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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 Silver
Overall Score 55.50
Liaison Alistair Hall
Submission Date July 22, 2014
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

Vassar College
AC-10: Support for Research

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 3.00 / 4.00 Alistair Hall
Sustainability Assistant
Dean of Strategic Planning
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have a program to encourage student sustainability research that meets the criteria for this credit?:
Yes

A brief description of the institution’s program(s) to encourage student research in sustainability:

Each summer there are a number of college sponsored Fellowships through the URSI (Undergraduate Research Summer Institute) and Ford Scholars program that enables students to conduct original research with Professors. Research topics regularly involve sustainability concerns.


The website URL where information about the student research program is available:
Does the institution have a program to encourage faculty sustainability research that meets the criteria for this credit?:
Yes

A brief description of the institution’s program(s) to encourage faculty research in sustainability:

There are incentives for faculty to participate in the annual Ford and URSI programs. Faculty Mellon Grant conversations allow for professors to collaborate on issues of interest. For example, an academic program called MLLC (the Multidisciplinary Living & Learning Community) came out of one of these conversations; a semester long program focusing on varied aspects of sustainable food systems.


The website URL where information about the faculty research program is available:
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Has the institution formally adopted policies and procedures that give positive recognition to interdisciplinary, transdisciplinary, and multidisciplinary research during faculty promotion and/or tenure decisions?:
No

A brief description or the text of the institution’s policy regarding interdisciplinary research:

Vassar does not have a specific policy favoring interdisciplinary research, but it is valued in tenure and promotion decisions as explained in the following quote from the former chair of the Faculty Appointments and Salary Committee (FASC):

"Vassar generally and FASC in particular certainly value interdisciplinary research and teaching. It is not a specific criteria for promotion: that is, someone can be tenured without ever moving outside of his or her home field. And there is no language in the Handbook that privileges interdisciplinarity. But neither is there any language that disfavors such adventurousness.

In practice, we do look favorably at a candidate's record of participation in the [multidisciplinary] programs (and many candidates solicit partial review letters from programs). We also look at the evidence of collaborative scholarship either on the C.V. or in the research itself. We examine the teaching portfolio for new co-taught classes, and for innovative syllabi and assignments, many of which have interdisciplinary components.

In these ways I'd say that to FASC interdisciplinarity demonstrates creativity, staying fresh and expanding one's horizons, collaborating across departmental lines, and serving the College, all qualities that count in one's favor when tenure and promotion decisions are being made." (Sarah Kozloff, Professor of Film and Former Chair of FASC)


The website URL where information about the treatment of interdisciplinary research is available:
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Does the institution provide ongoing library support for sustainability research and learning that meets the criteria for this credit?:
Yes

A brief description of the institution's library support for sustainability research and learning:

The Vassar Library has a team of librarians who are familiar with and work work with specific departments on campus. Students may stop by drop-in hours, call, text, or make an appointment with a librarian to discuss their research interests. In turn the librarian team consults with professors about courses and create class-specific and discipline-specific research guides, many of which do incorporate and focus on sustainability because of the nature of the courses being offered and the integral nature of sustainability in some departments (Environmental Studies, Urban Studies, Geography, Earth Science, Science, Technology & Society).


The website URL where information about the institution's library support for sustainability is available:

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.