Sustainability Directory

How do you define sustainability-related education and research?

Rather than come up with hard and fast rules that attempt to define sustainability, our philosophy is to err on the side of inclusivity and defer to your definition of sustainability.  Below are some guiding questions you can use to help determine if your work should be included in the Sustainability Directory.

Does this faculty/staff, course, or research/initiative:

  • Aim to better understand and lessen the negative impact of human activity on earth?
  • Teach or research methods of reducing our ecological footprint?
  • Work toward the continued health and well-being of the planet and future generations?
  • Teach or research on increasing social equity, environmental justice, or responsible global citizenship?
  • Focus on improving the quality of all life on earth?

What if something I see in the Sustainability Directory doesn’t seem to be sustainability-related or is no longer relevant?

If you come across information within the Directory that seems out of place or out of date, please let us know.  Each record in the Directory has a “Report an Error” button in the upper right hand corner where you can submit your comment and let us know.

Who can add information to the Sustainability Directory?

Any faculty or staff member at the University of Texas at Austin with a UT EID can add faculty/staff profiles, research, or course records to the Directory.  To add a record, sign-in with your UT EID to access your MyAdmin page. 

How do I add myself (or someone) to a center/institute page?

Center/Institute pages in the Directory pull information from individual profiles, research, and course records.  This means that individuals associated with a certain center or institute need to have a faculty/staff profile in the Directory where their center/institute has been selected as an affiliation.

On your  MyAdmin page, you can add “faculty/staff profiles” for individuals involved in sustainability related education and research.  On the 4th (of 5) steps you can select the appropriate affiliation in the list of “Centers & Institutes.”  If you have editing rights to an existing profile, you can select a center/institute on the edit page.

Should I add past research to the Directory?

Our primary focus is current research; however, it may be appropriate to add certain past research.  For example, some individuals and centers/institutes have included past research that serves as the foundation for much of their current work.  If research doesn’t have ongoing implications or seems misleading because it’s out of date, etc., we don’t want to include it in the Directory.

What should be included in the description of my profile, course, or research?

Your description should highlight how and why your work is sustainability-related.  Ideally, we are looking for a short paragraph (5-6 sentences) that includes key words about the person, course, or research you are adding to the Directory. 

Can someone from my School, Department, or Center/Institute manage all of the information for our unit?

Yes -- schools, departments, or centers can give editing rights to individuals for all records associated with their unit. This allows one or more liaisons to keep an eye on that unit’s information and work with the Directory Administrator as needed. Please contact the Directory Administrator to assign a unit liaison.

How can I see all the information associated with my School or Center/Institute?  Can I link specifically to that information?

On the search page of the Sustainability Directory click on “More Options” to the right of the Keyword Search box to search for information by college/school or center/institute.  From there, you can narrow your search further or “view results” to see a list of all records associated with the selected unit.  You can always copy the URL of any search results page and share that link through email or online.

Topics

What is a topic? What is a subtopic?

Topics and subtopics are how information is primarily organized within the Sustainability Directory. There are 6 main topic areas, each with additional 4 or 5 subtopics that relate to a particular sustainability subject area.  Topics and subtopics allow individuals to search for information based on their interest area, or a combination of interest areas. 

How did you choose the topics for the Sustainability Directory?

In an effort to better understand UT-Austin’s sustainability strengths and concentrations, we surveyed UT’s websites and resources.  Additionally, we looked at how other universities communicate their sustainability-related work and took note of the topics they used.  From there, we drafted our first list of topics and began a lengthy iterative process with key stakeholders to improve this organization.  UT’s Center for Strategic Design Management facilitated focus groups with a variety of stakeholders (faculty, staff, students, and community members) to analyze and refine the topics chosen. 

Why can’t I select a main topic when adding a record to the Directory?

Though users are able to search the Directory by main topic (i.e.:  Climate Change), they are only able to add information by subtopic (i.e.:  Carbon Management).  This encourages more in depth categorization and provides more specific searching options.  Overall, the use of subtopics helps communicate an accurate reflection of the sustainability work being done at UT Austin.

 

Why am I required to add between 2-5 topics to my record? Why can’t I add more?

During usability studies of the Sustainability Directory, we found that most people felt they could comfortably associate their work or course with between 2 and 5 topics.   By limiting the number of topics to 5, we encourage you to choose topics that relate to the main themes of your research or course.  Also, this limitation actually increases the search power of the Directory as not every record can fall within every category.