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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 Silver
Overall Score 45.51
Liaison Mat Thijssen
Submission Date Nov. 6, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

University of Waterloo
AC-1: Academic Courses

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 7.79 / 14.00 Mat Thijssen
Sustainability Manager
Sustainability Office
"---" 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 3,519 1,782
Number of sustainability courses offered 118 67
Number of courses offered that include sustainability 216 133

Percentage of courses that are sustainability course offerings:

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

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

Percentage of academic departments with sustainability course offerings:

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?:

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 Sustainability Office reviewed all courses within the 2017/18 Academic Calendar for keywords that were related to sustainability following the STARS-provided definitions and major sustainability challenges such as climate change, water management, pollution, land use, biodiversity and conservation. Many cross-listed courses are offered given the interdisciplinary approach to the particular issues (i.e. Geography and Earth Sciences, or Planning and Public Health). While the inventory of course offerings includes each cross listing as a separate line item, the numbers reported in Part 1 of the credit weight a cross-listed course as a single course offering, regardless of whether it appears in the course list under multiple academic departments. The same methodology was followed for reporting total number of undergraduate and graduate courses that did not have sustainability content. This is the third year in which Waterloo has developed the course inventory. In the 2016/17 calendar, the Sustainability Office circulated a copy of all identified courses to the relevant department chairs for validation, and made minor adjustment according to department chair feedback. The total number of courses also excluded courses which are not typical for students, including transfer credits, high-school credits, credits from other institutions (i.e. Wilfrid Laurier University), and courses which were not offered until future terms but had already been integrated within the calendar.

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 Yes
Independent study No
Special topics Yes
Thesis / dissertation No
Clinical No
Physical education No
Performance arts Yes

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

Additional documentation to support the submission:

Academic departments included all those listed as course owners within the academic calendar, including Dean’s Offices, Co-operative Education and Career Action, and Graduate Studies. Academic departments hosted primarily through the Affiliated and Federated Institutions of Waterloo were excluded based on the boundary for this report. This is different than how Waterloo typically identifies and lists academic departments, but is most appropriately aligned with the credits for STARS.
Because Waterloo weighted cross-listed courses as a single course for the purposes of accuracy against the overall number courses available on campus, the spreadsheet contains more courses than reported here. The spreadsheet includes multiple iterations of the same course based on which program/department's calendar it is listed in.

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.