Welcome to the Washington Center Collaborative!
The Washington Center for Improving Undergraduate Education is launching a new initiative to convene critical conversations about matters of importance. The Collaborative features monthly newsletters, virtual gatherings, and a Slack workspace for asynchronous conversation. 

A conversation that matters: How can political science help us understand the results and implications of the 2020 Elections?

facilitated by Carlos Huerta, Political Science faculty at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi
DATE: Monday, November 16, 2020
TIME: 12:00 pm PST | 1:00 pm MST | 2:00 pm CST | 3:00 pm EST
LOCATION: RSVP for Zoom link
In this conversation, we will discuss explanations for why individuals choose to vote and how they make their vote choices. Dr. Huerta will provide an analysis of the 2020 election results and implications for governing and democracy.

Future Conversation Topics 

  • COVID & Equity: How is the pandemic impacting students? (Dec 11)
    Jeannette Smith, Associate Dean of Student Affairs and Engagement and Julia Metzker, Director of the Washington Center for Improving Undergraduate Education at Evergreen State College
  • Trauma-informed Practice (Jan TBD)
    Tara Hardy, Poet and Member of the Faculty, Evergreen State College
Join the Washington Center Collaborative slack workspace to engage in valuable conversations, share resources, and build community. 

Practicing Equity

In our continued quest to support the academic success of all students, each edition of the newsletter will feature an equity-focused practice or strategy that can be used to support our work in the classroom or with our colleagues. We invite our readers to consider submitting short features for this section of our newsletter by sending an email to washcenter@evergreen.edu

Wise and effective feedback helps students learn

Consider a moment when you’ve received feedback recently.  Perhaps, it came through a peer review or student evaluation. When were you able to “hear” the comments, and when did you react defensively and shut down? When did feedback motivate you to improve? How might you provide feedback that motivates students to learn?
Feedback is a form of formative assessment that reinforces students’ understanding of excellent work and helps close the gap between where they are and where you want them to be. Yet, as Hattie and Timperley (2007) have shown, not all feedback is equal. General statements such as, “This is a good essay. I really liked the introduction,” or “Don’t jump to conclusions,” evaluate rather than educate. Such statements communicate an assessment of quality but they don’t provide information about what was done well or how to improve. Similarly, editing student work or providing the correct answer isn't useful feedback because it short circuits the learning process. The student didn’t do the work -  you did.
Wise feedback conveys high expectations and confidence that the learner can meet those expectations. Wise feedback fosters learning because it alerts the students in time for them to modify their behaviors or actions. Effective feedback provides learners with the information they can action by illustrating how they’ve succeeded and where they need to focus their energies to increase the quality or depth of their learning. Providing feedback that is both wise and effective can be a challenge. The three Ps provide a strategy you can employ to consistently provide high-quality feedback.
Process: How did the student complete the task? How effective was their approach?
Product: How well does the product demonstrate what the student has learned? 
Progress: What skills and knowledge has the student gained? What can they do to continue progressing towards the learning goal?
Different learners will require more or less directedness in the feedback for them to find it helpful. To learn what students most need, provide each learner with one or two comments on one of the 3Ps. Observe who uses the feedback and what specific feedback leads to changes. With practice, you can begin to differentiate for diverse learners by varying the amount, type, and specificity of the feedback as you learn what individuals need.
Hattie, J., & Timperley, H. (2007). The power of feedback. Review of Educational Research, 77(1), 81–112.
[This inclusive teaching tip was adapted from Learning That Matters: A Field Guide to Course Design for Transformative Education by Caralyn Zehnder, Cynthia Alby, Karynne Kleine, and Julia Metzker (available December 2020).]

Washington Center Events

For over 20 years the Washington Center has been honored to host a National summer institute, as well as several regional events. The pandemic has brought changes to all of our lives, and the Washington Center is no different. We are reimagining how we can continue to offer high-touch, tailored events where teams can make progress on issues that matter on their campuses. If you are interested in attending one of our events, please send an inquiry to washcenter@evergreen.edu.

Learning Community Summit

On October 23-24, the Learning Community Association, the National Learning Community Conference Committee and the Washington Center hosted a dynamic virtual Learning Committee Summit with a keynote by Larry Roper, Professor of Language, Culture and Society at Oregon State University. This virtual event, attended by more than 200 people, generated many critical conversations. You can watch recordings of the sessions and join the conversation on our Slack workspace.

Reports from the Field

Call for Stories of Change

Over the last 20 years, we have hosted teams from over 500 campuses who have come to Olympia to do their own reimagining by designing change initiatives that better serve and support students. We invite campus teams to share brief “reports from the field” that will be featured in the monthly newsletter. If you have a story to share, please contact us by email at washcenter@evergreen.edu.

Learning Community Research and Practice

Volume 8, Issue I | Special Issue: Living-Learning Communities

Guest editors Mimi Benjamin, Jody Jessup-Anger, Shannon Lundeen, and Cara Lucia
The current issue of the journal explores residential learning communities through a combination of research and practices from the field manuscripts. Residential learning communities or living-learning communities afford integration of and collaboration between academic affairs and student affairs. The articles in this special issue address unique elements and experiences in residential learning community programs. 
Explore Volume 8, Issue 1

Call for Authors

Spring 2021 | Special Issue: Learning Communities & Remote Learning & Teaching 
This special issue will explore the ways in which learning community programs adapted to the challenges of educating students during a pandemic that required social isolation.  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 accepted throughout the year with a final deadline of January 15, 2021 for the Spring 2021 Special Issue. Learn more at the journal website
Submit a Manuscript
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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