Academics and Research

In 2021-22, 36% of departments and 25% of employees conducted sustainability research; 83% of departments offered sustainability course and 16% of total course offerings had sustainability content

In the course of achieving competence in a major area of study, Humboldt students will acquire intellectual skills and knowledge of cultures, history, and the physical and natural world that will prepare them for fulfilling careers, for thoughtful and civic participation in democratic society, and to work for sustainable, just societies. Specific to sustainability, the Humboldt curriculum ensures that all graduating students will achieve competence in:

  • Equity and Social Justice: Humboldt graduates will be able to identify and evaluate systems of power and privilege and identify methods for creating diverse, inclusive, and racially just and equitable communities. (Humboldt Institutional Learning Outcome #1)
  • Sustainability and Environmental Awareness: Humboldt graduates will be able to explain how the functions of the natural world, society, and the economy depend on the resilience, sustainability, and conservation of ecological systems. (Humboldt Institutional Learning Outcome #2)



  • Be the premier center for the interdisciplinary study of the environment, climate crisis and resilience to climate change, and the conservation of ecological systems and natural resources, with a focus on sustainability through environmental, economic, and socially responsible action (2021-2026 Strategic Plan Vision)
  • The CSU will seek to further integrate sustainability into the academic curriculum working within the normal campus consultative process (CSU Sustainability Policy)
  • Increase the percentage of courses with sustainability content to 25% by 2025 and to 40% by 2030. Increase the percentage of academic departments with sustainability course offerings to 85% by 2025 and to 90% by 2030 (CAP 2.0).



Courses with sustainability content are identified with a leaf icon in the course catalog. In 2021-22  16% of courses contained sustainability related or focused content. Students can take classes across multiple disciplines that confront real-world sustainability challenges and that utilize the campus as a “living lab”.  In 2021-22  83% of departments reported having one or more courses with sustainability content.  Student, faculty and staff research in sustainability continues is ongoing. In 2021-22, 25% of employees that conduct research reported to be engaged in sustainability research, with 36% of departments conducting research reported to be engaged in sustainability research.




  • Biannual, campus-wide Sustainability Literacy Assessment of student understanding and engagement with sustainability topics, challenges and solutions (Department of Sociology) – ongoing
  • Establish an interdisciplinary  sustainability minor (Office of Sustainability) – Completed
  • Annual sustainability research projects showcase within IdeaFest (Sponsored Programs Foundation) – ongoing
  • Establish an internal grant program for sustainability research - Completed
  • Place- Based Learning Community (PBLC) in Sustainability - Completed
  • Expand cross-discipline utilization of the campus as a living lab (Office of Sustainability) – ongoing
  • Expand opportunities for faculty learning on how to integrate sustainability into the curriculum (Office of Sustainability) – ongoing


Next Steps

  • Institutionalize self-assessment process for faculty to identify sustainability content in their courses and their research
  • Build public database of sustainability research by Humboldt faculty
  • Explore a sustainability units requirement to graduate


Learn More and Get Involved

  • Review the Humboldt Institutional Learning Outcomes. In particular, ILO #1 and #2 pertain to education in sustainability 
  • Check the Course Descriptions in the Course Catalog for courses with sustainability content
  • Student research projects with sustainability content are included each year in ideaFest
  • More info on sustainability in academics & research under the Programs & Initiatives section of the Office of Sustainability website

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