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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 77.18
Liaison Claudia Frere-Anderson
Submission Date Oct. 12, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

University of Washington, Seattle
AC-2: Learning Outcomes

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.14 / 8.00 Claudia Frere-Anderson
Director
UW Sustainability
"---" 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):
16,434

Number of students that graduate from programs that have adopted at least one sustainability learning outcome:
4,390

Percentage of students who graduate from programs that have adopted at least one sustainability learning outcome:
26.71

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

Does the institution specify sustainability learning outcomes at the institution level (e.g. covering all students)?:
No

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 UW has a Natural World (NW) credit requirement for all undergraduates at the UW is applicable at the institution and divisional level, however the current wording of this credit requirement does not meet the STARS criteria to be considered a sustainability learning outcome (some areas of UW refer to these as learning goals rather than outcomes). Several divisions have mission and vision statements that speak to goals for their graduates including developing an understanding and ability to apply knowledge in this area, as well as solving pressing social and environmental challenges (College of the Environment and College of Built Environments for example), but they do not, at this time, specifically identify sustainability outcomes. For more on the NW credit, see information in Notes section.

One school has identified sustainability learning outcomes, the School of Public Health. These are provided below:
- Describe key determinants of human health, including genetics, behavior, nutrition, social, geographic and environmental factors and how they interact.
- Explain political, economic, and social theories and how they account for variations in public health.
- Discuss how economic and legal forces influence both health inequality and processes of biomedical innovation, implementation and evaluation.
- Define and differentiate between the physical environment and the built environment and impacts on health.
- Describe how food systems and other human-environment relationships influence health.
- Describe how exposure to physical, chemical, biological agents in the environment influence health.
- Discuss issues of climate change, food security, access to water, sanitation, pollution, and impact on health of populations.

We plan to work with schools and colleges to expand the number divisions with sustainability learning outcomes in the future.


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):

Similar to the challenge of identifying academic courses that are sustainability focused at a large university, identifying programs that specifically include sustainability learning outcomes or a sustainability-focused class is a large task. Although the NW credit requirement for all UW undergraduates is applicable at the institution, divisional, and program level, the current wording of this credit requirement does not meet the STARS criteria to be considered a sustainability learning outcome (some areas of UW refer to these as goals rather than outcomes). If we were able to use the NW credit as a sustainable learning outcome, the result would be that 62% of our students graduate from programs with a sustainability learning outcome. For more on the NW credit, see information in Notes section.

Given that we could not use the NW credit, we identified the following methodology to produce the number of students that graduate from a program with a sustainability learning outcome. We started by using the Office of Education Assessment's "Assessment in the Majors" report (http://depts.washington.edu/assessmt/pdfs/reports/OEAReport1507.pdf) to identify which departments at UW that responded positively to including "Develop awareness of sustainability and environmental/ecological practices" in their department learning goals. For the 2015-2017 survey period, 10% of departments responded positively. From this initial list of departments we searched across other departments to seek out other programs that include a sustainability learning outcome/goal. Once this full list was identified, we used the Enterprise Data Warehouse to gather the number of graduates from these programs in Spring 2018 to reach the number of students reported above.

The list of programs with one or more sustainable learning outcome/goal that meets the STARS criteria is provided below. UW Bothell and UW Tacoma program appear at the end of this list.

Aeronautics & Astronomics
- An ability to design a system, component or process to meet desired needs within realistic constraints such as economic, environmental, social, political, ethical, health and safety, manufacturability and sustainability
- The broad education necessary to understand the impact of engineering solutions in a global, economic, environmental and societal context

American Indian Studies
- Students learn about the rich range of Native cultures and the great range of philosophies and foundations of knowledge that shape those cultures, about the interactions between societies and the environment, and about understanding and appreciating the arts of those cultures.

Aquatic & Fisheries Science
- Acquire interdisciplinary knowledge within the aquatic sciences; specifically, major themes of aquatic ecology, conservation and management, and aquatic biology and culture.
- Acquire supporting knowledge relevant to the biological sciences in physical sciences, law and policy, ethics and economics.

