EN 12: Continuing Education – version 2.2
Frequently Asked Questions
How has this credit changed from STARS 2.1 to 2.2?
Minor edits were made. Language was edited and new definitions were added to align with the Academic Courses credit and address common questions from participants. A comprehensive list of differences can be found in the 2.2 Summary of changes.
What’s the difference between continuing education courses and standard courses?
The courses claimed in this credit must apply to community members and others that are not degree seeking. Recognition for courses aimed at degree-seeking students is provided under Academic Courses (AC-1).
What information is required for the course inventory?
At minimum, the inventory must provide the following for each course:
- The course title
- The department (or equivalent) of the course
- A brief course description or rationale explaining why the course is included that references sustainability, the interdependence of ecological and social/economic systems, or a sustainability challenge.
The count of courses reported under the credit should be consistent with the count included in the inventory. Valid inconsistencies must be clarified in the Notes field.
Can standard degree-granting programs count for this credit?
The programs claimed in this credit must be continuing education programs; standard degree-granting programs don’t count, and instead are covered under Undergraduate Program (AC-3) and Graduate Program (AC-4).
Definition: Continuing education (also known as further education) includes non-credit courses and programs that train community members and help build knowledge about particular subjects. Continuing education is inclusive of non-credit, community education and extension courses and programs. Examples include non-degree career training, workforce training, credential maintenance courses, formal personal enrichment courses, self-directed learning and experiential learning (on and off campus). In some cases, non-credit students may earn continuing education units, certification or other evidence of class completion to meet personal or professional requirements.
Must continuing education programs be available to the general public to count?
Yes, continuing education programs must be available to the general public to count (not just faculty/staff/students/alumni).
Resources, Templates & Tools
- Continuing education course inventory. Download Excel file or copy Google Sheet. Use or adapt this template to document community sustainability course offerings and, optionally, track linkages to the SDGs.
- Sample keywords to help identify sustainability challenges (derived from the Earth Charter and SDG targets). Use or adapt to conduct a preliminary keyword search of a course catalog. The presence of a keyword may or may not indicate that a sustainability challenge is addressed. Additional analysis is required.
- SDG targets
- Sterling College – Responses clearly reference an adult learning division/program. 100 percent of courses cover sustainability. Good reporting example for small institutions.
- University of California, Berkeley – Comprehensive inventory uploaded based on course offerings at UCB Extension. Response goes above and beyond the minimum criteria by labeling courses as sustainability-focused and -inclusive. Good reporting example for larger institutions.
Common Issues Identified During Review
- Part 1 should reference sustainability-focused continuing education courses, whereas Part 2 should reference sustainability-focused programs in continuing education. While definitions may vary, responses should generally align with common definitions of courses and programs.
- Courses and programs must be offered for continuing education specifically (i.e. offered through a continuing education or extension department). Courses or programs designed for degree seeking students should not be included (they are recognized under the Curriculum section).
- Part 1, Course inventory – For each course, the inventory must include the course title and department, as well as a brief course description or rationale explaining why the course is included that references sustainability, the interdependence of ecological and social/economic systems, or a sustainability challenge.
- Part 1, Course inventory – The count of courses reported under the credit should be consistent with the count included in the inventory. Valid inconsistencies must be clarified in the Notes field.