Research in Sustainability

A survey of sustainability related faculty scholarship was conducted March 9 -29, 2011. An email was sent to all full time faculty members, adjunct faculty and other teaching staff to request that they participate in the online survey. Responses were received from 107 of the 217 people to whom the request was sent, for a response rate of 49%. Results of the survey were used to create this inventory of sustainability related scholarship at Dickinson.

We define sustainability for the purposes of the survey as the capacity to meet present needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. Scholarship includes all activities identified in Dickinson’s Academic Handbook as relevant to the evaluation of scholarly activity and achievement for faculty promotion and tenure decisions. Sustainability related scholarship is defined as scholarship that advances and enriches understanding of sustainability. It includes inquiries into the nature of sustainability and the conditions, means and challenges for creating sustainable systems, as well as scholarship that is tangential to but can contribute to such inquiries.

Of the 107 respondents, 48 (45%) reported that sustainability is related, at least minimally, to their scholarship, while 59 (55%) reported that their scholarship is unrelated to sustainability. Those who reported that their research is related to sustainability were also asked the degree to which sustainability is a focus of their current research. The responses to this question are reported in the table.

Degree of Emphasis on Sustainability


Percentage of Respondents

Primary Focus



Significant Dimension



Minor Dimension



Tangential but Related



Download the Sustainability Research Inventory Report which documents descriptions from the respondents who reported engagement in sustainability related scholarship.