Architecture
- Students must have exposure to and some mastery of non-architecture disciplines affecting design solutions: the arts, the behavioral and natural sciences, and economics, to name a few.
- Incorporation of sustainable and passive systems that rely less on fossil fuels and power-based supply needs
- Relationships of buildings to site and climate, neighborhood and regional contexts, and the ethics of sustainability
- Social, political, legal and economic influences on design and construction

Art - Division of Design
- An understanding of the global context of design, including environmental, political, ethical and social issues that impact professional practice

Biochemistry
- Have some awareness of the broader implications of chemical processes (e.g., resource management, economic factors, and ecological considerations).

Bioengineering
- An ability to design a system, component or process to meet desired needs within realistic constraints such as economic, environmental, social, political, ethical, health and safety, manufacturability, and sustainability

Biology
- Social responsibility- Modern biology is deeply intertwined with societal issues, from genetic engineering to health care to global change. Students explore the social implications of biological discoveries.

Chemical Engineering
- An ability to design a system, component, or process to meet desired needs within realistic constraints such as economic, environmental, social, political, ethical, health and safety, manufacturability, and sustainability.
- The broad education necessary to understand the impact of engineering solutions in a global, economic, environmental, and societal context.

Chemistry
- Have some awareness of the broader implications of chemical processes (e.g., resource management, economic factors, and ecological considerations).

Civil and Environmental Engineering
- An ability to design a system, component, or process to meet desired needs within realistic constraints such as economic, environmental, social, political, ethical, health and safety, manufacturing, and sustainability.
- The broad education necessary to understand the impact of engineering solutions in a global, economic, environmental, and societal context.

Community and Environmental Planning
- Understand and demonstrate proficiency in a selected field of disciplinary knowledge and its associated methods in relation to community, environment and planning.

Computer Science and Engineering
- An ability to design a computing system, component, or process to meet desired needs within realistic constraints such as economic, environmental, social, political, ethical, health and safety, manufacturing, and sustainability.
- An ability to communicate effectively the broad education necessary to understand the impact of computer engineering solutions in a global, economic, environmental, and societal context.

Construction Management
- Understand the ethical dimensions of problems and issues facing construction managers. Understanding professional and ethical responsibility as a construction project manager.
- Established an elective course in Sustainable Building Design and Construction Practice to provide more in-depth coverage of sustainable construction practices.

Earth & Space Science
- Students will obtain a broad understanding of earth sciences as a background for professional careers such as science journalism, environmental law, science education, and environmental policy

Electrical Engineering
- An ability to design a system, component or process to meet desired needs within realistic constraints such as economic, environmental, social, political, ethical, health and safety, manufacturability and sustainability
- The broad education necessary to understand the impact of engineering solutions in a global, economic, environmental and societal context

Environmental and Forest Resources
- Understand social, ecological, and economic theory, concepts, and processes at a variety of spatial, temporal, and institutional levels.
- Understand application of ecosystem and social concepts along the urban to wildland gradient.
- Understand business, ecological, and social tradeoffs inherent in natural resource management and use.

Environmental Studies
- prepare future environmental leaders to respond to bioregional and global environmental opportunities and challenges. It seeks to take full advantage of the extraordinary environmental research at the University of Washington, and make that social, scientific, humanistic, and professional expertise accessible to students in innovative ways.
- Students learn public policy and decision-making to understand how uncertainty, risk, law, politics, ethics, economics and culture interact with environmental public policy and decision- making.

Geography
- Ability to think relationally about such key intertwined concepts as community and economy, society and environment, and citizenship and globalization
- Ability to understand the relationship among regional economy, health, and well-being in regards to sustainability

Landscape Architecture
- students develop knowledge and skills in aspects of “Urban Ecological Design” with the key areas including ‘ecological infrastructure’, culturally-based place-making’, and ‘design for ecological literacy’ integrated in throughout courses

Marine and Environmental Affairs
- develop students with a well-rounded understanding of the field and the skills and abilities necessary to work effectively in marine and environmental affairs related careers.

