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Academics

As an institute of higher learning, the most important aspect of Colorado College is academics. Many departments and programs such as the Environmental Program are popular at Colorado College. Many of the school's academic programs involve sustainability-related or -focused study.

Colorado College students, faculty, and staff also perform research on sustainability topics. Information about State of the Rockies, a program that documents the status of the Rocky Mountains ecology and individual scientific resource performed by faculty and students can be found under the research tab. 

designated courses

In order to implement recommendations from the Strategic Knowledge Development process conducted in 2013-14 and in support of The Colorado College Plan: Building on the Block, Colorado College has worked to develop a sustainability designation, so that students may refer to specific learning objectives completed during their education at the college. Recommendations from the report to implement this designation are as follows:

The goal of sustainability education at CC is to fully and creatively utilize the strengths of the Block Plan in order to empower students to investigate the relationships between social, economic, and environmental challenges, particularly as they apply to our communities. Through a liberal arts education, sustainability studies at CC should strengthen our relationship to the Rocky Mountains and Great Plains as well as the broader human economy and the larger ecosystem in which it is embedded.

Sustainability offerings are divided into two categories [following The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) guidelines]:

  • Sustainability-focused courses explicitly concentrate on at least THREE or more of the following learning objectives and the potential relationships between them.

  • Sustainability-related courses focus on at least ONE or more of the following learning objectives and perhaps contemplate connections to other topics.

  • Investigation and evaluation of the complex global systems in which sustainability exist (e.g. laws, economics and policies)

  • Philosophical or theoretical frameworks through which to view environmental and sustainability issues

  • Historical phenomena and patterns that have produced modern sustainability issues

  • Social justice, environmental justice, and other equity concerns, including investigation of the complex social networks and dynamics of power that can perpetuate and complicate sustainability issues

  • Possibilities for innovative connections between sustainability and different academic disciplines (e.g. Film and New Media Studies, Music, English)

  • Understanding of, and critical thinking about the scientific method and how science can be applied to understanding natural systems and environmental issues

  • Practice in technical and scientific skills and how they can be used to generate solutions to small and large scale sustainability challenges

  • Practice in social and communication skills and how they can be used to generate solutions to small and large scale sustainability challenges

  • Analysis and composition in literature, creative writing, design, visual arts, music and other art forms that can be used to generate solutions to small and large scale sustainability challenges

  • Analysis of and engagement with other cultural perspectives to build an understanding around how they relate to sustainability

  • Development of a "Sense of Place," including a better understanding of the many possible connections to one's surroundings and community

  • Research or course activities that encourage engagement with our communities to help them flourish

  • Research or course activities that focus on self-reflection (e.g. resource usage, waste generation, travel footprint, etc.)

Report an issue - Last updated: 01/06/2021

What We Are Doing

STARS: Academics

The Office of Sustainability reports to the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment, & Rating System (STARS) annually to measure our sustainability performance. There are four main categories the CC pursues and collects the required information from campus stakeholders, this includes the STARS Academics category. In STARS, CC reports on two Academic subcategories: Curriculum and Research. The Curriculum subcategory seeks to recognize institutions that have implemented formal education programs and courses that address sustainability. The Research subcategory seeks to recognize institutions that conduct research on sustainability topics. Check out some highlights below!

Curriculum Highlights

More information can be found in our State of Sustainability 2020 Report.
*This data is pulled from FY 2019. 

  • ~8% of CC courses includes sustainable learning objectives. 
  • ~80% of CC academic departments offer sustainability courses.

In order for CC to become a top leading institutions in the Curriculum subcategory, the office has identified areas for improvement that follows: 

  • Designate an additional 150+ courses as sustainability course offerings and increase the number of departments with sustainability course offerings by eight. 
  • Work to increase the number of students graduating from programs requiring an understanding of sustainability from 22% to 100% of the student population. 
  • Conduct a pre- and post- assessment to the entire (or predominate) student body, directly or by a representative sample annually. 

Research Highlights

More information can be found in our State of Sustainability 2020 Report
*This data is pulled from FY 2019.

  • ~20% of the employees at CC are engaged in sustainability research. 
  • 16 out of 30 academic departments conduct sustainability research. 
  • CC encourages both academic staff and students to conduct sustainability research through State of the Rockies and funding interdisciplinary sustainability research. 

In order for CC to become a top leading institutions in the Research subcategory, the office has identified areas for improvement that follows: 

  • Increase the number of departments that are conducting sustainability research from 16 of the 30 departments from 16 to 30.