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

I write this note on the day of service celebrating the remarkable life of Martin Luther King, amongst the backdrop of a nation processing the violent siege of our nation’s capitol on January 6th. The siege on the capitol was shocking to watch unfold. It is not surprising that people turned to violence after months of violent rhetoric aimed at sowing distrust. Yet, in the same moment, a record voter turnout -- a higher percentage of Americans voted in 2020 than in any election in the last century -- illustrates increasing engagement in the democratic process. What responsibility do we, as higher educators, have to help students make sense of a society increasingly fractured by ideology? How do we help our learning communities bring a critical lens to ideas and information? How do we help ourselves and our colleagues continue to prioritize dismantling systemic oppression in our institutions when the temptation to move on is so powerful?
The shape of our work moving forward will be informed by the specific needs of our institutions and the people that inhabit them. Personally, I feel a renewed urgency in the Washington Center’s mission to support student academic success through equitable learning opportunities for all students.
Today, as I process feelings of despair and anger, I find solace in reflecting on the Beloved Community as articulated in Dr. King’s philosophy of nonviolence. In particular, King’s six principles of nonviolence have helped me renew my commitment to choose love instead of hate.
  • PRINCIPLE ONE: Nonviolence is a way of life for courageous people
  • PRINCIPLE TWO: Nonviolence seeks to win friendship and understanding.
  • PRINCIPLE THREE: Nonviolence seeks to defeat injustice not people
  • PRINCIPLE FOUR: Nonviolence holds that suffering can educate and transform
  • PRINCIPLE FIVE: Nonviolence chooses love instead of hate
  • PRINCIPLE SIX: Nonviolence believes that the universe is on the side of justice.
I continue to be deeply grateful to be part of a community of higher educators committed to student success. I very much look forward to convening with many of you on January 26th for the next Collaborative Conversation. Tara Hardy will lead us in an exploration of the ways in which we can embrace trauma-impacted people as assets in our learning communities - a conversation that promises to offer approaches for centering humanity in our classrooms.
I hope you will lock arms with us (virtually) in our collective work to realize the promise of education as a bedrock of a just democratic society.
In Community,
Faculty Dylan Fischer lectures on forestry research methods in a makeshift outdoor classroom on the Evergreen State College campus.

Monthly Conversation Series

Each month, the Washington Center Collaborative hosts free monthly conversations where higher education scholars, practitioners and administrators convent to discuss topics relevant to our collective work supporting student success. Join the Washington Center Collaborative slack to continue the conversation, share resources, and connect with colleagues.
There is NO COST to join the conversation series. 

Opportunities that Trauma Affords
Trauma-Impacted People as Assets in Communities

Tara Hardy, Writing and Trauma faculty, Evergreen State College
Explore the uses and benefits of trauma-impact showing up in our work with students. We will collectively investigate opportunities that arise from the impact of trauma being expected and accounted for in our learning communities. 
DATE: Tuesday, January 26
TIME: 11:00 pm PST | 12:00 pm MST | 1:00 pm CST | 2:00 pm EST (1.5 hour session) 
LOCATION: RSVP for Zoom link

Post Covid-19
What to do when the plan keeps changing?

Jeannette Smith, Interim Associate Dean of Student Affairs & Engagement
Julia Metzker, Director of the Washington Center for Improving Undergraduate Education
Evergreen State College
Nearly a year into the COVID-19 pandemic, what have we learned? How do we take this opportunity to do our work differently as we plan for fall 2021? How do we sustain ourselves while also providing better experiences for students?
DATE: Friday, February 26
TIME: 11:00 pm PST | 12:00 pm MST | 1:00 pm CST | 2:00 pm EST (1.5 hour session)
LOCATION: RSVP for Zoom link

Events & Updates

Learning Communities Best Practices Symposium
Consortium for Illinois 

Please save the date–Friday, April 30, 2021–as the Consortium for Illinois Learning Communities Best Practices Symposium goes virtual! Still co-sponsored by the College of DuPage, we are currently accepting presentation proposals from both member and non-member institutions across the country. Our theme will be “Creating Communities During COVID: What We’ve Learned and What Can Take Back to the Classroom.” 
Submission deadine: Wednesday, February 26.
Review submission details
Visit www.consortillc.org/symposium for more information.

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

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


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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