Materials Science and Engineering
- An ability to design a system, component or process to meet desired needs within realistic constraints such as economic, environmental, social, political, ethical, health and safety, manufacturing and sustainability
- The broad education necessary to understand the impact of engineering solutions in a global, economic, environmental and societal context

Oceanography
- Understand interaction of society and the environment, with emphasis on coastal, estuarine, and marine environments

Public Affairs - Environmental Policy and Management
-students learn tools, methodologies, interdisciplinary perspectives, and substantive topical knowledge necessary to be successful analysts, managers, and leaders in public, nonprofit, and private organizations that cover a broad spectrum of environmental and natural resources issues.

School Public Health (divisional level goals, applies to all School departments)
- Describe key determinants of human health, including genetics, behavior, nutrition, social, geographic and environmental factors and how they interact.
- Explain political, economic, and social theories and how they account for variations in public health.
- Discuss how economic and legal forces influence both health inequality and processes of biomedical innovation, implementation and evaluation.
- Define and differentiate between the physical environment and the built environment and impacts on health.
- Describe how food systems and other human-environment relationships influence health.
- Describe how exposure to physical, chemical, biological agents in the environment influence health.
- Discuss issues of climate change, food security, access to water, sanitation, pollution, and impact on health of populations.

Urban Design and Planning
-Graduates understand the social, behavioral, and cultural relationships between people and the form and quality of their built and natural environment; the financial, administrative, political, and participatory dimensions of planning, design, and development; and the informational base for making deliberate decisions to shape urban areas and regions, bringing analysis together with vision.

-----UW BOTHELL & UW TACOMA PROGRAMS-----

UW Bothell - Environmental Sciences
-prepare students to address environmental challenges facing the world today

UW Bothell - Environmental Studies
-prepare students who want to act critically and creatively in response to the environmental challenges facing the world today

UW Bothell - Science, Society, and Technology
-prepares students to understand and utilize how science, society, and technology interact and can be used to achieve just and sustainable communities

UW Tacoma - Community Planning
-develop civic leaders who are equipped to make change in networks of public and private actors, helping to create more just, sustainable, and livable urban futures

UW Tacoma - Environmental Science
-students develop strong science background with a focus on the environmental issues of the future and learn how to draw connections between disciplines needed to solve the complex environmental problems facing the local community and society at large

UW Tacoma - Environmental Sustainability
- prepare students to understand, analyze, and solve environmental and sustainability challenges.

UW Tacoma - Sustainable Urban Development
- prepare graduates for careers in planning agencies, corporations adhering to sustainability practices, consulting firms, nonprofit organizations, and environmental/resource related agencies at the local, state, and federal levels of government

UW Tacoma - Urban Studies
- prepare students for public or private-sector jobs in areas such as housing and community development, planning, GIS, transportation, government agencies, and social services.


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)?:
No

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

The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
---

Additional documentation to support the submission:
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While the University of Washington does not have a formal sustainability requirement, it requires that all undergraduate students take a minimum of 40 credits of Areas of Knowledge courses, with at least 10 credits in each of three Areas: Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts (VLPA); Individuals and Societies (I&S); and The Natural World (NW). These distribution requirements ensure that all undergraduate students obtain an understanding of social and/or environmental sustainability once they graduate. I&S courses focus on the history, development, and dynamics of human behavior, as well as social and cultural institutions and practices. Departments that offer such courses include American ethnic studies, anthropology, economics, geography, international studies, political science, psychology, sociology, and women studies. From departments such as history, philosophy, and religion, I&S includes courses traditionally grouped with "humanities" at other colleges. NW courses focus on the disciplined, scientific study of the natural world. The Area can be divided into three broad categories: the mathematical sciences, the physical sciences, and the biological sciences. All three UW campuses require NW credits for graduation. Departments that offer such courses include astronomy, biology, chemistry, fisheries, forest resources, geology, mathematics, and oceanography. More information on these requirements can be found here:

https://www.washington.edu/uaa/advising/old/academic-planning/general-education-requirements/areas-of-knowledge/

The UW participated in the 2018 Multi-Institutional Study of Leadership (MSL), an international research program focused on understanding the influences of higher education in shaping socially responsible leadership capacity and other leadership related outcomes. The UW is one of 350 institutions who have participated in this study that is working to promote more effective, evidence-based college student leadership development efforts. https://www.leadershipstudy.net/

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.