a space to engage with colleagues in conversations that matter
a space to engage with colleagues in conversations that matter

A note from the director


Dear friends and colleagues,
We started this monthly newsletter and the collaborative conversations last fall as a way to keep in touch with our amazing community of learners and doers in the absence of being able to gather in person during the National Summer Institute for Improving Undergraduate Education. Sadly, we have determined that we can't safely invite teams to campus this summer - we look forward to hosting in summer 2022 and encourage you to start thinking about the team you'll bring!
In the interim, you may wish to take advantage of some of the opportunities in this newsletter, which include a virtual learning communities symposium, an opportunity to participate in an assessment study, or you may have a contribution for a special issue of Learning Communities Research and Practice Journal.
In particular, I do hope you will join us Friday for our last Collaborative Conversation of the year where I will guide you through a collective reflection where we will explore what we've learned this year, identify what we will keep and name what we will intentionally leave behind. 
We will be putting the Collaborative Conversations and newsletters to bed for the summer months so we can attend to other work. Over the past year, I've been moved by your stories.  The walls many of you have scaled over the last year in providing meaningful, transformative learning opportunities for students have been immense. Yet you persist - by finding a way to keep moving forward and centering students. 
As we plan our conversation series for the 2021-2022 academic year, we'd love to know if there are topics you'd like us to feature - or people you'd like to hear from.  Send your suggestions to washcenter@evergreen.edu.
So, I wish you all good tidings until we can reconnect in the fall.
In Community,
Julia Metzker, Director
Washington Center for Improving Undergraduate Education

How is equity being produced at your campus or institution? We invite our readers to consider submitting short stories of success or challenge to be featured in our monthly newsletter.  If you have an idea, send an email to the Washington Center.
Students walk across the Evergreen campus by flowers in the spring.
The Evergreen State College campus forest.

Monthly Conversation Series

Each month during the academic year, the Washington Center Collaborative hosts free monthly conversations where higher education scholars, practitioners and administrators convene to discuss topics relevant to our collective work supporting student success. 
There is NO COST to join the conversation series.

Post-COVID: What will we take forward?

Julia Metzker, Director of the Washington Center for Improving Undergraduate Education Evergreen State College

This last year has been like none other. Many of us have changed the way we teach and work drastically. We are moving into a season of anniversaries, which include loss and change. For the final conversation of the year, Julia Metzker will guide you through a structured reflection designed to help articulate the learning and growth we’ve collectively experienced over the past year. And to make commitments to carry forward new approaches and, say goodbye to parts of the last year we won't miss.

DATE: Friday, April 23
TIME: 11:00 am PDT
LOCATIONRegister for Zoom link
Join the Washington Center Collaborative Slack to continue the conversation, share resources, and connect with colleagues.
Register Now!

Events & Updates

Consortium for Illinois Learning Communities

Virtual Best Practices Symposium

Friday, April 30, 2021
Registration is now open!  The symposium, co-sponsored by the College of DuPage, offers sessions that explore the theme "Creating Communities During COVID: What We’ve Learned and What We Can Take Back to the Classroom."  
Registration is free!
www.consortillc.org/symposium
Register Now!

Call for Engagement: Learning Community assessment opportunity and input HIPs in Practice 

The National Survey for Student Engagement is requesting your help with their HIPs in Practice pilot project. They are requesting your expert feedback on the LC question set.  This is a pilot project so they are starting out small, and are focusing on 2 HIPs – learning communities and capstones – that were less affected by the pandemic disruption.  They are eager to test this specific approach and the item sets.  

HIPs in Practice is an extension of our HIP Quality and Equity work, with the intent to get beyond NSSE’s typical, institution-level survey approach, and permit program and course-level HIP assessment. This survey could, for example, be used to assess all first-year learning communities, or focus on a few new LCs in a specific academic department or with a particular theme.  

Their plan is to learn from this and also make other HIP-specific surveys – internships, UR, etc. available in the fall.  If you have feedback or questions, please contact Jillian Kinzie, NSSE Institute & NILOA Senior Scholar.

Call for Proposals: National Learning Community Conference 

Due Friday, June 4, 2021
The NLCC 2021 planning committee welcomes proposals from educators, researchers, administrators, and practitioners engaged in creating, implementing, assessing, and sustaining high quality learning communities.
The conference will be hosted in a virtual format on October 21-23. Visit nlcc.tamucc.edu for details.
Learn More!

Call for Authors: Learning Community Research and Practice

Explore articles addressing the need for us, in our practices, to remain steadfast in our view that individual students are empowered through their social activity in the most recent edition of the journal.

Spring 2021 Special Issue | Learning Communities: Remote Learning & Teaching

The Washington Center is seeking reflections from learning community practitioners about their experiences teaching or leading a learning community during a global pandemic. What have you learned that you will carry forward? How have trauma-informed teaching strategies impacted your practice? What barriers have been lowered as a result of distance learning, and what strategies have you employed to tackle challenges?
As members of the LC community, we thrive best when we can connect theory to practice in meaningful ways, while simultaneously hearing a variety of perspectives and strategies. The Learning Community Research and Practice Journal offers a platform for documenting and sharing your experience with a community eager to learn and grow.
The Fall 2021 Special Issue of the journal will focus exclusively on ways in which learning community programs adapted to the challenges of educating and supporting students during a pandemic that required social isolation. The deadline for the special issue has been extended to July 15, 2021. Authors are encouraged to submit manuscripts that share lessons learned and describe the creative responses they used to sustain learning community programs in remote learning environments.

Submissions are still being accepted for the Spring 2021 Special Issue. [Learn more]

OUR GUIDING PURPOSE

We are for the academic success of all students. Ultimately, the measures of our success are improvements in students’ persistence, achievement, and graduation rates—particularly students who are the first in their families to go to college and those from groups historically under‐served in higher education. As a high impact strategy, learning communities offer a powerful learning environment for students at key points in their educational pathways, and implementing successful learning community programs in an intentional way helps to build institutional capacity for transformation.
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