Automating a list of sustainability-focused or -related courses (STARS)

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5 replies [Last post]
amwebs01's picture
Joined: Nov 27 2010

This post is related to STARS, AASHE's Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System.

At the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, we are researching ways to automate themed courses. Theme topics would certainly include sustainability, but we also want to include other keyword topics such as water and renewable energy. Are there any other schools that have found a good way to automate a sustainability or other themed notation?

Thanks for any help you can provide!

AASHE Member
Joined: Dec 23 2008

you might take a look at our WISER + program for our core curriculum.
go to:

and select the WISER+ button.

Robert J. Koester AIA, LEED AP
Professor of Architecture
Director, Center for Energy Research/Education/Service

Chair, Council on the Environment
Ball State University
2000 University Avenue
Muncie, Indiana 47306-0170

765.285.1135 o
765.285.5622 f's picture
AASHE Member
Joined: Jun 7 2010


This is a very interesting idea! The STARS Team has discussed it in our Technical Development meeting and with our Curriculum Technical Advisors. Unfortunately, we were not able to identify a resource for you. However, we are curious about what you learn regarding methods to automate themed courses. The Technical Advisors are particularly interested in what sort of keywords might be used to identify sustainability-focused and sustainability-related courses.

Please keep us posted!


Margot Hutchins
STARS Reporting Coordinator
Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education | 859-258-2551 ext. 122 |

AASHE Member
Joined: Feb 12 2009

Andrea (or anyone else),

Have you had any success with identifying a list of key words in syllabuses or course descriptions that indicate sustainability focused/related courses? Thanks.

Kevin Crosby
Coordinator of Stewardship & Sustainability
Taylor University

amwebs01's picture
Joined: Nov 27 2010

Hi Kevin,

I'm afraid we didn't tackle trying to narrow down a list of keywords that indicate sustainability focused/related courses. Instead, we're planning to try a different approach. One idea we have right now is to ask faculty at department level faculty meetings to tell their department heads (or a representative from our office) which of their courses are focused on or related to sustainability given the definition of sustainability that has been adopted by the College. This will allow us to efficiently and effectively collect the information all at once.

Once we've collected all of this information, we'll be working with our IT folks to hopefully develop an online searchable database for themed courses. Since our campus (the College of Environmental Science and Forestry) already has a lot of courses focused on or related to sustainability, we've decided to expand our themes past sustainability. We're hoping that students and faculty will be able to search by themes such as sustainability, water, policy and climate change (to name a few). This project is still in the works, but we're hoping it will allow students to find topical courses that are currently located across academic departments.

I'm guessing this isn't exactly what you're looking for Kevin, but hopefully it will create a few ideas for you.


AASHE Member
Joined: Feb 12 2009

Thanks for sharing Andrea. I imagine gathering information from professors at department faculty meetings was more successful than a mass email would have been. The searchable database of themed courses also seems like a great idea that will be a nice tool for students. Thanks again.

I am still interested to hear if anyone else identifies a list of keywords that are at least highly correlated with sustainability focused or related courses.

Kevin Crosby