Criteria for Sustainability-Focused Courses
• All three dimensions of sustainability are addressed (and the interrelationships)
• Course learning objectives are about sustainability or a specific topic from the perspective of sustainability
• Continuous theme throughout the semester
• Gets at impacts and/or is solutions-focused
• Identifies unsustainable assumptions

UVM Criteria for Sustainability-Related Courses
• Course addresses one or two of the three dimensions of sustainability
• Employ the 50% rule (50% of the course needs to be at a related level)
• Sustainability is addressed as a module or significant assignment (but not necessarily throughout the course)
• Course could be about analytical tools for evaluating and developing strategies to be sustainable (not a requirement)

The learning context must connect back to sustainability for a course to be identified as sustainability-focused or sustainability-related.

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:

A committee of four (three faculty from different academic units and a graduate student) evaluated syllabi based on the definition of sustainability in the curriculum and the developed criteria. All four committee members must agree on the course classification. Differences of opinion were resolved through discussion based on the criteria.

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.